Coffee with a Curator: Annette Blaugrund
Working in the communications department allows me to interact with the wonderful people who bring together the exhibitions, programs, musical performance and special events of the museum. Many of those people work behind the scenes. Some work on flower arrangements for an event, while others may guide a group of children in an art-making activity. Curators are at the heart of every museum and although you may have seen a memorable exhibition they have organized, read their work in catalogues and labels next to paintings in the museum, or heard them give a talk, most of the work they do goes unseen.
Today’s post is the second in our Coffee with a Curator blog series, a peek behind-the-scenes at the lives of our curators here at the Brandywine River Museum of Art and curators who visit as a part of our programs. For this post we’re interviewing scholar Annette Blaugrund, former director of the National Academy of Design Museum, who will be visiting the Museum on March 15 for a fascinating presentation on George A. Weymouth’s creative process and career as an artist as a part of our current exhibition, The Way Back: The Paintings of George A. Weymouth. The lecture will include discussions about Weymouth’s early training and development as a realist, the influence of the Brandywine tradition, his long friendship with Andrew Wyeth, and Weymouth’s masterful use of media such as egg tempera and watercolor. Blaugrund will also discuss the way Weymouth’s art demonstrates his personal connection to the land and people of the Brandywine Valley and how it complements his important work as a conservationist and philanthropist. In Blaugrund’s thought-provoking essay for the exhibition’s catalogue she writes:
George A. Weymouth, a Renaissance man, was first and foremost an accomplished, internationally recognized artist and visionary. A true American original, he had a genuine appreciation for beauty and nature that is expressed not only in his landscapes of the Brandywine Valley that he helped to preserve, but also in his portraits. His candid love of people and the region in which he lived is conveyed in his work. His myriad interests are articulated in his paintings and drawings; his style of realism derived from earlier painting traditions and evolved over a career of nearly sixty years.
What was your first job?
My very first job as a teenager was as a salesperson at Macy’s department store on Herald Square, NYC. My first job as a curator was at the Brooklyn Museum where I was hired to catalogue their fabulous works on paper collection. I worked with their stunning collection of Homer and Sargent watercolors among other fabulous works and ended by writing the catalogue and curating an exhibition.
What aspect of your job might surprise someone who is not a curator?
Two things come to mind: fundraising for exhibitions and writing.
What part of your job do you find most satisfying?
Three things: research, writing, and conceiving ideas for exhibitions.
What inspired you to become an art historian/curator?
I always loved art and after an entirely different first career I decided to follow my dream. I went back to school, earned my pre-requisites and received my Ph.D. in art history from Columbia University.
How do you take your coffee?
With half and half and one Splenda, thanks.
Join Annette Blaugrund, former director of the National Academy of Design Museum, for her exciting lecture George A. "Frolic" Weymouth: Artist and Visionary March 15, 6 – 8 p.m., at the Brandywine River Museum of Art.