Exciting New Arrivals at the BMA

Fireworks #1 by Theodore Earl Butler, 1906.
“Fireworks #1” by Theodore Earl Butler, 1906.

On Sunday, the Baltimore Museum of Art unveils “New Arrivals: Gifts of Art for a New Century,” which displays more than 200 newly acquired works side by side with pieces from the museum’s existing collection. Spanning seven rooms, it showcases drawings, paintings, sculpture, textiles, furniture and more in thought-provoking and unconventional juxtapositions.

The exhibition is an outgrowth of the museum’s Campaign for Art, launched in the 1990s, which, over time, has brought in more than 4,000 new works, including pieces by Edgar Degas, Ellsworth Kelly (who died this past December), René Magritte, Auguste Rodin and Henri Matisse, the latter already well represented in the museum’s remarkable Cone Collection.

The new show pairs Matisse drawings with Magritte’s massive sculpture “Delusions of Grandeur”; 19th-century Japanese table screens depicting the birth of Buddha with Kelly’s minimalist primary colored panels. Elsewhere: African sculptures, Maryland-made quilts, Impressionistic paintings, rare antique furniture and more commingle unexpectedly and insightfully.

"Vince Peranio’s Home in Fells Point," Elinor B. Cahn, 1980-1981.
“Vince Peranio’s Home in Fells Point,” Elinor B. Cahn, 1980-1981.

In a separate, cozier space, “New Arrivals: Maryland Artists” features recently acquired local artwork, notably a photograph of an adolescent John Waters, Tom Miller’s vibrant watermelon rocking chair and a massive Raoul Middleman portrait of the late Baltimore Sun art critic John Dorsey.

“New Arrivals: Gifts of Art for a New Century” and “New Arrivals: Maryland Artists” run through May 8.

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