On Sunday, May 1st, the Dixon Gallery and Gardens unveils "Private Memphis," an exhibit of 90 works of art from the private collections of Memphians. Some of the lenders are familiar names — Hyde, Fogelman — and others requested anonymity. But all, says curator Dana Holland-Bieckert, were open to sharing.
Dixon director Kevin Sharp came up with the idea and enlisted Holland-Bieckert to see it through. Holland-Bieckert, who has worked at the Brooks Museum and as an art appraiser, was familiar with many of the private collections in the city. "We're a city collecting all over the place — from 17th-century still lifes to very contemporary pieces."
The works range from Mary Cassatt and William Merritt Chase to Frank Stella and Damien Hirst. The exhibit is arranged thematically. It begins with early figurative works from the French salon, moves on to landscapes from the Barbizon school and then on to still lifes, modernism, and so on.
Holland-Bieckert says that participants include both seasoned and new collectors to those who've inherited works that have rarely been seen. She also says that when she would check out the works that she was already familiar with, the owners would enthusiastically point out two or three more pieces, which ultimately went into the exhibit. That's how she came upon a pastel drawing by Odilon Redon. "That's in Memphis?" Sharp enthused. "Yes, it is!" she answered.
"Private Memphis," Dixon Gallery and Gardens, May 1st through June 5th. Opening lecture, Sunday, May 1st, at 2 p.m.