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The Snite Museum of Art Receives Long-Term Loans of Spanish Colonial Art from the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation

Author: Gina Costa

The Snite Museum of Art Receives Long-Term Loans of Spanish Colonial Art from the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation


Notre Dame, IN: The Snite Museum of Art installed recent loans from the internationally renowned Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation. Three paintings dating from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, drawn from the Foundation’s extraordinary holdings, complement the Museum’s existing collection of Spanish Colonial works to expand our understanding of the period.


This new loan follows an earlier one from the Thoma Foundation of thirteen works that were shown in the 2020 exhibition Divine Illusions: Statue Paintings from Spanish Colonial Peru, organized by Professor Michael Schreffler of the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Art, Art History & Design. In 2023 When the new Raclin Murphy Museum of Art debuts in 2023, the University will receive five different works from the Foundation to replace the three currently exhibited. Those loans are slated to extend through 2026.


“The Thoma family have become very good, trusted friends of the Museum. It is an honor to host masterpieces from their extensive collection that can be appreciated, studied, and nourish us all,” said Joseph Antenucci Becherer, director of the Snite Museum of Art.


"The paintings on loan from the Thoma Art Foundation are windows into a fascinating world of social interaction and Christian devotion in Spanish Colonial South America. Our students and all visitors to the Snite will benefit from the unique opportunity to study and reflect on these visually compelling works of religious art" notes Michael Schreffler, Professor of Art History at the University of Notre Dame.


Image 1) Gregorio Vásquez de Arce y Ceballos, Allegory of the Eucharist with the Virgin Mary and Saints, c. 1670s, Oil on canvas. Courtesy of the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation. (photo: Jamie Stukenberg) 

Most paintings from colonial South America are unsigned. However, a few artists did sign their works, enabling experts to attribute unsigned works to their hands. One such known artist is Gregorio Vásquez de Arce y Ceballos (1638–1711), whose oeuvre is considerable. His Allegory of the Eucharist, which was probably based on an engraving, portrays the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation in which the bread and wine of the Eucharist is transformed into the body and blood of Christ.


Image 2) Unidentified artist, Virgin of the Immaculate Conception with Saints, Angels and Indigenous Donor, 18th century, Oil and gold on canvas. Courtesy of the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation. (photo: Jamie Stukenberg)

This painting of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception follows the traditional iconography of the central figure by showing the Virgin clothed in a white tunic covered by a blue mantle. Satan, as a serpent with a human face, lies vanquished on the ground. At the top of the canvas are the four Evangelists—Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—shown holding ribbons inscribed with four of the symbols of the Virgin’s immaculacy: the Tower of David, the Temple of Solomon, the City of God, and the Spotless Mirror. She is accompanied by a variety of saintsAt lower right is a portrait of the donor, an indigenous woman who must have been a member of an important clan.


Image 3) Cipriano de Toledo y Gutiérrez, Our Lady of Mercy with Saints, 1764, Oil and gold on canvas. Courtesy of the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation. (photo: Jamie Stukenberg) 

In 1997, the Thoma Foundation acquired a version of this subject, Our Lady of Mercy with Saints, that was dated 1771, but bore no signature. More recently, another version of the subject was acquired by the Foundation. That painting, like yet another painting in a French private collection, is signed by Cipriano de Toledo y Gutiérrez. The existence of the three nearly identical paintings—with others possibly extant—tell us a great deal about the workshop practices of Cuzco painters. Although much has been written about works created for the art market, two of these three works were clearly commissioned by devotees of Our Lady of Mercy and the Mercedarian order. This multifigured composition may well have been based on an engraving.


Thoma Images


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Snite Museum of Art welcomes Dr. Jared Katz, new Associate Curator of the Americas and Africa

Author: Gina Costa

Katz Cropped

Notre Dame, IN: The Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame is thrilled to announce the appointment of Dr. Jared Katz to the position of Associate Curator of the Americas and Africa. Dr. Katz comes to the Snite Museum from the Denver Art Museum, where he served as Consulting Curator for the Art of the Ancient Americas. Additionally, he taught at the University of Denver. Katz has a doctorate in Anthropology from the University of California, Riverside.


