Spotlights: Burton Yost Berry: A Sketch

Burton Yost Berry
Burton Yost Berry

This summer the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University is exhibiting Spotlights: Five Views into the Museum’s Collection. The museum’s outstanding collection of ancient jewelry is celebrated by Juliet Istrabadi, acting Curator of the Ancient Art, for her section of the exhibition.

The following is an excerpt from A Golden Legacy: Ancient Jewelry from the Burton Y. Berry Collection, a catalogue written by  published by the IU Eskenazi Musuem of Art (then know as the Indiana University Art Museum) in 1995 to accompany an exhibition of the museum’s famed ancient jewelry collection. That exhibition traveled to the St. Louis Art Museum, the Museum of Art and Archeology at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and the Tampa Museum of Art, as well as being displayed here in Bloomington at our museum. We present this post today to honor Berry for both amassing his wonderful collection, and his generosity in donating it to our museum. He is truly a pivotal donor in the history of our museum. You can currently view a large selection of pieces from the Burton Y. Berry collection in our Spotlights exhibition, on view now through September 4, 2016. Additional works from the Burton Y. Berry Collection are regularly on view in the museum’s Gallery of the Art of Asia and the Ancient Western World, on the second floor.  Continue reading “Spotlights: Burton Yost Berry: A Sketch”

Spotlights: The Fantastic Photos of Julia Margaret Cameron


Image: Julia Margaret Cameron (British 1815-1879). The Mountain of Nymph Sweet Liberty from Miniature Edition of Mrs. Cameron’s Photographs from the Life, 1874. Albumen print mounted on cardstock. Eskenazi Museum of Art 75.28.15

This summer the Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University is exhibiting Spotlights: Five Views into the Museum’s Collection. Nan Brewer, the museum’s Lucienne M. Glaubinger Curator of Works on Paper chose a rare book of photos by nineteenth-century photographer Julia Margaret Cameron for her section of the exhibition. 

The wife of a retired jurist and mother of six, Julia Margaret Cameron (British, 1815–1879) took up photography at the age of forty-eight. One of the medium’s early pioneers, Cameron is widely recognized for her pictorial artistry. Born in Calcutta, India, Cameron traveled widely during her lifetime, studying in France, and living in England, before her death in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) at age sixty-four. The great aunt of author Virginia Woolf, Cameron brushed shoulders with many famous and historical figures of the time.

In 1874, she created an album of 101 miniature versions of her earlier works as “a board of ship companion for my beloved son Hardinge Hay Cameron.” Miniature Edition of Mrs. Cameron’s Photographs from the Life is a rare treasure, available for view in Spotlights on individual pages as it was disbound for repair.

Image: Julia Margaret Cameron (British 1815-1879). W. G. Palgrave from Miniature Edition of Mrs. Cameron’s Photographs from the Life, 1874. Albumen print mounted on cardstock. Eskenazi Museum of Art 75.38.65

The album was created by making small copy photos from images that spanned ten years (all are albumen prints mounted on cardstock). As a personal memento, the album reads like a visual scrapbook of Cameron’s family, friends, neighbors, and members of the Victorian intelligentsia. Among her subjects are naturalist Charles Darwin, the great poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and other colorful characters such as W. G. Palgrave, the Jesuit missionary who would often disguise himself during his travels to then, forbidden lands, and Dejatch Alamayou, the only person outside of the royal family to be buried at Windsor Castle. Interspersed with these portraits are lyrical allegorical vignettes and illustrations of themes from classical mythology, the Bible, and English literature, which Cameron recreated stylistically based on prototypes from Renaissance and Pre-Raphaelite painting traditions.

Image: Julia Margaret Cameron (British 1815-1879). Christabel from Miniature Edition of Mrs. Cameron’s Photographs from the Life, 1874 (negative 1866). Albumen print mounted on cardstock. Eskenazi Museum of Art 75.38.8

For more on Julia Margaret Cameron, check out a recent video interview below with contemporary photographer Nan Goldin, as part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s The Artist Project series.

We hope you take this opportunity to visit the museum and see Cameron’s photography and the rest of our Spotlights exhibition for yourself. It is on view through September 4, 2016. If you have any questions please contact us at

Eskenazi Museum of Art website


Spotlights Exhibition: Japanese Surimono Prints

70.4.73Image: Sadaoka Gakutei (Japanese, 1786[?]-1868). First Companion of the Writing Chamber: Ink, ca. 1827. Surimono: ink, metallic powders, and color on paper. Eskenazi Museum of Art 70.4.73

This summer the Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University is offering a special exhibition called Spotlights: Five Views into the Eskenazi Museum of Art’s Collection, on view June 11-September 4, 2016. In this exhibition each of the museum’s five curators has chosen a group of objects to highlight due to their rarity, research interest, or importance, as a way of further displaying the range and quality that make the museum’s collection among the best in the country. You can find an overview of the exhibition HERE, and we will be taking a deeper look at the individual collections “spotlighted” here on the blog this summer. First up is an exquisite collection of Japanese surimono woodblock prints, curated by Judy Stubbs, the museum’s Pamela Buell Curator of Asian Art. Stay tuned for future updates. 

