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A Collection of Collections: Alumni Art Collectors Lend Works for Exhibition

Robert Rauschenberg, Patch (Tracks), 1976
Robert Rauschenberg, Patch (Tracks), 1976, From the Collection of Dan McLawhorn '70 (Photography: David Ramsey)

There are two things you might not know about Davidson College. One: the college possesses a collection of more than 3,100 works of art by artists such as Jim Dine, Rembrandt, Delacroix, Kiki Smith and Bruegel. Two: many Davidson alumni and families collect art and generously loan or promise works to Davidson.

Beginning today, the public will have the opportunity to see an exhibition of 49 works loaned to Davidson by nearly 20 families from their personal art collections. The exhibition, Collected: Works in Alumni Art Collections, is on view through Aug. 30, with an opening reception from 3:30-5 p.m., Friday, June 5.

"This exhibition has been a great way to highlight some major art collectors within our Davidson community," said Director/Curator of the Van Every/Smith Galleries Lia Newman. "Through the process of organizing the exhibition, we have had numerous opportunities to visit or talk with alumni and learn more about the personal motivations behind their collections."

As Newman expected, the exhibition has turned out to be quite diverse. "Spanning several centuries and presenting works in different styles and techniques, the exhibition reflects the varied interests of our alumni," she said.

Works in the exhibition range from ceramic equestrian figures of the Inland Niger Delta style in Mali to Willem de Kooning's painting of Leda and the Swan.

A few alumni even loaned works created by fellow alumni and professors. Paul Edward Coggins '85 loaned a painting by artist John Borden Evans '79 and Paul Schulz '82 loaned two works by Professor Emeritus Herb Jackson. Elijah Gowin '90 is represented in the collection as both a collector and an artist. He said, "I think collecting is not only a good thing financially for artists, but also helps to sustain an ecosystem of creativity and document creative lives."