At the Museum, Katz will initially focus on the reinstallation of the Mesoamerican and Native American galleries. After the new Raclin Murphy Museum of Art opens, he will work on a myriad of exhibitions on the Ancient Americas, and continue research on the Museum’s renowned collections.


“The Museum is honored to welcome Dr. Katz to the staff. His enthusiasm, innovative spirit, and scholarship are deeply appreciated. This is a dynamic moment of growth  for the Museum as we work towards the transformation of the Snite to the Raclin Murphy Museum of Art. We know Dr. Katz is destined to contribute greatly to that dynamism.” Joseph Antenucci Becherer, director of the Snite Museum.


Dr. Katz shares: “I am delighted to be joining the staff at the Snite Museum of Art. As a specialist in ancient Mesoamerican cultures, I am particularly excited to be working with the robust and high-caliber collection of Formative period artworks at the Museum. As a curator, I am committed to designing galleries and exhibitions that help Museum guests to relate and empathize with people from the past and present. I rely on an inclusive approach that elevates a diversity of voices and perspectives in order to make museums more  accessible and engaging. To accomplish these goals, I look forward to having meaningful collaborations with my colleagues in the Museum, throughout the University of Notre Dame, and more broadly throughout the regional and national communities.”Jared Katz

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Yinka Shonibare and the Notre Dame Forum 2021

Author: Gina Costa

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Yinka Shonibare and the Notre Dame Forum 2021

Through December 11, 2021

 Timed to coincide with the University of Notre Dame Forum 2021–22, “Care for Our Common Home: Just Transition to a Sustainable Future,” the Museum is honored to announce the acquisition and premier presentation of Earth Kid, 2020, a major sculpture by Yinka Shonibare. There is little doubt that the Nigerian-British Shonibare CBE is among the most compelling international figures in Contemporary art. His work is exhibited and eagerly collected around; in his artistic practice, Shonibare engages a myriad of timely issues ranging from cultural identity, colonialism and post-colonial cultures, race, and disabilities. 


In Earth Kid, the artist explores the themes of climate change, fragile global environments, and the role of youth in attempting to save the planet. Shonibare’s repertoire, especially recent examples, is in great sympathy with the 2021 Notre Dame Forum and Pope Francis’s 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si’. In the encyclical, the Holy Father states, “We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental.”  


Since the early 2000s, Shonibare has developed an iconic body of work that addresses compelling social and political issues. In all his work, the use of the brightly pattern Dutch batik cloth, known as Ankara fabric, signals the complex relationships of Europe and Nigeria (and Africa at large), colonialism, and post-colonial culture. As a sculptor, most of Shonibare’s figures remain headless in order to emphasize the universal over the individual. In Earth Kid he has chosen to use a globe, manipulated to underscore the international dimensions of global culture. In the work, the Earth is singed to symbolize the crisis of global drought.


Although Shonibare has addressed the pressing theme of climate change and the fragilities of the environment in the past, Earth Kid is a youthful figure rather than an adult. In doing so, the artist emphasizes the role of youth across the world to combat global excess, geographic and cultural inequalities, and climate change. The significance of the focus on youth in a university setting cannot be understated as their work, present and future, is inextricably linked to the health of our planet.

Through Forum 2021–22, the University of Notre Dame seeks to highlight a transition to a cleaner future where the burdens of change are equitably borne and not simply sloughed off to the poor and powerless. “The question is not whether to transition to a cleaner, more sustainable future, but how and how quickly,” Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of Notre Dame, has said. “As a university community whose work is the education of the next generation who will inherit these challenges, and as one with a Catholic mission calling us to seek justice and serve the common good around the globe, we turn to these urgent and complex questions.”  In the context of a Museum display, masters like Shonibare visually distill such questions for visitors of every age and experience to consider.

Image caption:

Yinka Shonibare, CBE, RA (British-Nigerian, b. 1962)

Earth Kid (Boy), 2020
Fiberglass mannequin, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, globe, brass, steel baseplate, netted bag and found objects
Walter R. Beardsley Endowment for Contemporary Art

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Notre Dame launches platform for online access to Hesburgh Library, Snite Museum holdings

Author: Gina Costa

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The Hesburgh Libraries and the Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame have launched Marble (Museum, Archives, Rare Books and Libraries Exploration) — an online teaching and research platform designed to make distinctive cultural heritage collections from across the University accessible through a single portal.


