November 22, 1929: [Handwritten note: Sent to Art Critics]
To the Art Editor:
As there will be an opening of three different exhibitions at the Museum on December 2nd, we are writing to say that they can be seen by you any time on or after Monday, November 25th. This is to make it possible for you to have your review on the week-end of November 30th and December 1st.
The most comprehensive exhibition and a permanent installation will be nineteen American rooms on the second floor. The first painting exhibition is the work of Walter Shirlaw and some of his pupils in the large gallery of the third floor. The other painting exhibition of the work of John R. Koopman and his pupils will be in the east gallery on the third floor. The usual material giving the information which you will need and the photographs will be on hand as usual in the publicity office on the fourth floor.
Very truly yours,
ARTHUR H. TORREY
for the Brooklyn Museum
Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1916 - 1930. 10-12/1929, 087.
November 23, 1929: The entire force of carpenters, painters and workman of the Brooklyn Museum are working to full capacity to finish the extensive work which is going into the preparation of three exhibitions which will open at the Museum on December 2nd with a private view. The work which involves the greatest detail is the finishing of the installation of the nineteen early American rooms which has been promised for several months. This exhibition bids fair to be one of the most popular showings which the Museum has had in several years. The new section will be divided into four parts showing the architectural characteristics of this country before 1810 in the South, New Jersey, Long Island and New England. All the rooms will be completely furnished with fittings typical of their periods to give the feeling of actual houses instead of Museum exhibits. The special provisions for lighting will contribute greatly to this effect. An ingenious method has been worked out with midden lights reflected on a yellow background so as to give the effect of sunlight streaming into the rooms which are not near daylight.
The next most comprehensive exhibition of the three is the large collection of the paintings of Walter Shirlaw, one of the first great mural decorators of the United States. His work is being brought forward as that of one of our remarkable artists at the end of the last century. He is expected to have a large contemporary appeal as he was definitely an experimenter who did not allow himself to fall into one style and stay there. This quality of his mind will be thoroughly demonstrated by the exhibition. He did a great deal of figure work, especially allegories; landscapes, particularly the green Vermont hillsides: industrial subjects and portraits. Long before the vogue for painting subjects from our great industries became popular Shirlaw had already discovered this field. One large gallery of this exhibition will be devoted to the work of some of his pupils, namely, Anne Goldthwaite, Robert Reid, Dorothea A. Dreier and Katherine S. Dreier.
The third exhibition will be that of the work of John R. Koopman and his pupils. This is particularly appropriate at the Museum as Mr. Koopman gives art courses in the Educational Department of the Brooklyn Institute, of which both the Museum and the educational section are departments. Mr. Koopman is instructor in life drawing and antique at the Grand Central School of Art and was a student of Robert Henri, William M. Chase, Kenneth Hayes Miller and Irving R. Wiles. He has exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy, the Carnegie Institute, the New York water color exhibitions, the Corcoran Art Gallery, the Chicago Art Institute and the Brooklyn Museum.
Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1916 - 1930. 10-12/1929, 089a-b.
December 5, 1929: According to the report of Dr. Fox, Director of the Museum, a great deal of the energy of the staff of the Museum was put into preparing for the exhibitions which opened on December 2nd. These exhibitions were the remarkable installation of nineteen early American rooms, one of the most important additions that has been made to the Museum's exhibits, and the exhibition of paintings by the late Walter Shirlaw and a group of his pupila, as well as an exhibition of Paintings by John R. Koopman and members of his Brooklyn Institute class of painting and drawing. This took up the energies of both the Departments of Fine Arts and Decorative Arts for the last few weeks.
It was somehow found possible by the Decorative Arts Department to take time to prepare an exhibition of Italian textiles which was shown at the Carroll Park Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library and at which there was an attendance of 3500 persons.
Another event of major importance was the opening of the exhibition of modern Norwegian Prints in the Print Gallery with a first view and tea. This was the first showing of an Exhibition that is to go on tour throughout the museums of the country.
The Department of Ethnology announces two new exhibitions in the course of preparation, that of the rugs of the Near East from the collection of Mr. Ernest G. Metcalfe, which opens on December 16th, and an exhibition of drawings by American Indians, mostly from the collection of Miss A. E. White. This latter exhibition is to be opened about January 15th.
The attendance of 34,705 at the Central Museum for the month covered by the report is accounted for in great part by the 35 separate events such as lectures and special gallery talks which were given by the Department of Natural Science and the Department of Education.
Plans announced by the latter department are those for a Christmas Play to be given for the entertainment of the crippled children on the afternoons of December 18th and December 21st in the place of the story hour. The actors will consist of the children who regularly attend the Saturday story hour and the play will be entitled "Why the Chimes Rang" and will be accompanied by music on the new organ.
An interesting part of the report was the discussion of the meetings of the Brooklyn Entomological Society which was founded in 1876 and is the oldest society of its kind in America. It has held its monthly meetings at the Brooklyn Museum since 1912 and has received considerable prestige from this affiliation. It has prospered under this association and its publications have quadrupled in scope and value during that time. Some time ago the society dispensed with its own library in order to strengthen that of the Museum which now has one of the best all-around working libraries in entomology in the country.
Under the heading of accessions some of the most important were an oil painting, "Pont du Carrousel, Paris" by Frank M. Armington, the gift of Mr. Alfred W. Jenkins and an oil painting "Study" by Charles Conder, the gift of Mrs. John W. Alexander.
The report includes a long list of loans made by people interested in early Americana for the purpose of furnishing the new American rooms.
The print Department announces a gift of two etchings by Caroline Armington, presented by Mr. Alfred W. Jenkins and the loan by Mr. William A. Putnam of forty-one prints important for the inclusion of works by such famous names as Cameron, Dürer, Haden, Legros, Claude Lorraine, Meryon, J.F. Millet, Rembrandt, Whistler and Zorn.
An unusual accession in the Department of Ethnology was a Turkish costume from the vicinity of Constantinople dated about 1800, which was purchased.
The Department of Natural Science received from Mr. Manuel Gufstein a short-eared owl in the flesh.
Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1916 - 1930. 10-12/1929, 095a-c.