A message from our Friend’s President Maria Eggemeyer
What does 2021 hold for Friends?
In 2020 we had to stretch our imagination, adapt, and learn to navigate the virtual world to stay connected to our members and the community in order to strengthen our mission of supporting, enhancing, and sustaining the collection, programs, and influence of the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
We’ve done this through virtual lectures that have drawn wide audiences from as far as India, Ecuador, and Argentina, curator-led virtual tours, virtual book-clubs, and more. Best of all, most of these events are recorded—expanding their reach beyond a specific date and time.
I’m happy to report that 2021 will bring the return of Art in Bloom, the Friends festive floral event and fundraiser! Stay tuned for all of the exciting plans. It’s sure to be great fun with no trouble parking in the virtual world. 2021 will also be a year for Friends to continue to create worthwhile events and programs and come together in a variety of venues, both virtual and in-person, post-vaccine.
Most of all, Friends can look forward to learning and growing while preparing the 2022 celebration for this great organization’s hundred-year-long history of supporting Mia. Happy New Year!
“Beyond Dürer: Becoming a Museum Director” is our first lecture of 2021
Dr. Katherine (Katie) Luber became the new director of Mia just one year ago in January. Luber, who goes by “Katie”, will share her journey to becoming a museum director. It began at Bryn Mawr with her Ph.D. dissertation on Albrecht Dürer’s paintings, and continued with a wide range of experiences, including work at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and teaching at the University of Texas Austin, followed by an M.B.A. at Johns Hopkins University. Along the way, she founded and managed The Seasoned Palette, a successful start-up company that she ultimately sold before becoming the director of the San Antonio Museum in Texas.
Katie’s determination and creative thinking allowed the San Antonio Museum of Art to substantially increase its membership and community reach, while also expanding its collection and breadth of exhibitions. That experience will be valuable as Mia continues to grow as an art museum in which everyone can learn about diverse cultures as well as see and engage with their own history. A fun fact about Katie’s own history is that although she is a 5th generation Texan on her father’s side, her great, great grandmother on her mother’s side emigrated from Norway and ended up in Minnesota.
Katie has noted, “Throughout my career, I have demonstrated the importance and power of art to impact people and communities.” Her first year has been a baptism by fire with the pandemic and all the urban unrest in the community. She has spent the past year discovering the colorful mosaic of the Twin Cities communities. Katie finds it sad that the country is so divided and that there aren’t many places where we can have conversations. She sees the museum as one of those places to address those much-needed topics.
David Wilson, President of Mia’s board described Katie as having “an authentic, passionate vision for how art can engage, educate, and delight us all.” Please join us as we kick off a fresh new year! “Zoom in” on January 14th to learn more about Albrecht Dürer, Katie Luber’s journey, and her vision for Mia.
Reserve your tickets online, or by calling 612-870-3000.
Join us for a curator-led tour of this special exhibition
We’re delighted to have a Friends-favorite—Thomas Rassieur, John E. Andrus III Curator of Prints and Drawings and Prints and Drawings Department Head—lead our first Friends Only tour of 2021!
Mr. Rassieur came to Mia in 2009 from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston where he was Curator of Prints and Drawings. A respected scholar of Rembrandt, Thomas has published numerous writings on Rembrandt, German Renaissance prints, and Richard Holzschuh who is a talented storybook illustrator. Thomas has also curated or co-curated thirty exhibitions, most prominently those showcasing Rembrandt. While at Mia, he curated “Rembrandt in America” and “Martin Luther: Art and the Reformation.”
This Zoom presentation will be limited to 15 to 18 participants. He is an animated and inspiring lecturer so make your reservation soon by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
This event will be taped for those who are unable to attend the Jan. 6th Zoom tour.
This event is a Friends Only Event. Join the Friends today and attend the event!
January Friends Book Club will enjoy, “The Housekeeper and the Professor” by Yoko Ogawa. This contemporary novel revolves around a young single mother (the Housekeeper) who, along with her son, comes to care for the elderly and amnesiac Professor and end up learning much about life and mathematics in the process.
The 2021 book list for the remaining season include:
February – Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks
March – Gun Island: A Novel by Amitav Ghosh
April -Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
May – The Library Book by Susan Orlean
June – Less: A Novel by Andrew Sean Greer
If you haven’t joined the Book Club, please consider doing so. Not only do we discuss the chosen book, but we also enjoy a Docent-led guide through the Mia artwork, which resonates with the books’ themes. To join, contact the Friends office to be added to the official list. The discussions are conducted on Zoom and are limited to 18.