The Eskenazi Museum of Art is fortunate to have a collection of almost ninety surimono, or special-edition prints, in various formats. However, these appealing prints are rarely exhibited because of their light-sensitive pigments. The prints in Spotlights have not been on display as a group since 1979, when Professor Theodore Bowie (Indiana University Department of Fine Arts) curated an exhibition of surimono that was accompanied by a groundbreaking catalogue. Spotlights offers a welcome opportunity to research these prints anew, add information, and display two newly acquired prints for the first time.

The word surimono means “printed thing,” a definition that does little to explain this exquisite genre of woodblock printing, which combines poetry and imagery. Developed in the late eighteenth century, surimono prints were privately commissioned and exchanged between friends and colleagues–especially members of poetry groups–as gifts, rather than sold commercially. As such, surimono required a high level of collaboration between artist, printer, and patron. Produced in small numbers, the prints offered opportunities for the use of elaborate printing techniques and luxurious materials such as fine paper and gold and silver inks.

2016.25Image: Shibata Zeshin (Japanese, 1807-1891). A Cock, a Chicken, and Chicks, 1861, Year of the Rooster. Surimono: ink and color on paper. Purchased with funds from the Thomas T. Solley Endowed Fund for Asian Art and the estate of Herman B Wells via the Joseph Granville and Anne Bernice Wells Memorial Fund, Eskenazi Museum of Art 2016.25


The prints displayed in Spotlights were made for a variety of occasions, especially as New Year’s cards, but also as eulogies, invitations, and anything related to Kabuki actors. During the Edo period (1603-1868), Kabuki plays were an extremely popular form of entertainment. Additionally, two examples of the surimono subgroup Egoyomi, or calendar prints, are on view. Initially, surimono were printed in a wide variety of sizes, until about 1810 when the shikishiban, or square print format (size 20.5 x 18.5 cm), became the norm. Surimono prints often include one or more kyoka, or “wild verse” poetry, which often take visual cues from the accompanying images to create puns for the puzzlement and enjoyment of the viewer.

2016.24Image: Ryuryuko Shinsai (active 1799-1823). Lacquer Box and Writing Implements, 1818, Year of the Tiger. Commissioned by the Shakuyakutei Poetry Group. Surimono: ink, metallic pigments, and color on paper. Purchased with funds from the Thomas T. Solley Endowed Fund for Asian Art and the estate of Herman B Wells via the Joseph Granville and Anna Bernice Wells Memorial Fund, Eskenazi Museum of Art 2016.24


In total, twenty-one surimono are on view in the Spotlights exhibition. We hope you will take the opportunity to visit the museum and see this rarely exhibited collection for yourself. If you would like to learn more about Japanese woodblock prints we recommend you visit the website Viewing Japanese Prints, which offers a wealth of information on the subject. If you have any questions, please contact us at

Eskenazi Museum of Art Website


Last Week on Display: Top 5 Must-Sees of IU’s Hope School Faculty Artists

The Faculty Artists from IU’s Hope School of Fine Arts will be on display in the Special Exhibitions Gallery and Judi and Milt Steward Hexagon Gallery through March 9.  There is less than one week to get one last look at IU Faculty’s amazing artworks at the Indiana University Art Museum:

Arthur Liou, saga dawa final_00063 low

Jawshing Arthur Liou

Associate Professor, Digital Art

Saga Dawa, 2012

1080p high definition video

(55 minute loop)

Just five minutes short of an hour, this gently enchanting “action picture film” (above) utilizes technical skills in digital imagery to bring to the forefront a topic of global cultural relevance, Saga Dawa (the celebration of the Buddha’s birth on the Tibetan lunar calendar.)


Grant Whipple

Visiting Assistant Professor


Good Morning Commuters!, 2012

Oil and watercolor on panel

Grant Whipple has a unique take on mixed media combining both oil and watercolors onto the same canvas.  Whipple also takes a new perspective on visual orientation.  Looking at the work, the viewer questions at which point to enter the foggy and swirling imagery with semblances of faces, machinery, and forms.  To see this work and others created by Whipple, check out his portfolio:


Mike Calway-Fagen

Visiting Assistant Professor Sculpture

Daniel Patrick, 2011

plaster and my brother’s high school trumpet

Mike Calway-Fagen’s work can easily be defined as unique.  This conceptual work, composed of plaster and a high school trumpet, leaves room for interpretation and contemplation as it is the only work within the exhibition that acts as its own pedestal.  To see Calway-Fagen’s installation among his other projects you can visit his online portfolio:


