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Some notes about our permanent collection, from our executive director, Leah Marcum-Estes:
The Art Center's Permanent Collection is composed of a wide variety of works representing both international and regional artists. Many benefactors have contributed work over the years, enabling the Art Center to acquire an excellent, world-class collection.
The core of the museum's collection is the Mary and Alden Gomez Collection, the main body of which are Abstract Expressionism works. Because our city and the abstract expressionistic movement were born out of the cultural, political, and societal upheaval of the “world war” eras, this group of works is very important to our history, our mission, and our hearts. Science and technological advances of this era, many conceived of and achieved first in Oak Ridge, challenged artists to find new ways of expressing themselves. The result was expressive creation without representational images.
ORAC has recently received 30 works bequeathed to us by Tut (Rufard G.) Alsmiller. The pieces were from the collection Tut and his wife, Fran, assembled during their lives in Oak Ridge. Tut often enjoyed visiting works on display at the Art Center that had been collected and contributed by other members. His desire to share those pieces he loved with our membership and our community has blessed us and will serve as a constant reminder of their generous nature. While the collection contains many wonderful selections, "Odalisque," a colored etching by Henri Matisse (1869-1954), is one of the more exciting.
Henri Matisse was a French master painter, sculptor, lithographer and collage artist. Leader of a small group of artists known as the Fauves, or wild beasts, because of their exuberant use of color, Matisse is known for his vivid and decorative use of color, pattern, and form. He, along with Picasso, is considered one of the most important artists of the modern period. Art historians rank his simple line drawings among the greatest works of graphic art of the 20th century.
The image of the odalisque (a concubine of a Near Eastern harem) became the primary theme of Matisse's work during the 1920's. In "Odalisque" as in his other paintings his artistic goal was not to achieve realism but instead to paint his emotional reaction to the subject.
The Oak Ridge Art Center is open to the public seven days a week.
Admission is free, but donations are very welcome.
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