First in a series previewing the 2022 Friends Centennial
In just one year, Friends will be celebrating its centennial. My committee and I have been busy for well over a year producing a book due out at the beginning of January 2022, documenting our extensive history. In our research, we continue to discover stories about the selfless, intelligent, accomplished, and entertaining women leading the way for Friends. Not all of this amazing information can fit into our book so we thought instead, we’d bring you the tales of these legendary people in this column. Smile, laugh, be astonished, and be proud of women strongly connected to our history.
Carolyn McKnight Christian, 1875-1964
When the much-admired Ethel Morrison Van Derlip died at an early age in 1921, 45 of her fellow community art supporters and friends felt Van Derlip’s legacy needed recognition. On January 20th, 1922, these women officially formed Friends of the Institute in her honor. With Carolyn McKnight Christian herself being a strong patron in the neighborhood and art supporter within Minneapolis, she was selected to become the first president of this cherished organization.
Carolyn was born in Colorado in 1875 to Sumner T. McKnight and Eugenie Manville. Mr. McKnight was in the real estate business as well as the lumber business. His vocation took the family across the Midwest and the West Coast, moving Carolyn 11 times as a child. Eventually, the family settled at 2200 Park Avenue in Minneapolis.
In 1897, Carolyn wed George Chase Christian. Mr. Christian was the son of Leonora Hall and George H. Christian. George H. and Leonora had lost their oldest son Henry to tuberculosis at the age of 27. Perhaps because of this, Leonora devoted much of her time to supporting the fight against this devasting disease. In fact, they funded treatment camps and hospitals for patients with tuberculosis, engaging in a special interest for afflicted children. George H. Christian, himself involved in the Minneapolis flour milling industry, founded the Citizen’s Aid Society with a $1 million endowment in 1916, soon after his wife Leonora passed away. It was included in the articles of incorporation that patients with TB be treated. Later this Citizen Aid Society developed into the United Way.
In 1917, Carolyn along with her husband George began construction of a three-story mansion at 2303 Third Avenue. The architect, Edwin Hewitt, already famously known in the Twin Cities, designed a home with a mixture of late English Gothic and Renaissance design. In 1919, before the house was completed, George passed away and this left Carolyn with the task of putting the finishing touches on the grand home.
Carolyn lived in the home, with her foster children who she met while traveling with her husband in Paris, until 1957. They had no children of their own but Carolyn also spent a great deal of time with her seven nieces and nephews. She maintained the role of the family matriarch and was often called, “Nana.” Often the home was filled with music, and many concerts were hosted in the fireplace room designed for this purpose. Carolyn’s golden retriever named Dennis would “dance” with Carolyn around the living and dining rooms, adding to the festivities. One of Carolyn’s foster daughters recalled perching at the top of the grand staircase, hearing the doorman announcing the guests for the evenings’ social gatherings. Aside from enjoying entertaining, Carolyn continued to demonstrate her passion for the welfare of the community in countless ways.
Before Carolyn’s death in 1964 at the age of 89, it was her wish to donate her home to the Minneapolis Institute of Art in 1957. Shortly afterward, the home was purchased by the Hennepin History Museum to house an increasing collection of the county’s artifacts. Jack Kabrud, museum curator has mentioned a lingering presence exists in the museum. It is unknown whether or not this is from the historic museum collection or previous inhabitants of the home. Past volunteers and staff of the museum have “experienced pockets of strong, unexplainable scents, and many people—especially women—have gotten a strange, unsettling sensation at the top of the main staircase.”
No doubt, Friends feel the presence of Carolyn Christian when continuing its passion for serving the community and the mission of the museum. Her legacy as Friends’ first leader has set an extraordinary example of generosity and the spirit of giving.
Friends Centennial History Publication Authors
Pamela Friedland Linda Goldenberg Mary Merrick Suzanne Payne Connie Sommers
I had a successful 38-year career with NSP/Xcel Energy, where I attained the position of Managing Director, Corporate Risk Management. Later in my career, I realized that I needed to plan for life after work so, I joined the Friends and plunged into duplicate bridge. It is definitely working. Sadly, my husband Ron died in 2019. He loved my Mia arts activities because he saw that it was a lot of fun and no work!
How long have you been a Friend?
That information is lost in the mists of time, maybe 30 years? I joined the Decorative Arts Council, then was recruited onto the Friends Board where I eventually held almost every position except for President and Hospitality, which are the hard ones! The Programs and Treasurer positions were my favorites. I also served on many AIB Committees, serving as Co-chair in 2010 and Honorary Chair in 2018.
What’s the most memorable Friends Lecture or event you’ve attended?