Danielle C. Head

Visiting Assistant Professor


Et in Arcadia Ego, 2013

Archival digital print

Danielle C. Head encapsulates a static moment in time that has more than meets the eye.  Like peeling away the layers of an onion, Hood’s digitally crafted narrative intertwines the viewer in deciphering their own time, place, and identity.  To see this digital print and the rest of Head’s portfolio, take a look at her website:


Tim Kennedy

Senior Lecturer, Painting

Poinsettia Mirror, 2011

Oil on canvas

Tim Kennedy shows his mastery in the language of paint through his articulation in thick strokes and specificity in the details.  Approaching this portrait through a voyeur’s lens, the audience finds themselves a part of the scene with the poinsettia mirror and the unaware nude figure.  This work among Kennedy’s other paintings can be found on his online portfolio:


Hope Faculty Artists Celebrate Opening at Indiana University Art Museum

January 25 through March 9, 2014

 The Indiana University Art Museum presents 38 artists in a special exhibition titled “Faculty Artists from IU’s Hope School of Fine Arts 2014.”  Their work is on view in the Special Exhibitions Gallery and the Judi and Milt Stewart Hexagon Gallery this winter.

The Opening celebration held on January 24, 2014 welcomed the artists to celebrate their successful careers as exhibiting artists and as professors at Indiana University with their friends, families, and museum guests.  On display through March 9, 2014, this exhibition presents a diversity of subject matter and materials in both traditional and new media disciplines.

Faculty Show

Despite the freezing temperature, students, colleagues, and local Bloomington art-goers came to show their support, filling both the atrium and gallery spaces.  Catered appetizers by Feast complimented the eventful evening as guests circulated in and out of the gallery, discussing the works amongst their peers.

Do not miss the opportunity to see what the Hope School of Fine Arts’ professors have been up to outside of the classroom walls.  This special exhibition will be on view at the IU Art Museum through the first week of March.


Two Artists and Two Palettes: Burlin & Gottlieb’s Expressions on War

Paul Burlin
American, 1886–1969
News from Home, 1944
Oil on canvas
The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art
Auburn University
Advancing American Art Collection

Vibrant colors, playful strokes, and thick paint dominate Paul Burlin’s work—all of which reminded me of a child’s imagination. However, when I read the description on the label, I realized that there was nothing juvenile about this World War II-era piece.

At the time Burlin painted News from Home, the Auschwitz concentration camp had not yet been liberated, and the true extent of the Nazis’ destruction and brutality was not yet comprehended. However, though the true degree of destruction and death had not been actualized, Burlin’s piece News from Home shows the chaotic and uncertain nature of a tumultuous war.

The black lines clearly outlining the situation and confining the colors, the masked figures with fangs, and the fiery scene in the background serve as an illustration and new definition of war.

As Burlin demonstrates through this work, color does not necessarily reflect beauty. Through this artistic metaphor, Burlin asks the viewer to delve deeper into themselves as human beings and to examine their role in a global society. This work is a vision of the world gone wrong, and Burlin delivers this message to the audience with force.

Adolf Gottlieb
American, 1903–1956
The Couple, 1946
Oil on canvas
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
The University of Oklahoma
Purchase, U.S. State Department
Collection, 1948.1719

Gottlieb uses a contrasting color palette and black and white lines to compose a graphic yet painterly work. Before further close inspection of and introspection into the components of the work itself, I did not truly realize the deliberate implications of the angular and curved shapes that seem childish in execution. There is no simplicity in human nature.

Through the medium of paint and graphic structure, Gottlieb comments on both the growing existential crisis immediately following World War II and the effects of the Holocaust. Taking a step back from the painting, you can see that there are two people within the frame, a man and a woman. Their claws and teeth penetrate each other’s bodies, and you start to see the violent, bestial nature of the work.

Even the simplest pictures have deep-seated roots. With every stroke, Gottlieb interacts with the post-World War II audience. Mirroring Burlin’s message to his audience, Gottlieb reiterates that not everything is as it appears, and that we must be aware of the world around us to recognize how mankind is its own worst enemy. This painting, like the black and white outlines of a tattoo, marks the permanent scars the war has left behind. Gottlieb, through a brush and a canvas, is trying to get the viewer to truly recognize the implications that the war has left behind, the gash it has left on the flesh of humanity.


Both Burlin and Gottlieb express war and their effects on people in very different manners but ultimately end up achieving the same goal. They show that lines and forms cannot contain the destruction of a fragmented and vicious world. Their execution in color, line, and form are temporary façades that eventually reveal the ills of a global society. They may cover the wounds left behind, but the pain, the suffering, and the residue of a treacherous war will seep through, just like the imagery and symbolism in their works do.


Stop by the Special Exhibitions Gallery to see these works and to learn more about the other works in the traveling exhibition, Art Interrupted: Advancing American Art and the Politics of Cultural Diplomacy. But don’t wait! This special exhibition is only at the IU Art Museum through December 15.