Past Exhibitions

JULY 19 - October 12, 2014
Shared Vision: The Myron A. and Anne Jaffe Portenar Collection

Dr. and Mrs. Portenar selectively built their collection over forty years, filling the walls of their homes in New York and New Jersey. A Penn alumna, Anne Portenar’s passion and vision focused on 20th century masters, including Joan Miro, Robert Motherwell, Jacob Lawrence, Stuart Davis, Robert Rauschenberg, and Susan Rothenberg. Mexican modernism is represented in prints by Rufino Tamayo, Francisco Mora, and Jose Clemente Orozco. Photographs in the show are a virtual “Who’s Who”, including Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Curtis, Edward Steichen, Minor White, Berenice Abbott, Margaret Bourke-White, Edward Weston, and Walker Evans. Paintings and sculptures by Jennifer Bartlett, Tobi Kahn, and Louise Nevelson compliment the works on paper. Seen by the pubic for the first time, Shared Vision celebrates the couple’s lifelong passion for art. At Penn the Portenar collection will continue to give – as it is used for teaching, research, and new scholarship by faculty, students, artists, and curators.

Shared Vision: The Myron A. and Anne Jaffe Portenar Collection is the fourth in a series of exhibitions highlighting the University of Pennsylvania Art Collection and is sponsored jointly by the Office of the Curator and the Arthur Ross Gallery. The exhibition is co-curated by Lynn Marsden-Atlass, (University Curator and Director of the Arthur Ross Gallery), and Heather Moqtaderi, (University Art Collections Manager). Additional support is provided by Mrs. Arthur Ross, Mr. George Gillespie, the Arthur Ross Foundation, and the Donor’s Circle and Friends of the Arthur Ross Gallery.

Friday, September 12 at 5:00 PM
Gallery Talk: Lynn Marsden-Atlass and Heather Gibson Moqtaderi, Co-Curators

Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 5:30 PM
Concert by Dolce Suono Ensemble
Mimi Stillman, flute
Misoon Ghim, mezzo soprano
Gideon Whitehead, guitar
Composers: Debussy, Bach, Handel, Rodrigo, Villa-Lobos, Piazzolla

Wednesday, October 1, at 12:00 PM

For just 12 minutes on the 1st Wednesday of each month, enjoy hot topics and insider information on shows, with curators, artists, and Arthur Ross Gallery staff
Light refreshments will be served, all are welcomed!

Tuesday, October 7, at 6:00 PM
Lecture: “The Art of Collecting 20th-Century Prints”
Molly Steiger, Vice President, Senior Specialist, Prints, Sotheby’s, New York.
The lecture and reception are co-sponsored by Sotheby’s and the Arthur Ross Gallery.


APRIL 10 - July 6, 2014

On the Wings of Eagle and Raven: Tlingit and Haida Traditions opened on Friday, April 11 at the Arthur Ross Gallery, University of Pennsylvania. The Haida and Tlingit Native Americans have a rich visual tradition that includes highly stylized artifacts and totem representations. These Tlingit and Haida artifacts, executed in wood, shell, hair, pigment, sinew, feather, and spruce root, reveal the artists’ exceptional craftsmanship. This exhibition will feature 41 cultural and material objects that date from the late 19th century to the present. Under the tutelage of Dr. Larry Silver, Farquhar Professor in the Department of the History of Art and Dr. Robert St. George, Associate Professor in the Department of History, Penn undergraduate students were involved in curating the exhibition and writing the exhibition brochure. This curatorial seminar was taught at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and 33 exceptional Tlingit and Haida artifacts are lent from the Penn Museum’s collection.
The Haida and Tlingit are indigenous groups located in the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America. The main Haida territory is Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), while Tlingits occupy the coastal panhandle of Alaska. The use of animal totems is an important aspect of their traditions. Haida and Tlingit societies are organized into two matrilineal moieties: Ravens or Eagles. Within each moiety, the family lineage recognizes an animal to identify their clan. These elaborate clan crests appear on headdresses, bentwood boxes, and Chilkat blankets.
Since the 19th-century European colonization of the region, Haida and Tlingit homelands were threatened. Christian missionaries sought to reform the beliefs of these Native Americans, and potlatches (fundamental social and economic events) were outlawed. Consequently, their language and art forms weakened. Today there is a resurgence of Native American artists who assert the lasting presence of their cultures.

