The Scholar’s Studio: Selections from the Edward A. and Inge Maser Collection
May 5 – October 18, 2009
Giovanni Castrucci (or Castrucci Workshop), Wooded Landscape with Crenellated Wall, circa 1600–07, Commessi di pietre dure (so-called Florentine Mosaic) of Bohemian semi-precious hard stones and petrified wood mounted on slate. Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, Gift of the Collection of Edward A. and Inge Maser in honor of Richard Born, 2008.43.
Edward A. Maser was the first director of the Smart Museum and a scholar of the baroque.
A professor of art history at the University of Chicago, he shaped the early years of the Museum, guiding the development of its artistic and academic character through judicious acquisitions of medieval, Old Master, and nineteenth-century paintings, drawings, and sculptures. Together with his wife, Inge, Professor Maser also formed a distinguished personal collection on modest means that was informed by both enthusiasm and a scholar's eye.
The Masers acquired rich examples of such specialized genres as oil sketches (which served as studies for independent easel paintings and fresco cycles) and small ensembles of works from such celebrated European cultural centers as the court of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II in Prague.
In 2008, the Smart Museum received a bequest of twenty-seven of these paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints. The Scholar's Studio featured not only select pieces from the bequest but also other works in the Museum's collection the couple donated during their lifetimes. The exhibition examined the scholarly facet of collecting, offering an intimate view of Ed and Inge Maser's enduring relationship with the Smart Museum.
This was the inaugural exhibition in the Smart Museum's newly dedicated Edward A. and Inge Maser Gallery for Art Before 1900.