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Modern American Masters: Highlights from the Gill and Tommy LiPuma Collection

March 28 to July 18, 2004


The Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) is proud to host Modern American Masters: Highlights from the Gill and Tommy LiPuma Collection, an exhibition highlighting the private collection of Cleveland native and Grammy Award-winning record producer Tommy LiPuma. The exhibition will feature 24 selected works by leading American artists of the 20th century collected by LiPuma and his wife, Gill, since the 1970s. The exhibition will open March 28, remaining on view through July 18, 2004. This upcoming exhibition coincides with Tri-C JazzFest's 25th anniversary (April 14 to 25) which includes special performances saluting jazz legends Horace Silver and Tommy LiPuma. (left: Mr. and Mrs. LiPuma, photo courtesy of The Cleveland Museum of Art)

Reflecting the personal taste of a man who has a deep passion for experimental American modernism, the LiPuma collection features works spanning the years 1906­1946, concentrating in some depth on four artists, Alfred Maurer (American, 1868­1932), Marsden Hartley (American, 1877­1943), John Marin (American, 1870­1953) and Arnold Friedman (American, 1879­1946). This exhibition will include works by these artists as well as John Graham (American, 1996­1961), Patrick Henry Bruce (American, 1881­1936) and Arthur Dove (American, 1880­1946) (right: Charles Burchfield (American, 1893­1967), Study No1 for: Church Bells Ringing, Rainy Winter Night, 1917, pen and black ink, brush and black and gray wash and black and color crayon, 14-7/16 x 8-5/16 inches, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Norman O. Stone and Ella A. Stone Memorial Fund, 1953.429)

CMA Curator of Modern European Art, William H. Robinson, said, "The Gill and Tommy LiPuma collection features an exciting group of energetic and innovative paintings, including unexpected surprises by artists who have never received proper recognition for their contributions to the history of American modernism."

The exhibition will include three paintings by Alfred Maurer (American, 1868­1932), which LiPuma recently donated to the Museum -- Maurer was one of the first American artists to incorporate avant-garde styles into his own work. LiPuma demonstrates his independent spirit as a collector through superb selection of paintings by Arnold Friedman, an artist not commonly acknowledged in histories of American art. Friedman worked for the post office and did not start formal art training until the age of 32. Although he studied under Robert Henri (American, 1865­1929) at the Art Students League, Friedman developed his own, highly independent style that combines brilliant color with unusual textural effects. At times his paintings verge toward complete abstraction. (left: William Sommer (American, 1867­1949), Sketch [Jazz Band], ca. 1920, watercolor and graphite, 15-5/8 x 20-5/8 inches, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Norman O. Stone and Ella A. Stone Memorial Fund 1954.153.125)

Other highlights to this collection include paintings by Marsden Hartley (American, 1877­1943) who began studying art by attending classes at the Cleveland School of Art in 1893. A tormented loner, Hartley was one of the first American artists to discover avant-garde art on trips to Paris and Berlin. The LiPuma collection features three outstanding paintings by Hartley, including Lady's Gloves #2 (1937­1938) and Church at Corea (1941).

LiPuma, born in Cleveland to an immigrant Italian barber, developed a deep love for music at an early age. He started on piano as a young boy and then moved to tenor sax at age 12. His career began in the late 1950s as a saxophone player in a band. In 1960, while in his mid-20's, he became a record promoter for M.S. Distributors in Cleveland. A year later he moved to Los Angeles to do promotional work for Liberty Records, later transferring to New York. While still with Liberty, he moved to their music-publishing department. Since that time, Tommy LiPuma has become one of the music industry's most innovative and successful pop and jazz producers, working for A&M Records, Blue Thumb Records, Warner Brothers, Elektra and The GRP, later renamed The Verve Music Group, where he currently serves as chairman. His achievements include 24 gold and platinum records, 30 Grammy nominations and two Grammy Awards. He has produced albums by Miles Davis, Barbra Streisand, the O'Jay's, the Sandpipers, George Benson, Al Jarreau, Bill Evans, Natalie Cole, Anita Baker and Diana Krall. (right: Margaret Bourke-White (American, 1904­1971), Terminal Tower, Cleveland, 1928, gelatin silver print, 13-1/2 x 10-1/4 inches, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Gift of Max and Betty Ratner, 1985.76)

In conjunction with Modern American Masters, the Cleveland Museum of Art will host Burchfield to Schreckengost: Cleveland Art of the Jazz Age, March 28 to July 18, 2004. Cleveland artists from the early 20th century were among the first to embrace the new spirit of the Jazz Age, with its emphasis on innovation, experimentation and freedom of expression. Artists working in a wide variety of media accepted the challenge of finding new forms of expression equivalent to the realities of life in the world of fast cars, soaring skyscrapers and improvised music. Their lively, energetic styles seemed to mirror society's infatuation with youth, speed, motion pictures and airplanes. This exhibition features approximately 66 works (paintings, sculptures, photographs and decorative arts) produced between 1914 and 1941 by leading Cleveland artists of the period, including Charles Burchfield (American, 1893­1967), Margaret Bourke-White (American, 1904­1971), William Sommer (American, 1867­1949) and Viktor Schreckengost (American, b. 1906). (left: Viktor Schreckengost (American, b. 1906), New Yorker or The Jazz Bowl, ca. 1930, engobed and glazed ceramic, with sgraffito design, 11-1/4 x 16-1/4 inchces, The Cleveland Museum of Art, John L. Severance Fund, 2000.65)

There will be a public lecture on Thurs., April 22, 2004 at 5:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall for Modern American Masters: Highlights from the Gill and Tommy LiPuma Collection: a dialogue with Tommy LiPuma, collector and chairman of The Verve Music Group, Curator of Modern European Art, CMA William H. Robinson and Professor of Art History, Case Western Reserve University Henry Adams. (right: Rose Iron Works, Inc., Art Deco Screen, 1930, wrought iron and brass with silver and gold plating 61 x 61 inches, The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Rose Family Collection, 352.1996)

Admission to this exhibition and the Museum is free. The exhibition will also include a separate area featuring LiPuma's achievements from his four decades in the music industry-including album covers, gold records, personal photographs and one of his Grammy Awards.


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