Toledo Museum of Art began its 101st year with a bang: It is adding a Rembrandt masterpiece to its collection.
“Christ Crucified Between Two Thieves,” more commonly known as The Three Crosses, is one of the greatest of all Rembrandt drypoints, monumental in scale, technique, and emotional resonance,” announced Julie Mellby, the museum's graphic arts associate curator. “It's one of the greatest works in the entire history of art, and we now own one of the most remarkable impressions of this print that I, personally, have ever seen. As soon as we can get it framed and find the right spot, it will be on view for you all to enjoy. Good for us!”
The Toledo Museum of Art stands at 2445 Monroe St. in Toledo's Old West End neighborhood. Its collection is small by international standards, but mighty by anybody's - and as Ms. Mellby will testify, it grows a little each year.
The first appearance of the Rembrandt print is only one of several special events coming up soon.
Like most leading art museums, Toledo hosts and creates traveling, limited-engagement exhibits and art shows. This one is huge: Curator Davira Taragin has worked for several years on “The Alliance of Art and Industry: Toledo Designs for a Modern America.” This will fill Canaday Gallery March 24 to June 16 with scooters, chairs, perfume atomizers, and Jeep fenders designed in Toledo by a leading-edge crew of industrial designers. The show will illustrate how the art museum worked with local industries such as DeVilbiss, Toledo Scale, Jeep, and L-O-F to create household items that were beautiful as well as functional - while promoting Toledo as an ideal place to live and work.
Architect and designer Michael Graves will speak at the museum April 14, part of the Ohio Humanities Council's 2002 Ohio Forum series. His “Designing for the Consumer” talk is meant to complement the Canaday design show, and should show how the designer can continuously refine popular taste by giving buyers a better choice in teapots, vases, T-shirts, and cuff-links.
Another crowd-pleaser will arrive in April in time for the opening of the new Mud Hens' Fifth Third Field downtown:“Play Ball! Baseball Cards From the Metropolitan Museum of Art” opens April 5 and will remain through July 7. The popular Toledo Artists' Show will be held July 26 through Aug. 25.
Later in the year, the Canaday Gallery will host lithographs from Tamarind Institute, a New Mexico lithography studio that has attracted the country's foremost printmakers since 1960.
In the months between, other areas of the museum will host a show of watercolor paintings; devotional paintings on gold background, drawn from collections in Toledo and Detroit; and the continuation of “The Libbey Legacy,” an archival show marking the museum centennial.
Even if the special shows do not do the trick, the museum's regular offerings give art lovers plenty of opportunity for stimulation.
The ArTravel program has scheduled escorted trips to Charleston, S.C. and Savannah, Ga., the gardens of France, and Chicago architecture. “It's Friday!” a popular Friday night program, keeps the galleries open and the joint jumping until 10 p.m. each week with poetry readings, ballet performances, lectures, and music from swing to medieval.
Those with a hands-on approach to museum-going can sign up for classes at the museum's education department. Preschoolers through golden-agers routinely book classes to capacity, studying glass blowing, sculpture, ceramics, painting, art history, and printmaking. For more than a decade the museum has been allied with the University of Toledo's art department, which maintains the Frank Gehry-designed Center for Visual Arts on the museum grounds.
The museum maintains a corps of well-trained volunteer tour guides who lead groups through the collection, illuminating the highlights with special talks geared to various ages and interests. Those who love music can hear the Toledo Symphony Orchestra play at its home auditorium, the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle, integrated into the museum itself.
This year could see the finish of the museum's $60 million capital campaign, a multiyear fund-raiser meant to finance an interior renovation, an outdoor sculpture walk, and a shiny new building for the museum's famous glass collection.