This blog post was created by Maeve Doyle, Ph.D. Candidate, History of Art, Bryn Mawr College
This past Tuesday was no ordinary workday in Bryn Mawr College Special Collections. By 10 in the morning, our seminar room in Canaday Library was overflowing with boxes and large bins containing the first shipment of the Jacqueline and Howard Levine Collection. If you’re walking past Canaday 205, be sure to stop and enjoy the sight of us squeezing through wall-to-wall crates of art!
This new wealth of works on paper is due to the generous gift of Jacqueline and Howard Levine. Jacqueline Koldin Levine, class of 1946, has long been an active member of the Bryn Mawr community, serving on the Board of Trustees from 1979 to 1991. The Levines’ art collection focuses mainly on prints and contains a wide range of examples of European modernism as well as a particular emphasis on American Social Realist movements, such as the Ashcan School. We are tremendously grateful to Jackie and Howard Levine; their donation of this superlative collection will allow Bryn Mawr students to discover, study, and enjoy its works for generations.
Before that can happen, however, we need to integrate these new pieces into our existing collections. That’s down to Hyoungee Kong and me: two students , twenty-two boxes and bins, and 482 works of art (so far!). Our first step is to assign a Bryn Mawr accession number to each object and to make a concordance between the Levine catalogue numbers and the new identifiers. Next we’ll be moving the works out of their temporary boxes and bins and into the archival folders and boxes that will be their permanent homes. While we do this, our eyes will be peeled for the best exemplars of the Levine Collection, which we’ll showcase in an exhibit next year. Our last step will be to catalogue each new addition and to make images and information about the artworks available on the Tri-College TriArte Art and Artifacts Database. We’ve been working closely with Marianne Weldon, Collections Manager, Art and Artifact Collections in Special Collection to complete this mammoth task.
As we pull works one by one from their boxes, we’ve come face-to-face with the works of master printmakers of the 20th century and earlier. From the artistic avant-garde of Pablo Picasso or George Grosz to the social commentary of Käthe Kollwitz or the Social Realist artists of the 1920s and 30s, the images are startling, challenging, touching, and beautiful. This is a collection with emotional as well as artistic range. Here is just a taste of what’s to be discovered in the Levine Collection …