March 19 at 5 PM: Arthur Ross Gallery
Lucy Fowler Williams, PhD, Associate Curator and Jeremy A. Sabloff Keeper,
American Collections, Penn Museum
“Are Old Northwest Coast Objects Meaningful Today? Tlingit At.óow in 2014”    
Check locations of lectures
April 9 at 6:00 PM  Robert Davidson, laureate Haida artist
“Haida Traditions and Modern Innovations”
Held at the Kislak Center, 6th Floor, Van Pelt Library
April 16 at 6:00 PM Gary Wyatt, Director, Spirit Wrestler Gallery
“Northwest Coast Display in Ceremony and Gallery”
Held at the Kislak Center, 6th Floor, Van Pelt Library
April 22 at 6:00 PM Aaron Glass, Professor, Bard Graduate Center, New York City
“Tall Tales of the Totem Pole: An Intercultural Biography of the Northwest Coast Icon”
Held at the Kislak Center, 6th Floor, Van Pelt Library
April 23 at 5:00 PM William Wierzbowski, Keeper, American Section, University of Pennsylvania Museum of
Archaeology and Anthropology
“Stories from Storage:  Behind the Scenes Lives of Objects”
Held in the Arthur Ross Gallery

April 30 at 6:00 PM  Robin Wright, Professor and Director, Bill Holm Center for Study of Northwest Coast Art,
Burke Museum, University of Washington
"Charles and Isabella Edenshaw: Haida Master Artists"
Held at the Kislak Center, 6th Floor, Van Pelt Library


JANUARY 18 – MARCH 23, 2014

A new exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) will featured rare paintings by William H. Johnson, from the collection of the James E. Lewis Museum at Morgan State University. An essential figure in modern American art, William H. Johnson (1901-1970) was a virtuoso skilled in various media and techniques, and produced thousands of works over a career that spanned decades, continents and genres.
“William H. Johnson: An American Modern” will be on view at the Arthur Ross Gallery, University of Pennsylvania from January 18 – March 23, 2014 . It will then continue on a 10-city tour through 2014. The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Henry Luce Foundation and Morgan State University Foundation Inc.
The pivotal stages of Johnson’s career as a modernist painter are assembled in this group of rarely seen paintings. Every step of his artistic development is conveyed—from his post-impressionist and expressionist works of the 1920s, to vibrant vernacular paintings from the end of his career in the 1940s, in which Johnson articulated his distinctive, unforgettable vision as an American modern artist.
The paintings boast a remarkable history. In 1956 the Harmon Foundation, a nonprofit that helped foster awareness of African art from 1922 until its demise in 1967, took ownership of Johnson’s own collection of art—saving it all from being destroyed. When the foundation had to shut its doors, they donated more than 1,000 works to the Smithsonian’s National Collections of Fine Arts (now the Smithsonian American Art Museum). The terms of the agreement called for the Smithsonian to donate artworks to several black colleges and universities, including Morgan State University. The founding chair of Morgan’s art department, James E. Lewis, was first to carefully select these works for his museum’s permanent collection.
The exhibition is complemented by an illustrated companion book William H. Johnson: An American Modern (University of Washington Press, 2011) with essays by Richard J. Powell, Leslie King Hammond and others. The book features some of the world’s premier scholars of Johnson and African American art history re-examining the artist and presenting him in new, fresh ways.

All events are Free and open to the public
Friday, January 17, 4:00 PM
Gallery Tour, Dejáy B. Duckett Associate Director and Associate Curator, Arthur Ross Gallery
Friday, January 17, 5:30 PM Opening Reception, jazz performance and the world
premier of the William H. Johnson Suite composed and performed by Dr. Guthrie Ramsey and MusiQology. Co-sponsored by the Center for Africana Studies.
Thursday, January 30, 5:30 PM Dr. Mark Anthony Neal, Duke University and
Dr. Guthrie P. Ramsey, University of Pennsylvania celebrate their new books Looking for Leroy: Illegible Black Masculinities and The Amazing Bud Powell: Black Genius, Jazz History and The Challenge of Bebop. They will be in conversation with eminent cultural critic Greg Tate.
Wednesday, February 12, 5:30 PM
Free concert by Mimi Stillman and the Dolce Suono Ensemble.
Thursday, February 13, 6:30-9:30 PM Valentine’s Throwback Thursday:
An evening of food, drink, jazz, and swing dancing
Exclusively for Penn students.
Tuesday, March 4, 5:30 PM Abdi Farah, Artist Talk Penn Alumnus and Winner of the first season of Bravo Network’s “Work of Art: Next Great Artist.”
Friday, March 21, 2014, 5:30 PM
Lecture, “William H. Johnson: Modernist Master of New World Realities”
Dr. Leslie King Hammond, Graduate Dean Emerita & Founding Director, Center for Race and Culture Maryland Institute College of Art.


