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Allentown Art Museum

Fifth and Court Streets
Allentown, Pennsylvania

Phone: 610-432-4333 --

Statement of Purpose:

"The Allentown Art Museum is dedicated to stimulating active exploration of the arts and developing new audiences for the arts within the Lehigh Valley community and beyond. Through the central activities of collection, preservation, study, exhibition, and interpretation of important works of visual art, the Allentown Art Museum fosters greater understanding of artists and their work."
--Mission statement of the Allentown Art Museum (revised and adopted 1998)

Highlights & Collections:

The Allentown Art Museum was established through a grass roots effort led by the teacher, painter and critic, Walter Emerson Baum (1886-1956). Founded and incorporated during the Depression (1935 and 1939 respectively), the Museum served the local community for 25 years in a city-owned Federal-style house, primarily exhibiting the works of area artists.
The Allentown Art Museum is a privately funded, member-supported museum receiving  general operating support from the City of Allentown, County of Lehigh, Museum and Library Services Institute, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the Harry C. Trexler Trust.

The Collection:
A world-class permanent collection of superb European paintings and sculpture by Renaissance and Baroque Masters form the cornerstone of the Museum’s collection.  This quality is mirrored in American Paintings and sculpture of the last two hundred years.  The Allentown Art Museum boasts an expanding collection of master prints, drawings, and photographs which appear in rotating exhibitions.
One of the best-loved spaces in the Museum galleries is the tranquil library from the Francis W. Little House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.  A fine decorative arts collection complements this wonderful centerpiece, including furnishings, glassware, and ceramics.
Another significant feature of the Museum’s collection is the large selection of international textiles.  Works of art from the textile collection, such as weavings, lace, embroidery, or printed fabrics, are always on display.


Permanent Exhibits:
European Painting:
Enjoy a rare opportunity to view premier examples of European Renaissance Art on display in the Museum's first floor Founders Gallery. In 1960, the Allentown Art Museum became one of eighteen museums to receive Italian, German, and Dutch masterpieces from Samuel H. Kress and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. The gift included more than fifty works of art. In 1993, a bequest from Marie-Louise Garbaty added an important group of paintings by Dutch and Flemish artists.

American Painting:
The Museum tells the story of American art in our first floor Trexler and Butz galleries, including art of regional interest. Some of the nation's best-known artists, from Gilbert Stuart to Frank Lloyd Wright to Robert Motherwell, are represented. Many who achieved prominence, such as Gustav Grunewald, Harry Bertola, and Joan Snyder, made their homes here in eastern Pennsylvania.

Folk costumes and embroideries from Southern Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, and American needlework and quilts, are highlights of the Museum's textile collection, established in 1974 through a gift from Kate Fowler Merle-Smith. Three to four special exhibitions each year allow selections from our textile collection to be shown on a rotating basis.

Prints and Drawings:
Through the volunteer fund raising efforts of the Museum's Society of the Arts (SOTA), the Museum purchases prints to complement our European, American, and Textile collections and to celebrate printmaking as a fine art. Old master works by like Frederico Barocci and Ugo Da Capri, as well as regionally important twentieth-century Americans such as Charles Sheeler and Keith Haring, represent only a few of the many artistic schools that make up our collection.

Frank Lloyd Wright:
The museum is home to a library, originally part of the second Francis W. Little House in Wayzata Minnesota, designed in 1912 by America's greatest architect, Frank Lloyd Wright (1867 – 1959). Northome, as the residence was called, is considered the last of Wright's famous houses in the Prairie style, suited to the land and the American way of living. The house was dismantled in 1972, when it was purchased by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The Allentown Art Museum has been fortunate in acquiring Northome's library.  The Museum’s architect, Edgar Tafel, installed it in 1973.

2002 Calendar of Events:Schedule of Exhibitions:

February 21 — April 28, 2002
Light Screens: The Leaded Glass of Frank Lloyd Wright

This exhibition is the first to focus exclusively on the leaded glass designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) between 1885 and 1923, works that proved instrumental in moving American glass design from the Victorian into the modern age. Wright's towering achievements in architecture have overshadowed the fact that he was one of the most prolific American glass artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. To trace the genesis and evolution of his window designs over four decades, curator Julie L. Sloan has selected nearly fifty windows, complemented by reproductions of twenty of Wright's preparatory drawings.
The Museum will offer extended hours on Tuesday evenings for the run of this exhibition. On Tuesdays from March 5 through April 23, the Museum will be open from 11 AM to 8 PM.
The Allentown Art Museum is proud to be one of only six American venues to host this exhibition. In addition, it is the only venue to feature a Wright room as part of its permanent collection, the library from the second Francis W. Little House.
Light Screens: The Leaded Glass of Frank Lloyd Wright is organized by Exhibitions International, New York, in cooperation with The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, Arizona. The exhibition and its national tour are sponsored by Steelcase Inc. Allentown venue made possible in part by major corporate sponsor Alvin H. Butz, Inc.; Adams Outdoor Advertising; the Dexter F. and Dorothy H. Baker Foundation; Mr. Bernard Berman; Mr. and Mrs. Joseph B. Scheller; Roth Marz Partnership PC; and the Leon C. and June W. Holt Endowment.  Interior Workplace solutions provided in kind support.