The development of Marble was made possible, in part, by a three-and-one-half-year grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create an open-access, unified software solution that would enable universities to access museum and library holdings through a single online platform.


University libraries, archives and museums nationwide have been digitizing collections for well over a decade and have long sought collaborative solutions that would enable their respective holdings to be easily discovered online and used for teaching and research. However, there have been many obstacles preventing efficient and expansive research across collections, including disparate technical systems, discipline-specific practices and descriptive metadata norms.


A cross-disciplinary team developed Marble to address this universal challenge and to help transform teaching and research at Notre Dame and other institutions facing similar needs.


“Thanks to the hard work of so many in the Hesburgh Libraries and Snite Museum of Art and the generosity of the Mellon Foundation, Notre Dame is transforming the way scholars on campus and around the world further knowledge and advance research,” said Marie Lynn Miranda, the Charles and Jill Fischer Provost. “Its a wonderful privilege for Notre Dame to play a role in preserving these important cultural heritage collections and in making those collections easier to access, explore, and investigate.”


The Snite Museum of Art, Rare Books & Special Collections and the University Archives have historically been independent gateways for faculty and students to engage with research collections, historical information and cultural objects. Users could access the physical collections at different locations and some item descriptions online, but few resources have been made available as digital surrogates, let alone through a single web platform.


In this unified discovery space, users now have open access to a selection of digitized cultural heritage collections that were once inaccessible. While these digitized materials are only a fraction of the University’s holdings, cross-institutional teams will collaborate to add new items regularly.


“The museum is grateful to be a part of this research partnership and the initial phase of the Marble project,” said Joseph Antenucci Becherer, director of the Snite Museum. “Offering the academy, and all users, access to our collections is deeply meaningful and useful in guiding the future of both research and teaching, not to mention pure enjoyment for even the more casual, curious user.” 


“Marble offers key features that fundamentally transform the way digital collections can be used for teaching and research,” said Diane Parr Walker, the Edward H. Arnold University Librarian. “The museum and library collaboration and the grant outcomes will have a transformational impact on pedagogical access, scholarly engagement and research outcomes at Notre Dame.”


Faculty, students and the general public can browse Marble and download select digitized materials from the Snite Museum of Art, Rare Books & Special Collections and the University Archives in a single platform — including books, manuscripts, sculptures, paintings, photographs, ephemera and more. Each item displays one or more images with descriptive information and linked metadata to view related or similar items.


At the heart of Marble is an open-source image sharing standard called IIIF, or the International Image Interoperability Framework. IIIF is a set of universal specifications that provides a standardized way of storing and displaying images. One of the benefits of using IIIF images is that they can be viewed alongside other IIIF-compliant images from institutions around the world. IIIF viewing features include zoom, rotation, color manipulation, comparable viewing and options for cross-institutional research.


The Portfolio tool turns members of the Notre Dame community into curators, allowing each person to create customized lists and collections of content. Users browse, search and easily save items of interest into portfolios for future viewing. Portfolios are versatile — they can be shared for teaching, used for course assignments or annotated for individual research. They can remain private for personal use or be shared with students, campus peers or the public.


“Marble’s features are designed to facilitate primary resource discovery and streamline the research process. This platform allows for deep integration of the University’s cultural heritage holdings — regardless of where they reside,” said Mikala Narlock, digital collections strategy librarian. “We hope Marble will become an essential and indispensable platform for teaching and learning with digital collections at Notre Dame.”


The University of Notre Dame shares the Mellon Foundation’s commitment to advancing museum-library collaborations through freely available, scalable solutions.


The Marble software has been developed in the cloud, making it more scalable and less costly than software deployed on a local network infrastructure. It uses a harvest model to draw descriptive information from key source systems and features a shared administrative back-end to augment harvested data. This solution is possible due to a shared understanding of different descriptive terms.


In addition to a technical solution, the grant team facilitated critical social infrastructure conversations to optimize collection management and metadata workflows. The development roadmap will enable new features and continue to improve collaboration between libraries and museums.


The code for the Marble project was developed and will be maintained by the Hesburgh Libraries development team. The platform code is openly licensed under an Apache 2.0 license and available on GitHub. Project documentation, technical diagrams, collaborative processes and best practices are published on the Open Science Framework.


