The inaugural exhibition, The Rembrandt Effect, captures the Dutch artist’s enduring influence on printmaking, while new study and preparatory spaces offer new visitor engagement opportunities
(BALTIMORE – November 2, 2021) — The Baltimore Museum of Art today announced the opening of The Nancy Dorman and Stanley Mazaroff Center for the Study of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs on December 12, 2021. The approximately 7,000-square-foot center designed by Quinn Evans Architects provides new dedicated space to experience the BMA’s expansive collection of 67,000 works on paper spanning from the 15th century to the present day. The $10 million project is named for museum supporters Nancy Dorman and Stanley Mazaroff, who provided the lead gift, and encompasses a spacious exhibition gallery, study room, preparatory room, new offices, and enhanced storage, including new cold storage for photography. The center, which will be led by Andaleeb Badiee Banta, the BMA’s Senior Curator and Department Head of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, will open with the exhibition, The Rembrandt Effect, which explores the artist’s singular etching technique and its significance to European and American graphic artists of the 19th and 20th centuries through more than 80 works from the BMA’s collection.
At the heart of the center is the study room, which provides students of all disciplines as well as interested visitors with the opportunity to engage in close looking and critical thinking through direct object study. The study room entrance is adorned with a stone archway sculpted by Giuseppe Franzoni (b. Italy, 1775–1815). This rare surviving example of early American neoclassical sculpture was commissioned in 1813 for the Commercial & Farmer’s Bank in Baltimore. Franzoni incorporated the Roman deities Mercury, the god of commerce, and Ceres, the goddess of agriculture, to personify the bank’s name. When construction on the Civic Center began in 1957, the arch was removed and preserved by The Maryland Center for History and Culture until it was gifted to the BMA in 1967. Over the past year, conservators worked closely with the project architects and engineers to integrate the archway into the new center. The study room will be available by appointment beginning in spring 2022 and can accommodate individuals and classes up to 30 people.
The preparatory room provides visitors with a rare inside look at museum staff at work as they review incoming works of art, conduct conservation assessments, and consider selections for future exhibitions. The room includes dedicated space for rapid capture photography, which is part of an ongoing project to digitize the collection and make it accessible to virtual visitors. Three years ago, only 5% of the prints, drawings, and photograph collection was illustrated online. By December 2021, approximately 50% of the works will be photographed.
“With the opening of The Nancy Dorman and Stanley Mazaroff Center for the Study of Prints, Drawings and Photographs, we are bringing together in one space the core functions of the museum—preservation, study, preparation, and exhibition—and making them transparent to the public. This invites further engagement with us as an institution and creates new pathways for connecting with the collection,” said Christopher Bedford, the BMA’s Dorothy Wagner Wallis Director. “At the same time, this dedicated center expands our capacity to serve both scholars and our wider community, who will have more access to this incredible range of works.”
The Rembrandt Effect examines the Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669) as one of history’s greatest etchers. Lifetime prints of his work demonstrate how his unique manipulations of the etching needle and ink produced contemplative and affecting prints that have engaged viewers across centuries. His influence on the history of Western printmaking is foundational, especially for printmakers of the Etching Revival (ca. 1850-1930), such as Eugène Delacroix, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Édouard Manet, James A. M. Whistler, Mary Cassatt, John Sloan, and Käthe Kollwitz. For these artists, Rembrandt’s prints provided a touchstone for translating etching into a medium for the modern aesthetic. The Rembrandt Effect will include more than 80 extraordinary works from the BMA’s collection that capture Rembrandt’s incredible influence through time and include didactic materials that explain the techniques used by the featured artists. The exhibition is organized by Banta and Joanna Karlgaard, Assistant Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs.
“The BMA is incredibly fortunate to have such an extraordinary collection for visitors and scholars to explore today,” said Banta. “This exhibition highlights really superb examples of printmaking from two of the strongest areas of the collection. It will be aesthetically attractive as well as educational.”
Exhibitions in the new gallery will change every six months. The spring exhibition will explore ideas of transfiguration, metamorphosis, masquerade, and the fluidity of self-presentation through a wide selection of works from the collection. Tentatively titled Shape-Shifting: Transformation on Paper, the exhibition will illuminate the multivalent expressions of identity and appearance through time—from the splendid deception of masquerades to the posturing and performance of costume, drag, and bodily reinvention. The fall 2022 exhibition will feature works from John Waters’ collection.
The Mazaroff Center adjoins The Ruth R. Marder Center for Matisse Studies, which facilitates the care of the more than 1,000 works on paper by the French master in the BMA’s collection and also opens on December 12, 2021. Both are open during regular museum hours. To arrange a visit to the study center, please contact the department by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 443-573-1792 at least two weeks before you plan to visit.
The Nancy Dorman and Stanley Mazaroff Center for the Study of Prints, Drawings and Photographs is generously supported by Nancy Dorman and Stanley Mazaroff, the State of Maryland, the City of Baltimore, the France-Merrick Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and The Sheridan Foundation.
Widely considered one of the most significant holdings of works on paper in the United States, the BMA’s collection features 67,000 prints, drawings, and photographs from the 15th century through the present day. This includes the George A. Lucas Collection, an important resource for the study of 19th-century French prints with works by Eugène Delacroix, Mary Cassatt, and James Abbott McNeill Whistler, among numerous others. The collection also features excellent examples of European graphic works by such artists as Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Francisco de Goya, and Édouard Manet; modernist prints and drawings by Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, and Joan Miró; experimental photographs by Man Ray, Alfred Stieglitz, and Edward Weston; and important examples of 20th-century American photography by William Eggleston, Gordon Parks, and Carrie Mae Weems. As the BMA has actively sought to enhance its holdings by women artists and artists of color, it has added contemporary works on paper by Sanford Biggers, Julie Mehretu, Wangechi Mutu, Faith Ringgold, and Kara Walker, among others. The BMA recently acquired the fine art collection of John Waters, further enhancing the depth and range of the collection.
Founded in 1914, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) inspires people of all ages and backgrounds through exhibitions, programs, and collections that tell an expansive story of art—challenging long-held narratives and embracing new voices. Our outstanding collection of more than 95,000 objects spans many eras and cultures and includes the world’s largest public holding of works by Henri Matisse; one of the nation’s finest collections of prints, drawings, and photographs; and a rapidly growing number of works by contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds. The museum is also distinguished by a neoclassical building designed by American architect John Russell Pope and two beautifully landscaped gardens featuring an array of modern and contemporary sculpture. The BMA is located three miles north of the Inner Harbor, adjacent to the main campus of Johns Hopkins University, and has a community branch at Lexington Market. General admission is free so that everyone can enjoy the power of art.