May 12 — July 7, 2002
28th Juried Show

Every other year, the Allentown Art Museum offers established and emerging artists the opportunity to display their recent work in our galleries through the Juried Show series. Always lively and provocative, this biennial exhibition has become an important vehicle for identifying new talent and ideas. All media except photography are eligible.
Distinguished art historian Hugh M. Davies, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, will select the exhibition from slides submitted from across the nation. Davies received his A.B. (1970), M.F.A. (1972), and Ph.D. (1976) from Princeton University. His dissertation on British painter Francis Bacon was later expanded and published; more recently he authored Francis Bacon: The Papal Portraits of 1953. Since the early 1970s, Dr. Davies' interests have focused on contemporary art, in which field he has contributed to numerous books and exhibition catalogues. His professional activities include service to  the National Endowment for the Art's and the Federal Advisory Committee on International Exhibitions.

Textiles rotated at 10-week intervals
The Art of India:Sculpture and Temple Hangings from the Jaipaul Collection

This exhibition explores the aesthetic and technical diversity of Indian art from the collection of Dr. Jaipaul, recently acquired by the Allentown Art Museum. Eleven examples of India's rich sculptural tradition will be presented: some well-known Hindu deities, such as Ganesa and Vishnu, and other lesser-known deities, Bhairava (a manifestation of Shiva) and Candrama (moon god). A stone Buddha from the tenth century exemplifies the importance of Buddhism in ancient India. An austere white stone carving of a Jina teacher from the fourteenth century represents the religion and philosophy of Jainism, which dates to the sixth century BC. A backdrop of twentieth-century Indian temple hangings will complement the sculptures.

February 24 — May 12, 2002
A Taste for Japanese Prints

The young American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, commencing his career at the end of the nineteenth century, found reinforcement of his own architectural and artistic ideal not in the Classical and Renaissance forms of Europe but in the simpler, nature-oriented, romantic images of the Far East, particularly Japan. This exhibition will feature works by artists whom Wright collected and admired.  Illustrating one of the architect's frequent choices for interior decoration in his homes there will  be a selection of pillar prints or hashira-e, long, narrow prints designed to hang on the upright supports of Japanese houses.

May 19 — July 28, 2002
North African Textiles

The Arabs called the northwestern region of Africa-the area comprising present-day Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia--the 'maghreb' or "place of sunset." Historically, the Maghreb has been an important crossroads of people and influences traveling north from sub-Saharan Africa, west from the Middle East, and south from Europe. Since ancient times, North African textiles have been important trade items as well as indicators of wealth and social status. This exhibition features nine textiles of significant social, cultural, religious, and aesthetic value made with a variety of materials and techniques. Some are the traditional products of indigenous peoples while others exhibit stronger European influences, particularly those originating from the important urban textile center in Fez, Morocco.

July 21-September 29, 2002
Martha Posner: Physical Memory
The sculpture and works on paper created by Martin’s Creek resident Martha Posner are deeply personal, often painful and always mysterious and evocative.  The sculptures are larger than life dresses, cloaks, and shirts made of natural materials such as woven rose canes, and beeswax, muslin, hair, fleece, and feathers applied to a wire armature.  Posner draws inspiration from a variety of sources, including primitive religious rituals, fairy tales, and mythology.   Her most recent body of work, in fact, is entitled Making Myths.  The centerpiece of the current exhibition is a four-poster bed with a red woven mattress that could have belonged to a Grimm Brothers princess. Posner’s installation at the Allentown Art Museum will include sculptures and drawings from Making Myths and from her earlier Garment Series, plus several pieces created specifically for the occasion.

