Recent Acquisitions From The Wolfsonian Collection +5 Opens 4/23/10

Collection Strengthened With Five Years of Gifts and Acquisitions

On the occasion of its fifteenth anniversary, The Wolfsonian–Florida International University presents +5: Recent Acquisitions from The Wolfsonian Collection, an exhibition showcasing the dynamic growth of the museum’s collection over the past five years. +5 highlights approximately 100 objects obtained through donation or acquisition, adding depth and breadth to the collection’s already strong foundation of art and design.

The exhibition, on view April 23, 2010 through September 26, 2010, features objects acquired through donation or purchase since The Wolfsonian’s previous exhibition X: A Decade of Collection in September 2005 and includes decorative arts, architectural elements, books, posters, and printed ephemera. The new acquisitions strengthen and broaden the collection’s core themes of design reform, urbanism, travel and transportation, advertising, and political propaganda.

“The opening of +5 and the celebration of The Wolfsonian’s fifteenth anniversary provides us an amazing opportunity to reflect on the growth of the collection and recognize the significant role donors have played shaping the museum’s success in the last five years,” notes Sarah Schleuning, The Wolfsonian’s curator.

Some of the exhibition highlights include:
· A large unusual Teco bottle vase with a swirled base designed by Fritz Albert, c. 1905. The vase is a rare and outstanding example of the American Arts and Crafts movement.
· A significant collection of photochroms (color lithographs) by William Henry Jackson, the American photographer known especially for his images of American Indians and of the West. His photographs of Yellowstone played a critical role in establishing the country’s first national park.
· A tabletop sculpture by Gio Ponti and Tomaso Buzzi designed for the Italian Foreign Ministry and produced by Richard-Ginori.
· A chrome-plated floor torchère or floor lamp designed by Eliel Saarinen and Walter von Nessen. The lamp, donated by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, was from Duke’s estate in Hillsborough, New Jersey.
· A rare oversized portfolio illustrated by artist and activist Hugo Gellert that was published in 1943 in a limited edition of fifty-four. The portfolio contains double-page plates with excerpts of speeches by Vice President Henry A. Wallace and full-page, silk-screened illustrations.
· A historically significant oak sideboard for the Oak Parlour in Old Heath Hall by Thomas Jeckyll.
· Exceptional art moderne paintings, songbooks, and other works from the Franck MacCoy (Mac) Harshberger archive.
· Delicate watercolors of local scenes created as part of the Florida Art Project for the WPA.

The Wolfsonian’s collection originated with thousands of objects privately held by founder Mitchell Wolfson, Jr., which was subsequently donated to Florida International University. Over the past fifteen years, the collection has grown through the gifts of many private donors and collectors, as well as carefully determined acquisitions. Many of the gifts have been donated in the last five years by a wide-range of local, national, and international collectors, including: New York collector Leonard A. Lauder with a significant gift of American World War Two graphic works; Illinois collector and former CEO of Sara Lee Corporation, John Bryan with rare works from the British Arts and Crafts period; prolific artist and art director Steven Heller with books and ephemeral items related to twentieth century totalitarian governments; New York area collector Gregg G. Seibert with the Teco bottle vase and Frank Lloyd Wright textile block; longtime Wolfsonian supporter and former board member Fred Sharf with a substantial collection of automobile design drawings constituting the bulk of the current Styled for the Road exhibition; and independent scholar Jewel Stern with several important silver works from the early twentieth century. “We’re very fortunate that our approach to interpreting and presenting the collection has inspired many people,” notes Wolfsonian director, Cathy Leff. “We’re delighted that our collection has drawn from significant national collectors such as Leonard A. Lauder, chairman of the Estée Lauder Companies, to local collectors such as Laurence Miller, former executive director of libraries at Florida International University.

Comprised of 120,000 objects including paintings, furniture, sculptures, works on paper, ephemeral items, rare books and graphic design produced primarily in Europe and North America from 1885 to 1945, The Wolfsonian collection encourages a multidisciplinary approach of viewing objects as both agents and expressions of change. With its exhibitions and educational programs, The Wolfsonian continues to offer the public an exploration of the social, political, and technological allusions contained in the design of everyday objects. “We are proud of our accomplishments and the growth of our collection during these last five years. We aim to be the single most important resource for the 1885-1945 era and we are optimistic that we will continue building a strong institution that will serve academic and general audiences for years to come,” remarks Cathy Leff.

About The Wolfsonian–Florida International University
The Wolfsonian is a museum, library, and research center that uses objects to illustrate the persuasive power of art and design, to explore what it means to be modern, and to tell the story of social, historical, and technological changes that have transformed our world. The collections comprise approximately 120,000 objects from the period of 1885 to 1945—the height of the Industrial Revolution to the end of the Second World War—in a variety of media including furniture; industrial-design objects; works in glass, ceramics, and metal; rare books; periodicals; ephemera; works on paper; paintings; textiles; and medals.

The Wolfsonian is located at 1001 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL. Admission is $7 for adults; $5 for seniors, students, and children age 6 -12; and free for Wolfsonian members, State University System
of Florida staff and students with ID, and children under six. The museum is open Monday, Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday from noon-6pm; Thursday and Friday from noon-9pm; and is closed on Wednesday. Contact us at 305.531.1001 or visit us online at for further information.

The Wolfsonian receives ongoing support from The Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners; the City of Miami Beach, Cultural Affairs Program, Cultural Arts Council; the William J. and Tina Rosenberg Foundation; Continental Airlines, the Official Airline of The Wolfsonian–FIU; Bacardi USA, Inc.; and Arrowood Vineyards & Winery.