Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the OSU Art Collection is continually growing. Sometimes these gifts fill in gaps in the collection, allowing us to engage meaningfully with new audiences. Other gifts deepen our existing collections, adding richness and detail. This week, Graduate Research Assistant Krystle Brewer writes about a gift from Art Advisory Council member and OSU alumnus Charles Scott that falls into the latter category—and which comes with a particularly personal story.
One of the many exceptional year-end gifts the museum received in 2012 was an etching by American artist John Taylor Arms (1887-1953) from donor Charles F. Scott. Arms was a prolific etcher with a formal training in architecture. He is most known for his incredibly detailed images of city architecture in which he used sewing needles and a magnifying glass to achieve their intricacies. Beginning in New York City for his inspiration, he focused on notable landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge. After several years he began to look to European cities for older and more intricate structures.
Our newest Arms etching, Britford Church, came to the museum with an interesting story. Arms was known for doing demonstrations for classes to teach his techniques. In 1945 he visited Professor Wilma Keys’ class at the University of Connecticut. In an astonishing two hours and ten minutes he completed Britford Church from start to pulling the last print. He left one with each of the twelve students and gave the remaining prints to Professor Keys. When Keys retired in 1963, Professor Scott moved into her office at the university, where he came across several of the Britford Church prints. Many were severely damaged and therefore discarded, but the few remaining impressions were in great condition. When Scott contacted Keys to return the prints, she informed him that she had one and he could keep the rest. Scott donated one to the Philbrook Museum of Art, one to the Oklahoma State University Museum of Art, and retained the rest in his personal collection.
Britford Church is a great addition to our growing print collection and complements our three other works by Arms, which all fall into the category of European architectural studies. French Lace depicts the west portal of the main façade of the Church of Notre-Dame [you can read more about French Lace in a previous blog post], an untitled work shows a beautifully ornamented capital of a Corinthian column, and Stockholm shows a view of a waterway through columns. With the addition of an American architectural subject to these European ones, the OSUMA now has representation of another of Arms’ notable categories of work.
Over the next few weeks, we will continue to highlight recent gifts to the collection.