July 21-September 29, 2002
A New Look at couture: Sophie Milenovich
“Haute couture” is French for “high” or “elegant sewing” a term used since the 1800s in Europe and America for custom-made high fashion women’s clothes.   Couturiers design and create for a select clientele, those who are able to pay thousands of dollars for a single article of clothing.   French artist Sophie Milenovich takes a closer look at the forms and techniques of tailoring in her multi-media installation at the Allentown Art Museum.  In couture, two-dimensional textiles are cut to fit the specific dimensions of the intended wearer.  The process of sewing yields a three-dimensional form that serves a specific function in a garment, i.e., collar, cuff or lapel.  Milenovich deconstructs this process by placing single pattern pieces onto her own body and showing how the two-dimensional textiles are transformed into three-dimensional entities when they are forced to adapt to the complex armature of the body.  She does this by displaying the pattern pieces as flat abstract forms on tables, as if they were just cut from bolts of cloth.  The flat pattern pieces will be installed together with drawings of the patterns and photographs of the artist wearing the same pattern piece on her own body.  

August 6-October 6, 2002
Photographs by Mel Rosenthal

October 13-December 22, 2002
All That is Glorious Around Us: Paintings from the Hudson River School
Just in time for the autumn season comes this splendid display of American landscapes by Hudson River School painters.  Believed to be the closest to a truly “American” art, the Hudson River School of landscape painting had its beginnings in 1825, when the first canvases of Thomas Cole were discovered in a New York City art supply store.  Selected from a private collection assembled over a period of more than forty years, this exhibition presents a remarkably broad survey of early, mid-, and late Hudson River School landscapes.  All of the prominent artists are represented:  Cole, Durand, Church, Cropsey,  Kensett, Gifford, and Whittredge.  Of particular note are a major Cole painting of the Arno river in Florence, Italy, and a Church painting of ruins in the Holy Land.  Work by woman artists and Pennsylvania landscape painters are also featured.  Bethlehem’s Gustave Grunewald is represented by an important winter landscape.  An extensive and beautifully illustrated scholarly catalogue accompanies the exhibition. 

October 13- December 29, 2002
Berlin Woolwork

November 19, 2002-January 12, 2003
Holiday Exhibition:  Lehigh Valley “Small on Scale” Miniature Club
A holiday exhibition of the Lehigh Valley “Small on Scale” Miniature Club will consist of individual theme rooms, designed and crafted by club members.  Between thirty to forty rooms, with a wide range of period styles and furnishings, will be on display.  Highlights of the show will include a theme room featuring portions of the Museum’s Senderowitz-Oppenheimer collection, comprised of fine silver and porcelain serving and dining implements and elegant Georgian-style mahogany dining room and tea furnishings.  A grouping of miniature chairs made by a club member/specialist will also be featured.  In honor of the occasion, the club will reproduce in miniature the Museum’s Frank Lloyd Wright library from the Francis W. Little House.  The club’s previous exhibitions, including a 1999 show at the Kemerer Museum in Bethlehem, have been very popular. 

Family Programs: ARTime
Sundays noon - 3 PM
Tuesdays and Thursdays 3 - 4:30 PM

After school, the place to be is ARTime. Experience hands-on, creative fun with Museum educators. Children ages 4-12 accompanied by an adult are invited to the Binney & Smith Learning Center for supervised art activities. ARTime is free with Museum admission.
Reservations are required for groups of six or more. Class size in limited to thirty participants. Schedule and projects are subject to change. Call 610-432-4333 extension 32 or e-mail for more information. ARTime is supported in part by Mimi's Fund.


Tuesday 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Wednesday—Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday noon to 5:00 p.m.

These hours will be in effect
through April 28, 2002.

Admission & Directions:

Museum Admission
Members free. $4.00 for adults, $3.00 for senior citizens, $2.00 for students, Children under 12 free. Free admission every Sunday.
Want to learn about our educational offerings? Interested in having a Museum program at your site? Want to arrange a docent-led tour for your group? Contact the educational services department for scheduling information.
610-432-4333 extension 32

From Bethlehem and Easton
Rt. 22 west to Allentown exit 7th Street south, 2 miles to Turner Street; left onto Turner, two blocks to 5th Street; right onto 5th Street; Museum is 1.5 blocks on left.
From Reading and Kutztown
Rt. 222 North (becomes Hamilton Street in Allentown) to 4th Street; left on 4th Street; Left on Linden Street; left on 5th Street; Museum is on left.
From New Jersey and New York
I 78 West; exit Lehigh Street north to center city Allentown across 8th Street Bridge to Turner Street; right onto Turner Street; right onto 5th Street; Museum is 1.5 blocks on left.
From Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Scranton
I 78 East from Harrisburg or I 476 from Scranton or Philadelphia to Allentown exit; Rt. 22 east. Proceed to Allentown exit; 7th Street south; 2 miles to Turner Street; left onto Turner; 2 blocks to 5th Street; right onto 5th Street; Museum is 1.5 blocks on left.
Street parking in vicinity. Public parking at Court and Linden Streets in back of the Museum.



Key Personnel:

Sanfprd T. Beldon, President, Board of Trustees
Carl Schafer, Registar

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