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September 17, 2005 to December 2, 2005

Rittenhouse Square Collects Part Two: On the Square

To conclude our 90th Anniversary celebration entitled Celebrating Rittenhouse Square, the Philadelphia Art Alliance presents the final part of a three exhibition series entitled Rittenhouse Square Collects, Part Two: On the Square. Helen W. Drutt English conceived the tripartite exhibition schedule for the 90th Anniversary Year and serves as the Project Director for these exhibitions.

The first exhibition “In Ever Greater Measure” was organized by Melissa Caldwell, Exhibition and Design Associate of the Philadelphia Art Alliance. The exhibition encompassed historical artifacts, documents, photographs, and other ephemera that concentrate on the history of Rittenhouse Square and the legacy of the PAA within that community.

Two separate exhibitions, entitled Rittenhouse Square Collects, encompasses the remainder of our Anniversary celebration. These exhibitions have been selected by James Jensen, Associate Director and Chief Curator of The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu. Part One: Off the Square, which was on view from June 21 to August 21, was drawn from collections nearby Rittenhouse Square. The summer exhibition was an eclectic choice of works spanning the 18th century to the present and ranges from Indian textiles and drawings to early American decorative arts, to Art Deco French ceramics, to Philadelphia modernist paintings to late 20th century contemporary crafts.

Part Two: On the Square features an equally diverse group of works culled from some of the most thoughtful and substantive private collections in the Philadelphia area. The installation of these varied collections incorporate juxtapositions of objects, which though unexpected, provide interesting complements and relationships between works. Ultimately the exhibition serves to emphasize the range of collecting interests in the Rittenhouse area, providing a rich variety of aesthetic viewpoints from the private sector.

Incorporating multiple collections within each gallery of the Philadelphia Art Alliance, Part Two: On the Square is organized in two ways. Each grouping contains either varying approaches to a single subject, or represents the works of several artists within a single period of history. Several categories are presented in the exhibition, including the nude figure; the still life; tribal or ethnographic objects; portraiture; seascapes and landscapes; contemporary ceramics; and typology collections or groupings of similar ephemera that collectors have focused on to create a varied assemblage of that object. Highlights from these collections include works by: David Hockney; Robert Motherwell; Sarah McEneaney; William Glackens; Sally Mann; Paul Strand; Elieen Neff; Arthur B. Carles; Maurice Vlaminck; Jacques Villon; jewelry by Alexander Calder, Georg Jensen, and Louise Nevelson; Milton Avery; Max Weber; Jean Cocteau; Earl Horter; Elie Nadelman; Barbara Morgan; and Henri Cartier Bresson, among many others.

Ultimately the exhibitions included in Rittenhouse Square Collects celebrate the philanthropic spirit of the Rittenhouse community in their support of the visual arts and the central position of the Philadelphia Art Alliance in promoting arts and culture along the Square and throughout the region.