Online access to these selections of distinctive cultural heritage materials at Notre Dame is free and open to the public. Visit often to see new materials and featured portfolios published throughout the year.


Consultations and demonstrations for using Marble in teaching, research or general study are available by appointment. Contact Mikala Narlock,, to arrange a time.


Contact: Gina Costa, Snite Museum of Art, 574-631-4720,; Tara O’Leary, Hesburgh Libraries, 574-631-1856,  Marble Release

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Jim Dine: American Icon opens August 21 at the Snite Museum of Art

Author: Gina Costa

Jime Dine At The SniteScreen Shot 2021 07 16 At 8


From an Extraordinary Gift comes an Exhibition: Jim Dine: American Icon opens August 21 at the Snite Museum of Art



Notre Dame, IN: The Snite Museum of Art and the University of Notre Dame are honored to announce the exhibition Jim Dine: American Icon. Made possible by the artist’s exceptional gift of a collection of two hundred and thirty-eight prints, covering nearly every aspect of Dine’s repertoire from 1969 to the present, the exhibition draws from the collection to highlight every significant facet of the artist’s renowned body of work.


Jim Dine: American Icon will be on view from August 21 through December 11, 2021, at the Museum.


Among the most distinguished figures in Contemporary art, Dine has been at the forefront of the American avant-garde since the Pop Art movement of the 1950s and ’60s. Born in Cincinnati, Dine attended the Art Academy of Cincinnati before transferring to Ohio University. Immediately following graduation, he moved to New York, fell in with Claes Oldenburg and Alan Kaprow, and participated in numerous Happenings in the late 1950s and early 1960s. His work was a vital presence in most of the Pop movement’s defining exhibitions. In contrast to the cool remove of Oldenburg’s and Andy Warhol’s work, and Roy Lichtenstein’s link to popular imagery, Dine focused on a series of icons that often held personal significance: images of tools, the heart, the “Venus de Milo,” and Pinocchio, among others, played a critical role in his iconography.


Best known for his paintings and sculpture, Dine is also among the most prodigious and prolific printmakers of his time, often combining techniques to a highly inventive end. The earliest works in the Museum’s gift are lithographs and etchings from the late 1960s and notable woodcuts from the 1980s.


Dating to 1875, the University of Notre Dame art collections are among the most acclaimed in the United States. Dine’s transformative gift is among the largest and most distinguished presented to the University by a single artist; it both increases the Museum’s holdings in Contemporary art and significantly contributes to its highly-regarded collection of works on paper.


You are invited to a public reception for the exhibition hosted by the Friends of the Snite Museum on Thursday, August 26, 5-7:00 p.m.  The reception is free and open to all.


image credit:

Jim Dine (American, born 1935)

Rancho Woodcut Heart, 1982

Woodcut, 47 3/4 x 40 1/2 inches

Gift of Jim Dine


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Kevin Beasley’s installation Chair of the Ministers of Defense welcomes the public back into the Snite Museum of Art June 1.

Author: Gina Costa

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Kevin Beasley’s installation Chair of the Ministers of Defense welcomes the public back into the Snite Museum of Art June 1.


Notre Dame, IN: The Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame is thrilled to reopen to the public on June 1, with the special focus on the exhibition of Kevin Beasley’s Chair of the Ministers of Defense (2016) on loan from The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection and The Rennie Collection.


This immersive installation explores ideas of power and race in America through theatrics reminiscent of the Roman Baroque. Renowned conceptual artist Kevin Beasley calls into focus Black Liberation movements and ongoing imbalances of power experienced by Black Americans and marginalized men and women of color. The work maintains a formality often employed in religious imagery in artworks intended to convey the divine right of leaders.

IMAGE: Kevin Beasley, Chair of the Ministers of Defense (2016), as installed at the Hammer Museum, UCLA in 2017. Polyurethane resin, wood, acoustic foam, jeans, trousers, du-rags, altered t-shirts, altered hoodies, guinea fowl feathers, wrought iron window gate, vintage Beni Ourain Moroccan rug, kaftans, housedresses, Maasai war shields, Zulu war shields, and vintage peacock rattan chair. On loan from The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection and The Rennie Collection.


