Modern art at the Hyde

Warhol, Hartigan, Picasso in a new gallery plus an Ellsworth Kelly show

With its new Feibes & Schmitt Gallery, The Hyde Collection art museum is now a destination for modern and contemporary art.

This summer and through the end of the year, visitors can see the debut exhibit in the 1,500-square-foot gallery, “To Distribute and Multiply: The Feibes & Schmitt Gift,” with 40 works by 20th century masters, among them Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, Grace Hartigan, Jean (Hans) Arp, Ellsworth Kelly, Sol Lewitt, Man Ray, Louise Nevelson, Pablo Picasso, George Rickey and Bridget Kelly.

The gallery is the result of a donation last year from Schenectady art collector Werner Feibes and his late partner James Schmitt, who gave the Hyde their modern and contemporary art collection, which is valued at more than $10 million.

“The Feibes & Schmitt Collection establishes the Hyde as a regional must-see for modern art,” said museum Director Erin Coe. “Without traveling to New York or Boston, or even Montreal, there’s nowhere else in the region where you can see the works of the 20th century’s most influential artists just down the hall from Botticelli, Rembrandt, Degas, Hassam and Homer.”

Feibes and Schmitt donated their art collection to the Hyde because they recognized that a museum of its size could provide better public access to the works and it would be more consistently on view than it might be in a larger museum. The exhibit title, inspired by that sentiment and their belief that the art is less of a possession and more of an idea, originates from a quote by Josef Albers (1888-1976): “To distribute material possessions is to divide them. To distribute spiritual possessions is to multiply them.”

Through Sept. 24, the Hyde is also featuring two related exhibits by contemporary artist Ellsworth Kelly. Ellsworth Kelly: Slow Curve and Ellsworth Kelly: Fruits and Flowers were inspired by Feibes’ and Schmitt’s friendship with Kelly and the piece he created for them, Diagonal with Curve XII, Blue #611.

“Slow Curve,” an exhibit of more than 70 prints in the main Charles R. Wood Gallery, examines Kelly’s experimentation with curved fields of color, from tight ellipses and shapes with rounded corners, to broad arcs and segments. Many of these geometric shapes derived from his simple line-drawn images of nature. In the Whitney-Renz Gallery, 26 prints from his Plant Series will form a small companion exhibit. S

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