April 17 – DECEMBER 22, 2013

This exhibition of 20 exceptional bronzes has been organized and is made possible with the assistance of the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation. The Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation has organized more than 150 exhibitions on Rodin that have been seen by more than ten million people in Australia, Canada, Japan, and the United States. More than 500 works from the Cantor Collection have been given to 90 museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stamford University, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


Friday, September 6, 2013 at 5:00 p.m.
Gallery Talk by Judith Sobol

Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at 5:00 p.m.
Concert by Dolce Suono Ensemble
Mimi Stillman, flute

Wednesday, October 16 at 5:00 p.m.
Film Screening of Camille Claudel

Friday, November 8, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Symposium on Auguste Rodin
Call 215-898-3617 for more information.

April 19 – July 28, 2013

In celebration of the Arthur Ross Gallery’s 30th Anniversary,La Tauromaquia: Carnicero, Goya, and Picasso presents 70 master prints collected by the Arthur Ross Foundation which explore the long-revered tradition of the Spanish bullfight by featuring the works of three extraordinary artists – Carnicero, Goya and Picasso who interpreted this popular entertainment in very different ways. This is the first time all 70 prints are on display in a single exhibition.

In the 18th century, the bullfight was both a sport and an entertainment in Spain, democratically beloved from royalty to the lower classes. A skilled matador often became a famed national hero, and his fighting in the corrida was considered a fully developed art form. As Ernest Hemingway wrote: “Bullfighting is the only art in which the artist is in danger of death and in which the degree of brilliance in the performance is left to the fighter’s honor.”

Antonio Carnicero’s (1748-1814) seven etchings and title sheet from Colleción de las principals suertes de una corrida de toros (Collection of the main actions in a bullfight),executed in 1790, illustrate the highly ritualized stages of the bullfight. In 1816, at the age of 70, Francisco Goya published the first edition of 33 prints on La Tauromaquia in Madrid. His daring compositions and dramatic chiaroscuro accentuate the drama that unfolds in the ring.  Several decades later, Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), the brilliant 20th-century artist, turned to bullfighting for his subject matter.  In a single afternoon in 1957 he completed 26 plates for La Tauromaquia, o arte de torear, Pepe Illo’s treatise, for the Ediciones La Cometa specialist collection.

La Tauromaquia: Carnicero, Goya and Picasso is the culmination of exhibitions celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Arthur Ross Gallery. The Gallery was the brainchild of Penn President Emeritus Mr. Martin Meyerson and Mr. Arthur Ross. In 1983, they established the Arthur Ross Gallery on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania for the benefit of the Philadelphia and University communities. It has since expanded to a much broader focus, embracing an eclectic program of changing exhibitions in all fields of the visual arts and cultural artifacts from around the world.

Related Event:  Symposium: La Tauromaquia: Carnicerco, Goya, and Picasso
Friday, April 19 from 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Speakers include:
Janis A. Tomlinson, Director of University Museums, University of Delaware
Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, Professor, Department of the History of Art, University of Pennsylvania
Jock Reynolds, Director, Yale University Art Gallery


February 9 - April 7, 2013

Creating: Quilts of the Lakota presents over twenty eye-dazzling 20th and 21st century quilts from the Pine Ridge Heritage Center and Indian Reservation in South Dakota. This is the first time most of these quilts are exhibited publicly and published. Mary Bordeaux, a member of the Lakota tribe, curated this exhibition with the Arthur Ross Gallery. "Making items for family and the community is a large part of the Lakota's way of life," notes Bordeaux. In addition, 19th-century Lakota artifacts, such as moccasins, a cradleboard, and parfleche boxes, have been lent by the Penn Museum to provide a context for Native sewing traditions prior to the introduction of quilting at Pine Ridge.