An empty, rattan “peacock” chair is at the center; above it hangs a house window clad in protective iron bars, evoking a stained-glass window. Flanking the chair are archetypical Maasai and Zulu warrior shields, icons of African might. Surrounding these objects are vaguely figurative, resin-infused sculptures made from t-shirts, housedresses, and du-rags—all items associated with contemporary urban culture. Bathed in the dramatic light of the theater, The Chair of the Ministers of Defense is an open stage in which to consider the circumstances and conventions used by those in control and those who challenge their authority.


Based in New York City, Kevin Beasley has emerged as among the most insightful and distinguished American artists of his generation. Through sculpture, installations, and performance art, he has captivated audiences by exploring challenging topics that address history, social injustice, power dynamics, and, ultimately, the dignity of Black men and women in America. Born in Lynchburg, Virginia, in 1985, Beasley attended the College for Creative Studies in Detroit (BFA, 2007) and Yale University School of Art (MFA, 2012). He captured critical attention at the 2014 Whitney Biennial and presented a solo exhibition in 2018. He has exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Studio Museum, Harlem, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Beasley’s work is included in many of the most important public and private collections across the United States and England, including The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection and The Rennie Collection.


This exhibition was made possible through the generosity of Pamela J. Joyner and Fred J. Giuffrida (ND ’73) and the Humana Foundation Endowment for American Art.

MEDIA CONTACT: If you would like high-resolution images or in-depth information, please contact Gina Costa, Marketing and Public Relations Program Manager, (574) 631-4720,


About The Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame

Considered one of the leading university art museums in America, the Snite Museum's permanent collection contains nearly 30,000 works that represent many cultures and periods of world art history. Exceptional holdings include the Jack and Alfrieda Feddersen Collection of Rembrandt Etchings, the Noah L. and Muriel S. Butkin Collection of 19th-Century French Art, the John D. Reilly Collection of Old Master and 19th-Century Drawings, the Janos Scholz Collection of 19th-Century European Photographs, the Mr. and Mrs. Russell G. Ashbaugh Jr. Collection of Meštrović Sculpture and Drawings, the George Rickey Sculpture Archive, and the Virginia A. Marten Collection of 18th-Century Decorative Arts. Other collection strengths include Olmec and Mesoamerican art, 20th-century art, and Native American art. Sculpture is displayed in the Mary Loretto and Terrence J. Dillon Courtyard and in The Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park.


Snite Museum of Art                                

The University of Notre Dame

100 Moose Krause Circle

Notre Dame, IN 46556

Phone: (574) 631-5466

Fax: (574) 631-8501



Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Thursdays 10 a.m. -7:30 p.m.

Saturdays Noon-5:00 p.m.

Closed Sunday, Monday and major holidays.  Admission is free.

In compliance with University of Notre Dame regulations, all visitors must wear masks indoors and remain 6-feet from other visitors not in their group. Please check our website for the most current requirements for Covid-19 protocols when planning your visit.Pr Beasley Reopening 5 18


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Notre Dame breaks ground for New Raclin Murphy Museum of Art

Author: Gina Costa

Rmma Facade Image

Notre Dame, IN: The University of Notre Dame began construction last week on the Raclin Murphy Museum of Art, with a planned completion in fall 2023.


“Since its founding, Notre Dame has valued the vital role the visual arts play as an expression of human creativity, religious experience and insight into the human condition,” University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., said. “By bringing the collections currently in the Snite Museum of Art to new life in the Raclin Murphy Museum, we will be able to share these treasures in all their richness with our University community, our neighbors in the region and the wider world.”


With a site in the northwest corner of the Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park on the south side of the campus, the Raclin Murphy Museum will be an outward-facing structure, serving both as a gateway to the University and as a welcoming community partner. Carefully situated to work in harmony with the landscape and the outdoor collections of the park, the new museum will be surrounded by green spaces that will allow for the growth of the outdoor sculpture collection. The location was selected to contribute to the University’s arts district, which now includes the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, Walsh Family Hall of Architecture and O’Neill Hall of Music.


“This new museum building and its collection will bring together the healing power of the arts, of creativity and our strengthened humanity and solidarity — so needed as we move beyond the pandemic,” Marie Lynn Miranda, the Charles and Jill Fischer Provost of the University, said. “The diversity and inclusion represented in all forms of visual arts are gifts we must share and experience with one another.”