David Garrard Lowe, The Glamour of Art Deco New York! David’s stunning 2012 lecture earned a standing ovation from the audience, which I have never seen happen before or since. Simon Schama was a close second.
How about a favorite artwork?
How about a favorite child? I could never choose a favorite! Nevertheless, what comes to mind when pondering this question is the ancient Yoruba Shrine Head. She evokes serenity, strength, and beauty.
Finish the sentence: I love being a Friend because __________ .
Thanks to the Friends, I have made strong, life-long friendships with whom I’ve traveled. I have learned many things in many ways that have enhanced my life, and all while doing a little good for art and my community.
What do you wish everyone knew about Mia?
Mia is a place that holds joyful surprises around every corner no matter how much or how little you know about art.
How are you adjusting to our current circumstances?
I am not a Zoom virtuoso, but I’m grateful that it allows me to attend Friends and VocalEssence board and committee meetings. I play BBO bridge (and some in-person bridge, safely of course). The Frick Cocktails with the Curator is a delight. And of course, wine helps!
The menu includes a Strawberry, Feta, Spinach Side Salad served with red onions, pecans, and poppy seed dressing, Sundried Tomato Stuffed Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper Vodka Sauce served with mashed potatoes and roasted veggies, followed by Mini Strawberry/Rhubarb Crisp topped with Chantilly cream (Gluten Free & Vegan). A vegan option of Trottole Pasta topped with roasted veggies and marinara will be available; please request when making your reservation.
The cost is $30 including tax and gratuities. All reservations MUST be received by Thursday, February 6, by 4 p.m. Tickets are available through the link below or by calling 612.870.6323.
This event is a Friends Only Event. Join the Friends today and attend the event!
Do you remember when we were stocking up on canned tuna and bottled water, preparing for a potential blackout at the beginning of the new millennium? Here we are in 2020, preparing for the hundredth birthday celebration of the Friends organization.
A small group of art-loving friends came together to form the Friends of the Institute of the Minneapolis Institute of Art in 1922. Right away the Friends began to raise funds to support Mia. In 1924, funds were given to furnish the Providence parlour. Portrait of Marcy Olney (1749 – 1780?) by eighteenth century artist Jeremiah Theus was acquired, and the following year funds were provided to complete nine new second floor galleries. And the list goes on. Friends members can be proud to be part of an organization that continues to fulfill its mission to support, enhance, and sustain the collections and programs of Mia.
To properly celebrate one hundred fabulous years, the Friends organization is supporting the acquisition of Still Life with Dahlias, Zinnias, Hollyhocks and Plums by Eugène Delacroix. His artwork is a magnificent and significant addition to Mia’s art collection. The guests were awestruck when the painting was first unveiled at the preview party by Art in Bloom 2018 Honorary Chair Nikki Lewis. And when you enter Gallery 321, you too will be enraptured by Delacroix’s passion for the radiance of flowers.
Nineteenth-century poet and art critic Charles Baudelaire described his contemporary Eugène Delacroix as “passionately in love with passion, but coldly determined to express passion as clearly as possible.” When Baudelaire said that everything beautiful is beautiful by calculation, he well described Delacroix’s deep understanding of color and composition in creating movement in his creations. Delacroix’s work inspired Impressionists with it’s expressive brushstrokes and optical effects of color.
The Friends has made great strides in its fundraising for this wonderful acquisition, and recently received a generous bequest from the Joan T. Smith fund. We thank our many supportive donors for their generosity and encourage contributions to complete our centennial gift to Mia. Be sure to visit Mia often and come admire Delacroix’s spectacular work of art.
President, Friends of the Institute
To chase away the winter blues, an exciting offer for Friends members!
The December 12 Friends Lecture and Luncheon was generously sponsored by Alice Riot, a line of professional women’s apparel that showcases original works of art by female contemporary artists. The Friends were pleased to welcome Alice Riot co-founders Kelly Groehler and Kate Iverson to both events.
Alice Riot invites women to invest in female artists–starting with their wardrobe! When you wear Alice Riot, you help a female artist in a stylish way and support a women-owned and operated startup business. The limited-edition prints are exclusively available and juxtapose Alice Riot’s classic apparel styles; well- made and travel-friendly, every garment purchase provides the contributing artist a commission. Luncheon attendees had the opportunity to view Alice Riot’s art-inspired looks, and try-on scarves at a special digital photo booth experience.
Alice Riot is pleased to extend a special promotion for Mia Friends members: 15% off your purchase through the month of January on AliceRiot.com with the code MIAFRIENDS.
Thank you again to Alice Riot for their generous support! We are grateful for this new partnership.