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A Mirror to the World: Two Centuries of Collecting at Holy Cross

Nathan Howard ’25

News Editor

Since its opening in 1983, the Iris And B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery has offered the Holy Cross community access to historical and contemporary exhibitions in order to strengthen the liberal arts experience of the college. Beginning on January 24, 2022, the Iris And B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery is displaying a special exhibition titled: “A Mirror to the World: Two Centuries of Collecting at Holy Cross.” This exhibition will present works of art acquired by Holy Cross since its founding with the goal of honoring the College’s collections thus far.

Later this year, Holy Cross will open the Prior Performing Arts Center, which has been under construction since the project launched in July 2019. The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery is planning to relocate to Prior Performing Arts Center once construction is completed. The current exhibition is meant to serve as a preparation for the art gallery’s future permanent collection which will be displayed in the Center for Performing Arts. 

Meredith Fluke, director of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery, has provided the Holy Cross community with a question to represent the mission of the exhibition: “What is an art collection for Holy Cross, what is its purpose, and how do we plan for its future?” As the current exhibition is an homage to the unique collections acquired by Holy Cross throughout the college’s history, the works of art selected have all been donated by alumni, faculty, or friends of the institution. Because of this, each work has a special meaning to Holy Cross and its community.

The Cantor Art Gallery is highlighting multiple bronze sculptures by French artist, Auguste Rodin, who is often credited with founding modern sculpture. These pieces were donated to Holy Cross by Iris and Bernard Gerlad Cantor throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Along with these sculptures, the Cantors donated further to the College’s collection which ultimately led to the formation of the Cantor Art Gallery in their names. Because of their generous history with Holy Cross, the current exhibition will proudly display their donated works as they are central to the College’s art collections. 

Other works presented in the exhibition is Figure of a Woman Battling a Double-Headed Snake, by Georges Barbier, an early 20th century French artist famous for his book and fashion illustrations, Contemplation, by Henry Caro-Delaville, a French painter known for his portraits and figure paintings, Anna Vaughan Hyatt at work on a sketch model for her Jeanne d’Arc, by Marion Boyd Allen, an American painter known for both her portraits and landscapes, as well as  a figure study by Auguste Rodin. These are just a few of the many pieces that can be seen in the exhibition throughout the month of February. A number of virtual and in-person events will also take place during the exhibition. This includes Conserving Holy Cross Collections, a Zoom-meeting that will be held on Thursday, February 9, at 4:30 pm, Two Centuries of Collecting for Teaching, an in-person Gallery Talk that will be held on Wednesday, February 16, starting at 12:15 pm, and Music in the Gallery, an in-person event taking place on Friday, February 18, starting at 12:30 pm. The exhibition is currently open to the Holy Cross community and will remain open until February 20, 2022.

Graphic by Cantor Art Gallery

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