Designed as a 132,000-square-foot complex to be constructed in two phases, the Raclin Murphy Museum of Art will greatly enhance exhibition and education spaces for the permanent collection. Phase one will encompass 70,000 square feet devoted to gallery and teaching spaces, a café and retail space. The scale of the project resulted from meticulously studying the Snite Museum’s collection and exhibition requirements to best showcase its holdings. The plans were also researched in comparison to museums at leading peer institutions in the U.S. and Europe.


“Speaking in chorus with the entire museum staff, we are honored to begin this journey toward the new Raclin Murphy Museum of Art,” Snite director Joseph Antenucci Becherer said. “In addition to creating majestic new galleries and creative learning spaces, we are committed to honoring the dedication to the arts and hospitality that is the very spirit of the Raclin and Murphy families and sharing that with the world.”


Thanks to the leading benefaction of Ernestine Raclin and her daughter and son-in-law, Carmi and Christopher Murphy, the new museum is intended as a national attraction owing to the quality of its collections, the exhibitions to be mounted and its increased accessibility.

“Notre Dame, as a Catholic university, has always been guided by a sacramental vision, one that finds in the arts an expression of the divine and of the human spirit,” Father Jenkins said. “We are blessed by this extraordinary gift from Ernie, Carmi and Chris, who have yet again made a pivotal contribution to our campus and region.”

Ernestine Raclin is a Trustee Emerita of Notre Dame, a community leader and a generous supporter of the University. The Carmichael Foundation and her family made a lead gift to Notre Dame in 2011 to fund the renovation of the Morris Inn, the full-service on-campus hotel initially constructed in 1952 with a gift from her parents, the late Ernest M. and Ella L. Morris. She also contributed to Raclin-Carmichael Hall, the home to Notre Dame’s W.M. Keck Center for Transgene Research and the Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend.

Chris Murphy is chair, president and chief executive officer of 1st Source Corp. A 1968 Notre Dame graduate, he has served as CEO of 1st Source since 1977 and as a board member for 45 years. In addition to the Morris Inn, he and Carmi have supported Raclin-Carmichael Hall, the 1st Source Bank Commercialization Award and multiple other projects at Notre Dame. Chris Murphy serves on Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters Advisory Council, and he and Carmi are members of the President’s Circle and Gift Planning Advancement Committee. In addition to serving on the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, he is chair of the Medical Education Foundation and the Indiana Academy Board of Regents and is a member of the Board of the Independent Colleges of Indiana.


Carmi Murphy has served on the Snite Museum Advisory Council since 2007 and is a life board member of WNIT. She served for 15 years on the Saint Mary’s College board of trustees and now sits on the President’s Circle. She serves on the boards of the Michiana YMCA, Memorial Health Foundation and the Family and Children’s Center. Four of the Murphys’ children have Notre Dame degrees.

After a rigorous search culminating in January 2019, the University selected the New York-based design firm of Robert A. M. Stern Architects (RAMSA) to design the new museum. RAMSA previously designed the Stayer Center for Executive Education at Notre Dame and numerous other academic facilities around the country.


The goal for the new Raclin Murphy Museum is taken from the leadership of the Snite Museum to provide “Experience with significant works of art intended to stimulate inquiry, dialogue and wonder for audiences across the academy, the community, and around the world—all in support of the University of Notre Dame’s Catholic mission.”

Raclin Murph Museum Of Art



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The Snite Museum of Art Announces Gifts of Six Important American and British Paintings from the late 18th to the early 20th centuries

Author: Gina Costa

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Notre Dame, IN: The Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame is delighted to announce that it is the recipient of six noteworthy paintings from the late 18th to the early 20th centuries that will significantly augment the Museum’s holdings in American and British art. “The Museum is deeply grateful for these gifts, many by donors with long relationships to the Museum and Notre Dame,” states Joseph Antenucci Becherer, Director of the Snite Museum of Art. “The importance of our 18th.-, 19th- and 20th-century collections have been greatly enhanced with these works.”

An important and generous gift from Ann Uhry Abrams, PhD., of a work by the American painter John Twachtman, leads this group of acquisitions. Born in Cincinnati to German parents, John Henry Twachtman became a student of Frank Duveneck, who he followed to Munich, where the younger artist continued his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts. He traveled with Duveneck and William Merritt Chase to Venice, eventually landing in Paris. While there, Twachtman met Theodore Robinson, and the two developed their brand of Impressionism. He returned to the United States in 1886 and, with Childe Hassam and Julien Alden Weir, co-founded the group “The Ten” to organize exhibitions of their work.