February 9 at 10:15 AM: Gallery Talk with curator Mary Bordeaux, followed at 11:00am by Artist Talk with Lakota quilter Janyce Trask
February 22 at 7:30PM: World Premier Reading of Miracle Play by Sheldon Wolf
March 13 at 5:00pm: Gallery Talk with Bill Wierzbowski, Associate Keeper, American Section, Penn Museum

November 9, 2012 – January 27, 2013

This exhibition mines the extensive photography holdings in the University of Pennsylvania’s Art Collection and Gabriel Martinez, Senior Lecturer in Penn’s School of Design is guest Curator. Since September 2011, Martinez has surveyed and documented every photograph in the University collection, along with Heather Gibson, Collections Manager.

To mix things up, Martinez has invited his eight photography colleagues (who are also working artists) in the Fine Arts Department, School of Design, to curate a few photos from their distinct point of view. 9 Perspectives will bring the University’s photography collection into an entirely new focus.


November 13 at 5:30pm: Artist Talk with Neal Slavin
November 27 at 5:30pm: Artist Talk with Larry Fink
December 7 at 5:00pm: Screening of the film The Fighting Lady


August 18 – October 28, 2012

California Impressionism: Masters of Light presents thirty paintings that reveal the exceptional beauty and rugged California coastline from. While some of these late 19th- and early 20th-century artists are renowned, others remain unknown east of the Mississippi.

When the first Impressionist exhibition was held in Paris in 1874, French critics derided it as radical art. But by 1886 Americans could purchase Impressionist paintings at the
Durand-Ruel Gallery in New York. American artists embraced the French movement’s use of light, color, and optics and personally traveled to Paris to study and work en plein air, taking their easels outside, working directly after nature.

On loan from the Irvine Museum, works by Franz Bischoff, Colin Campbell Cooper, Anna Hills, Granville Redmond, and Guy Rose are included in the exhibition.


September 22 & 23: Plein Air Painting Competition at the Morris Arboretum and on College Green
October 13 at 5:30pm: Artist Talk with André Dombrowski, Impressionism: Sensation and Translation
October 27 at 11:15am: Classes without Quizzes - Masters of Light: French and California Impressionism with André Dombrowski, Assistant Professor, Department of the History of Art and James Irvine Swinden, Museum President, The Irvine Museum. Moderated by Lynn Marsden-Atlass, Director, Arthur Ross Gallery and University Curator


April 7 – July 29, 2012
The exhibition Samba Sessão will introduce viewers to the visual culture of African-descended people living in Brazil, the world’s fifth-largest country and a seldom exhibited and little studied area of Latin American art.  Formerly home to the largest concentration of African slaves in the Americas and the longest lasting slave system in the Western Hemisphere, it has a rich artistic tradition. Collected in the late-1990s by John P. Axelrod and later acquired by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the fifteen paintings and four sculptures that form the core of the exhibition were all made during the twentieth century and draw on different aspects of Afro-Brazilian life, from working in the fields to religious rituals and syncretic belief systems born from the experience of New World enslavement. An examination of Brazilian film and television from the 1950s to the present will also be incorporated in this exhibition.

This exhibition is being organized in cooperation with students in the Halpern-Rogath Curatorial Seminar supported by the Department of the History of Art and the Arthur Ross Gallery. The seminar is being taught by professors Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw and Tamara J. Walker.


