The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

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Important Update

September 17, 1967 to December 3, 1967 |

Selections from the Collection of Susan Morse Hilles

Since the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art opened in October 1964, its exhibitions have been dedicated to the more recent developments in today's visual arts. We have always tried to maintain the highest standard of excellence in our exhibitions. Therefore, we are delighted to present these outstanding selections from the collection of Susan Morse Hilles – a collection consistently rich in its sensitivity and good taste.

Most of the works are from the past decade. Many of the artists are now well-known, but were not when first acquired. Susan Morse Hilles adventurously collected new media and forms before they received status. She was able to encourage many painters and sculptors to continue and develop their own personal idioms. Her sculpture collection is a most exhilarating one.

Statement by Susan Morse Hilles, September 1967

A potent influence upon art collections is the space available for exhibition. A few lucky people have museums in which to display their collections. Storage racks are the more general solution to a surplus of works of art. Richard Brown Baker has given up part of his bedroom to storage rack. Philip Johnson whisks his visitors around his two circular storage panel-wheels. There is a third solution to dead storage, either hang or display everything or loan some out temporarily. For those collectors who believe in showing all their collections, a moment of saturation arrives when there is no more room. What influence this stalemate situation (no extra nail available) produces is predictable. A collector will stop enlarging his collection or he will shift the field of interest. Perhaps he will move from purchasing large paintings to buying smaller ones. Or he might switch his interest from painting to sculpture. After all you can take sculpture with you if you move to a smaller house or apartment. Few people care to buy a larger house in order to accommodate a growing collection.

A native New Yorker's collection will have a different character from an out-of-towner's. A commuter from the more isolated reaches of Connecticut really has to work at seeing art. He must either be a good driver to battle the traffic or impervious to the dirt, inconvenience, and cigarette smoke inherent in railroad travel. Of course, you can always read on a train, but can you think? An out-of-town collector must schedule his New York visit within a three weeks cycle in order to "catch" the changing art shows. Keeping up with the "art scene" is hard work.

Is the formation of an art collection governed by chance? Does the purchase of sculpture and painting depend upon the convenience of reaching certain galleries easily instead of climbing flights of stairs in frustration against the slow arrival of archaic elevators? Does the geographic location of galleries influences a collector in what shows he sees? A way to beat the geographic problem is to hire a taxi for several hours. If you can afford art, you can afford taxis! Clever planning of route and the promise of a liberal tip will produce time to see numerous exhibitions. An added advantage is the built-In escape clause: "The taxi is waiting!"

In reality, an art collection is formed from the knowledge and experience of dealers. They have discovered the talented artists. They have sifted the gold from the dross in their choice of artist's work to exhibit. A good "clutch" of dealers is essential to variety in a collection. The more diverse the art fare the more avoid grown he appetite. Confusion can overwhelm a neophyte. But perseverance in looking at exhibitions, as well as a shrinking pocketbook, will eventually produce a selective eye.

Artists: Josef Albers, Richard Anuszkiewicz, Kenneth Armitage, Olle Baertling, James Brooks, Reg Butler, Alexander Calder, John Chamberlain, William Congdon, Pietro Consagra, Edward Corbett, Nassos Daphnis, Allan D’Arcangelo, Dorothy Dehner, Richard Diebenkorn, Enrico Donati, Thomas Downing, Robert Engman, Jimmy Ernst, Sorel Etrog, Claire Falkenstein, Paul Feeley, Herbert Ferber, Helen Frankenthaler, Gerald D. Garston, Thomas George, Ilse Getz, Alberto Giacometti, Émile Gilioli, Julio González, Adolph Gottlieb, Roy Gussow, Hans Hartung, Stanley William Hayter, John Heliker, Edward Higgins, Hans Hofmann, Will Horwitt, Ralph Humphrey, Lester Johnson, John Kacere, György Kepes, Lyman Kipp, Bill Komodore, Joseph Konzal, Ibram Lassaw, Mon Levinson, Seymour Lipton, Conrad Marca-Relli, Marisol, Georges Mathieu, Kyle Morris, Isamu Noguchi, Kenzo Okada, Alfonso Ossorio, Raymond Parker, Henry C. Pearson, Arnaldo Pomodoro, Richard Pousette-Dart, Robert Rauschenberg, Ad Reinhardt, José de Rivera, George Rickey, Bernard Rosenthal, David Smith, Francisco Sobrino, Hyde Solomon, Pierre Soulages, Hedda Sterne, Wayne Thiebaud, Victor Vasarely, Esteban Vicente, Tom Wesselmann, Paul Wonner, Jack Youngerman, Larry Zox