KANSAS CITY, MO.-
A beautifully illustrated handbook with color images of 1,255 key works from The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
collection is now available through the Museum Store in soft-cover. The arrival Dec. 11 of the hardcover edition of A Handbook of the Collection will coincide with the Museums 75th anniversary.
Marc F. Wilson, the Menefee D. and Mary Louise Blackwell Director of the Museum, notes in the books foreword that the Nelson-Atkins extraordinary collection has been built in fewer than three generations. It reflects strong traditions and clear values grounded in the preeminence of artistic achievement and high standards, he wrote. As our 75th anniversary approaches, it is abundantly clear that we have arrived at a good place.
About every decade the Nelson-Atkins produces a new compendium of its collection. The last handbook was printed in 1993.
The new Handbook, the seventh edition, is divided into nine areas of the encyclopedic collection, which includes more than 33,500 works of art. The areas include Ancient, Islamic Persia and Iran, Europe, North American Indian, America, Photography, Modern and Contemporary, Africa and Asia. Museum curators determined which key works of art in their areas of specialty should be included.
The Handbook reflects important new works of art added to the collection, new scholarship about these and existing works, and absolutely beautiful digital color photography by our own imaging department, said Chief Curator Deborah Scott. By organizing the works chronologically and by integrating paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, and decorative arts we were are able to offer a panoramic view of the Museums collection.
In this newest edition are two sections devoted to areas that have received magnified emphasis at the Nelson-Atkins -- American Indian art and photography. In 2001, an endowed curatorship was established for North American Indian Art and the Museum greatly expanded its holdings in that area, moving the Nelson-Atkins to the forefront of general art museums collecting American Indian art. In early 2006, the Museum acquired the Hallmark Photographic Collection of more than 6,500 works of art. A photography department with three curators was created to care for, expand and display what is one of the finest photography collections in the world.
Images of objects from the Museums world renowned collection of Chinese art have received a new presentation. Instead of groupings by medium, the images are presented chronologically by dynasty so that readers can see how art objects developed through the history of China.
Decorative arts, also with a number of new acquisitions, are fully integrated into the Europe, America and Modern and Contemporary sections.
The introduction, written by Deborah Emont Scott and Marjorie Alexander, who served as editor and project manager for the Handbook, gives a clear and concise history of the Museum and background on how the collection was built, as well as fascinating acquisition anecdotes. Introductions to sections also provide easy-to-read elaborations on those areas of the collection and were created through collaboration with curators and Scott and Alexander.
All 1,255 images of works of art in the new Handbook are in color and were created by the Museums Imaging Services Department. By contrast, the 1993 edition had 75 color plates.
The soft-cover edition retails for $24.95 ($22.46 for Museum members); the hardcover version of the Handbook will retail for $39.95 ($35.96 for Museum members).