The Chicago World’s Fair, Illinois Building, is from Twachtman’s mature period. His subject matter was primarily landscapes, most often devoid of architecture. Here, he features an important historical event in American art and history by examining the relationship between the landscape in the foreground and the highly geometric, manmade environment beyond. His is an apt illustration of the White City with its glorification of commercial and imperial ambitions. Dr. Abrams, the donor, is a long-standing member of the Museum’s Advisory Council.

Also part of this acquisition is an endearing work featuring three children is by the celebrated American Impressionist Joseph Morris Raphael (1869–1950). Associated with the California School of American Impressionism, Raphael spent a substantial portion of his career living and working in Belgium and the Netherlands, where he executed this painting.

Born in Jackson, California, and initially trained at the California School of Design, Raphael is one of the major figures of American Impressionism. He went to Paris in 1902 to continue his studies and remained in Europe until 1939. Upon arriving in Europe, Raphael quickly adopted the brushwork and palette of the French Impressionists. Although he would remain committed to the landscapes and domestic scenes favored by this group, his style expanded, becoming broader and more expressive under the influence of a variety of Post-Impressionist, Nabis, and Symbolist painters.

Although he developed a following of collectors in Europe, Raphael’s principal market was in the United States and, in particular, in California. Throughout most of his time in Europe, he exhibited in San Francisco and influenced an entire generation of collectors and plein air painters. Two Girls and a Baby is a gift to the Museum from Brenden Beck, Class of 1990.

Two works by the celebrated painter William J. GlackensThe Dressing Table (1922) and Sketch for a Girl in Pink (n.d.)—have been donated to the Museum by the Sansom Foundation, Inc.

Glackens is among the pre-eminent figures in the history of early twentieth-century American painting and was among the most influential art advisors to American collectors. He is one of the founding figures of the Ashcan School—arguably among the first genuinely American Modern art movements. Glackens is associated with a group of artists known as “The Eight” whose members included Robert Henri, George Luks, and John Sloan. Born and trained in Philadelphia, Glackens initially worked as an illustrator. He traveled to Europe in 1895 and was exposed both to Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. Upon returning to the United States, he settled in New York and became a prominent figure in the city’s burgeoning art world.

In the last decades of Glackens’s career, his palette lightened significantly, and brushwork became increasingly sketch-like. The impact of the French Impressionist Pierre Auguste Renoir is frequently cited as an inspiration for that change. Glackens came to know Renoir and his work well through the collection of Alfred Barnes, a high school friend who employed Glackens as an art advisor and agent. Both paintings contribute to the Museum’s holdings in American painting and early Modernism; each work is a beautiful example of Glackens’s repertoire in terms of subject matter and style. The Museum has been the grateful recipient of earlier gifts of the artist’s works by the Sansom Foundation.

An autumnal landscape by the celebrated American Impressionist Mathias J. Alten has been donated to the Museum by Anita M. Gilleo, the artist’s granddaughter.

Born in Germany, Alten trained at the Académie Julian and Académie Colarossi, Paris, and worked in the Netherlands before settling in Michigan. Alten’s earliest canvases are characterized by the more somber tones found in 19th-century Dutch and German painting; his later exposure to the work of the Spanish master Joaquín Sorolla opened his brushwork and lightened his palette.

In Autumn Attire portrays the shores of Lake Michigan and is the type of landscape painting that brought Alten great success during the second half of his career. Although he was also a successful portrait painter and creator of dazzling still life and floral imagery, Alten’s landscapes remained most in demand. They were widely collected, and the artist was a frequent presence in early 20th-century art communities like those in Old Lyme, Connecticut, and Taos, New Mexico. He probably completed this painting in the year following his induction into the National Arts Club in New York. It’s a valuable addition to the Museum’s holdings in American Impressionism, and reveals strong symbolic ties to the geographical region.