January 27 – March 25, 2012
In Material: Fiber 2012
In Material features four artists who bring imagination and innovation to the field of fiber art. Japanese-born artist Lucy Arai apprenticed in the practice of sashiko, a decorative stitching process which she re invigorates and applies to handmade paper and mixed media. Sonya Clark uses thread, plastic combs, human hair, and other found objects to create wall hangings inspired by her African and American ancestry. Philadelphia-based Mi-Kyoung Lee, has had her woven backdrops incorporated in theater productions around the globe. Cynthia Schira digitally connects art and language in her elaborately patterned Jacquard cloths, drawing inspiration from ciphers, musical notes, and geometric patterns.
Click here to read ENGL-111 students' poems inspired by this exhibit.
November 18, 2011 - January 15, 2012
Double Take: Series, Multiples, and Prints from the University of Pennsylvania Collection
The exhibition features 58 prints, photographs, pastels, and sculptures drawn from the University of Pennsylvania's diverse art collection, the second in a series of collaborative exhibitions by the University's Office of the Curator and the Arthur Ross Gallery. The exhibition explores issues of serialism and artistic process. The earliest works represented are Albrecht Dürer's Engraved Passion Series (1508-13) and two William Hogarth engravings from A Rake's Progress, 1735.
August 13 – November 6, 2011
An American Odyssey: The Warner Collection of American Art
This travelling exhibition from Tuscaloosa, Alabama features exceptional paintings from three centuries of American art drawn from the personal collection of Jonathan "Jack" Warner and his wife Susan Austin Warner and the collection of The Warner Foundation. The paintings chronicle the American experience from 1799 to 1971 in portraiture, historical, genre, still life and landscape.
April 8 – July 24, 2011
Lauren Greenfield's Girl Culture
Girl Culture is a wide-ranging and profound documentation of the lives of American girls and young women. Greenfield’s installation presents over 50 color photographs of girls and young women from a range of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds across the United States. The images in this show take an unflinching look at contemporary life for girls, addressing such topics as sexuality, body image, and weight loss culture.
January 21 - April 3, 2011
Post-Mao Dreaming: Contemporary Chinese Art
Post-Mao Dreaming: Chinese Contemporary Art presents over thirty prints, drawings, photographs and paintings that offer a glimpse of the post-Cultural Revolution era in China following Mao Zedong’s death, when Chinese artists began to throw off the restrictions of Maoist Communism (1949-1979) and to reclaim their individuality.
November 5 – January 9, 2011
The Dogon: Photographs by Stuart Franklin
Illustrating issues of water and sustainability in the Dogon region of Mali, these fifteen limited edition photographs were taken by Stuart Franklin on behalf of the Voss Foundation in 2009. Providing a view of the daily impact of the global water crisis, this exhibition was organized in conjunction with The University of Pennsylvania’s theme year of Water.
August 28 – October 31, 2010
Naked: The University Collection Unveiled
Naked: the University Collection Unveiled features paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints and photographs drawn from the University of Pennsylvania’s diverse and remarkable art collection. This inaugural collaboration between the University’s Office of the Curator and the Arthur Ross Gallery draws attention to the historic evolution of the nude from the 16th century to the present.
April 10 - June 27, 2010
Laughing Matters: Soviet Propaganda In Kruschchev's Thaw, 1956-1964
This exhibition offers a unique and thematically coherent sample of propaganda posters from the "Thaw," a period of post-Stalinist liberalization during Nikita Khrushchev’s ascendancy (1956-1964). The exhibition illuminates the changes in political rhetoric and iconography at a time when the Soviet Union encouraged an unprecedented "warming-up" in all social and cultural spheres and struggled to define a new imagery of Soviet collective purpose.
January 27 - March 21 , 2010
Silence Dogood: An Installation by Miler Lagos
Silence Dogood on Miler Lagos' website
As part of the citywide celebration, Philagrafika 2010, the Arthur Ross Gallery will present a site-specific installation by Miler Lagos, a renowned Columbian contemporary artist. Lagos is a multi media artist with an interest in relating different socioeconomic environments-urban and popular-and re-appropriating the different visual ad social phenomena that emerge in each context. He uses a variety of modern materials: plastics, steel, cement and recycled paper.
October 16 - December 24, 2009
Jacob Lawrence and the Urban Experience: Selected Prints 1963-2000
A renowned 20th-century African-American painter/printmaker, Lawrence's self-defined style of "dynamic cubism" was primarily influenced by his life growing up in Harlem. The New York Times (June 9, 2000) called Lawrence "one of America's leading figurative painters" and "among the most impassioned visual chroniclers of the African American experience."
July 7, 2009 - October 11, 2009
West Philadelphia: Building a Community
This exhibition documents the neighborhood's 19th-century architectural and urban development while it features highlights of today's dynamic, multicultural community. The earliest works in the exhibition include watercolors by self-taught Scottish immigrant, David J. Kennedy. Kennedy's watercolors, drawn from the collection of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, depict West Philadelphia houses, institutions, and streets between 1836-1898. City land maps, early photographs, and post cards also reveal the neighborhood's rapid expansion and growth then.
April 11 - June 14 , 2009
Thirteen Miles from Paradise Paintings by John Moore
This exhibition of industrial landscape paintings by John Moore executed over the last 3 decades focuses on sites from Conneaut, Ohio to Waterville, Maine, including Coatesville, PA, a locale that specifically inspired American Modernists such as Charles Demuth and Charles Sheeler. Moore has revisited places he painted 20 years ago, and his most recent paintings reveal changes that have occurred. JoMoore’s paintings resemble places where he grew up. While the images appear immediately recognizable, the paintings are in fact partial composites based on site specifics, formal concerns and oral history as told by individuals with ties to the sites.

Download this PDF for a comprehensive list of the Arthur Ross Gallery's past exhibitions.