Works of art have histories – personal and collective.
In January, American realist painter George Nick came to the Ackland with our former director, Charles Millard. Nick’s painting, seen with the artist at right, was recently pulled from Ackland storage and installed in the office of the Chancellor. This photograph documents the day when the artist rediscovered his old friend: his own work. It is privilege to hold works in trust for the people of North Carolina, but more than this, it is a rare delight to know that museums also facilitate homecomings, moments with artists are reunited with their works.
Not everyone can claim this particular kind of homecoming when they come to an art museum, but visitors to the Ackland often tell me of their personal relationships with particular works of art. For some it is the Rubens portrait, for other, the Thai Buddha. Some come to see the ancient pots, others the North Carolina pottery. For each, it is a personal homecoming with a public collection. Continue reading
Those of us working on digitally archiving the Ackland’s collections have wanted to share our progress for some time. We are in our last phases of production, and we have now:
• Produced over 12,000 master image files of artworks
• Joined those images with descriptive and technical information
• Loaded all completed records (approximately 6,000!) onto the Ackland’s website, for free and easy use by individuals worldwide!
Imagine looking through box after box and folder after folder of artwork every day for eight hours a day. It is both dazzling and tedious. You can’t perform these duties without having some images stick in your brain, so we will be contributing to the Ackland Art Museum blog on a regular basis to give you an idea of what’s going on behind the scenes.
There are three of us currently working under a grant contract to accomplish this project: Diane, a photographer who has been digitizing since Fall 2010, and Dana and Abby, two digital image technicians who joined the project in Fall 2013.
And we want to be clear: not one of us has ever had a formal Art History class. We are all simply art appreciators who will be sharing our favorites with you—and we definitely have some favorites! Each of us will be digging into our files to bring you glimpses of what we have the privilege of seeing every day.