A second gift from Ann Uhry Abrams, PhD, the painting Mrs. Sarah Siddons and Her Son in the Tragedy of “Isabella,” 1784 is by the British artist William Hamilton. Trained as an architectural draftsman, Hamilton turned his attention toward figure drawing. He was a member of the Royal Academy and became best known for his depictions of scenes from popular plays. This painting is an example of Hamilton’s work at mid-career and represents the artist at his neoclassical best. The composition is simpler compared to his other paintings of theatrical performances; here, he has pared the composition down to two main characters set on a terrace in a full-length, double portrait and costume piece.

Despite its muted color palette and the dearth of scenographic details, the painting expresses all of the drama expected from the genre. The portrait is of Mrs. Sarah Siddons, a famous actress in the late eighteenth century, who performed much of Shakespeare’s and Milton’s repertoire at the Drury Lane Theatre. Hamilton shows her playing the role of Isabella, the main character of a play entitled The Fatal Marriage originally written in 1694 by Thomas Southerne. In 1757, the actor-manager David Garrick rewrote and published the play as Isabella, or the Fatal Marriage, staging a production at Drury Lane in 1782 with Siddons as the lead.

     Image credit: John Henry Twachtman (American, 1853–1902), The Chicago World’s Fair, Illinois Building, ca. 1893

     Oil on canvas. Gift of Ann Uhry Abrams, PhD, 2020.029.001American And British Recent Acquisitions

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The Snite Museum of Art acquires a work by Magnum Photographer Alex Majoli from The Eye of the Storm series

Author: Gina Costa


Alex Majoli

The Snite Museum of Art acquires a work by Magnum Photographer Alex Majoli from The Eye of the Storm series

Notre Dame, IN The Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame has added an important photograph by Magnum photographer Alex Majoli from his The Eye of the Storm series.  Created in Novara, Italy, in  April during the COVID-19 pandemic, Scene #2756, Novara, Italy, 2020, captures the moment when a priest blesses coffins that have just arrived at the cemetery by Italian Army trucks from nearby Bergamo.  Created in April amid Italy's early outbreak, this image brings into sharp focus the painful and tragic extent that northern Italy suffered during the first outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Italy’s death toll was the highest in Europe during the first months of the outbreak, and the country could barely keep up with the transportation of coffins for burial.

The photograph was an acquisition proposed by the Museum’s PhotoFutures: Collecting Art for Notre Dame, a student seminar led by the Curator of Education, Academic Programs, and Curator of Photographs. Designed for students of any major, this co-curricular program addresses issues related to museum-collecting, contemporary photography, and socially engaged artistic practice. Students critique individual photographs and evaluate artists' portfolios while engaging in critical discussions with the artists, Museum curators, and select faculty. This fall, students had the unique challenge of acquiring a photograph that addresses the ongoing crises of the Covid-19 pandemic. They state:

This photograph includes many of the hallmark elements of daily life under the conditions of the pandemic. The priest stands alone in a mask, even distanced from the coffins which contain the COVID-19 victims. The haunting loneliness of the piece and the solitary figure relate to the context of lockdowns and quarantine periods, which altered normal everyday activities and transformed bustling public places and city streets into ghost towns overnight. The artist’s choice of black and white adds to the melancholy tone while also eliminating any sense of the time of day, which recalls the disorientation of life under lockdown. . . . [Majoli’s photograph] brings to mind our shared humanity in contrast with the mechanized and dehumanized process of handling the high volume of COVID-19 victims. The presence of religion also evokes a theme of grief and the ways in which human beings find comfort when confronted with loss. Although the conditions of the pandemic precluded funerals and religious services from taking place, the priest preserves some measure of human dignity, even in death, through his act of blessing these coffins. . . .

Alex Majoli (b.1971, Ravenna, Italy) is a photographer whose dramatic black-and-white photographs focus on the human condition and the narratives of our daily lives. Known for documenting conflicts worldwide, he has covered the fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the invasion of Iraq. He has contributed to NewsweekThe New York Times Magazine, Granta, and National Geographic, among other publications. Majoli is the recipient of many awards, including the Guggenheim Fellowship (2015), the Eugene Smith Grant (2017), the Getty Images Grant for Editorial Photography (2009), and the Infinity Award for Photojournalism (2003). A member of Magnum Photos since 2001, he splits his time between New York and Sicily.

Image credit: Alex Majoli, Scene #2756, Novara, Italy, 2020, archival pigment print. Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame. Milly and Fritz Kaeser Endowment for Photography, 2020.024.  Majoli Pr

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