Weatherspoon Art Museum: 70 Years of Collecting

  • Feb 6, 2011 – May 1, 2011
  • The Bob & Lissa Shelley McDowell Gallery
Cindy Sherman, "Untitled #85", 1981, cibachrome photograph, ed. 10/10, 23
1/2 x 48 1/2 in. Gift of Donald Droll in honor of Anne Wortham Cone,
Weatherspoon Art Museum: 70 Years of Collecting photo

Related Publication

Weatherspoon Art Museum: 70 Years of Collecting

2010, 232 pages, $50

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Did you know?


In 1954 the Weatherspoon made the startling acquisition of Willem de Kooning’s painting, Woman, (1949-50) widely regarded today as a seminal piece in the development of Abstract Expressionism. Its purchase in that politically and socially conservative era signaled visionary leadership on the part of the Weatherspoon and set an example for collection building that would continue unabated.


Weatherspoon Art Museum: 70 Years of Collecting celebrates the Museum's 70th anniversary year with an exhibition featuring 100 highlights from its nationally recognized permanent collection. Among the artists to be represented are Willem de Kooning, Paul Manship, David Smith, Louise Nevelson, Alexander Calder, Ann Hamilton, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, and many others whose work collectively narrates the histories of modern and contemporary art.

To further mark the 70th anniversary exhibition, the Weatherspoon has published a handbook of the same title that includes a history of the Museum with full-color reproductions and essays on the 100 featured artworks.

In 1941 Gregory D. Ivy, an artist, teacher, and the first head of the art department at Woman’s College, founded the Weatherspoon Art Gallery. Ivy was motivated by his belief that students should have firsthand experience of the art of their time. During the seven decades following his astute vision, the Weatherspoon has evolved from a small teaching gallery to a fully accredited museum with a national reputation that still places education at the heart of its mission.

Ivy also felt the gallery would benefit the community, and he needed its support. The book, 70 Years of Collecting, begins with a history spun from a collection of stories about the people who so generously heeded that call. Over the years, the Weatherspoon has been the most fortunate recipient of remarkable support, both moral and financial, from the university and the greater Greensboro community. It has also benefitted from a host of dedicated employees and key events that have shaped it into a modern and contemporary art museum with a significant collection.

Published on the occasion of the Weatherspoon Art Museum’s seventieth anniversary year, this beautifully designed and illustrated book reproduces one hundred noteworthy works of art from the collection, each accompanied by a thoughtful essay written by the Art History faculty in the UNCG Department of Art and the Museum's director and curators: K. Porter Aichele, George Dimock, Nancy M. Doll, Xandra Eden, Richard Gantt, Carl Goldstein, Ann Grimaldi, Elaine D. Gustafson, Heather Holian, Elizabeth Perrill, and Will South. The objects included represent each decade from the turn of the twentieth century to the first decade of this century. Although the majority of the artists represented in the Weatherspoon’s collection are recognized for their long, successful careers, the inclusion of a few younger artists demonstrates the Museum’s commitment to “promising new voices.” This is first significant publication to focus on the Weatherpoon’s collection, 70 Years of Collecting guarantees to be an informative and enjoyable read.

This exhibition and other 70th anniversary programs are made possible through the generous support of Bob and Lissa Shelley McDowell, F. M. Kirby Foundation, Inc., North Carolina Arts Council, Blue Bell Foundation, Our State Magazine, Weatherspoon Art Museum Association, Cone Mills Charitable Trust, Burlington Industries Foundation and International Textile Group, Fairway Outdoor Advertising, and the Greensboro Convention & Visitors Bureau.


Visit our special 70th Anniversary Website and download a copy of Winter 2010-11 ARTicles newsletter.

70th Preview Party • Feb 4, 2011. See photos from the event in our photo gallery.



We have six galleries located on the first and second levels of the museum, view our gallery map.