The Gifts of Caroline Bamberger Fuld
The American Art collection at the Newark Museum, numbering more than 12,000 paintings, sculptures, works on paper and multimedia art, is one of the finest in the country. Surveying four centuries, the Museum’s American holdings include important Colonial and Federal portraits, a superb collection of Hudson River landscape paintings, a pioneer assemblage of American folk art, and works by American Impressionists and American Modernists. Its core strength in American modernism is the direct result of the Museum’s commitment to collect the works of living artists. As John Cotton Dana put it, “Art has always flourished where it was asked to flourish, and never elsewhere. If we wish for a renaissance of art in America, we must be students and patrons of endeavors which seem humble but are in truth of the utmost importance.”
When Caroline Bamberger Fuld, the sister of the department store magnate Louis Bamberger and the wife of his partner Felix Fuld, offered $10,000 to buy paintings for the opening of the new museum building on Washington Park in 1926, Dana asked Arthur F. Egner, a collector of modern American art and chairman of the Board of Trustees, and Holger Cahill, an art critic in New York and an art adviser to Dana and his Newark institutions, to “form a good nucleus for a collection which would in due course grow to a fair and well-rounded exposition of the paining art, as presented in the last few years, by American paintings.” Together they purchase 20 paintings by 16 artists, including Guy Pene Du Bois’ “The Corridor,” Robert Henri’s “Mary Gallagher,” Jerome Myers’ “Italian Procession,” John Sloan’s “Picture Shop Window,” and Niles Spencer’s “The Cove,” all of which are on view in the critically acclaimed galleries “Picturing America,” in the north wing of the Newark Museum.
Of this remarkable collection of paintings that formed the core of the Museum’s American art collection, Arthur F. Egner wrote: “Here is a group of paintings acquired during the past year (1926). We consider them to be honest, capable works, characteristic of certain leading tendencies in contemporary American painting. We believe that the public will enjoy them and study them with interest and that their makers are worthy of whatever recognition or encouragement they may receive at our hands.”
– William A. Peniston, Ph.D.. Librarian
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