NAPLES, FL.- Some of the most impressive works of art in Collier County aren't found in the galleries, museums or art centers. They are secured in private homes, admired by collectors who appreciate works by masters such as Picasso, Calder and Chagall.
Now, The von Liebig Art Center is letting the public get a glimpse of these magnificent treasures that are rarely seen in public. The art center is hosting a Naples Collects exhibition Jan. 10 through 25 in its galleries at 585 Park St. in downtown Naples. More than a dozen local collectors are loaning an average of three pieces each for the show. All media are included, from paintings and photography to sculpture and drawings.
Highlights include Pablo Picasso's "La Grande Corrida Avec Femme Torero" etching; Alexander Calder's "Bone Forms" gauche, ink on paper; Emile A. Gruppe's "Woman in Red" oil on canvas; Robert Rauschenberg's "Opal Gospel" screenprints on Plexiglas®; Leo Sewel's "Roxy" found objects; and Romare Bearden's "Dockside Market" watercolor on paper.
Some of the other artists represented in Naples Collects include: Byron Browne, Elizabeth Catlett, Marc Chagall, Sam Francis, Dennis Hopper, Claus Oldenberg, Darryl Pottorf, Terry Rodgers, Dai Shubin, and John Winslow.
"Art collectors develop a very personal relationship with the art they collect, so that it almost becomes like a member of their family," says Joel Kessler, executive director of The von Liebig Art Center, who conceived of the exhibition. "They enjoy seeing the art in their homes, and often they decorate rooms around a major piece or even build homes specifically to showcase their artwork. They were happy to loan the works when we asked, because they take pride in what they have collected and they want other people to see the works and enjoy them."
Kessler says one key objective of the exhibition is to show the varied styles of what appeals to local collectors. Much of the work was acquired as people traveled for business or leisure through the Far East, South America, Europe and United States. Most collectors purchased works that had personal appeal to them, while some selected pieces they hoped would increase in value. While some "masters" are represented in the exhibition, works by unknown artists are as valuable for their point of view and representation of the artists' experience.
"We want to show the community, and especially other art collectors, what our friends, neighbors and business associates are collecting," Kessler says. "This exhibition brings together Cuban art, folk art from Mexico, contemporary art, abstract sculpture, modernist collage, Pop art, and many other styles and images that will be stimulating and thought-provoking. Art should challenge the viewer, and we have assembled an exhibition that people will think about long after the works are off our gallery walls."
"I can't remember another exhibition like this in Naples," Kessler adds. "Thanks to the generosity of the collectors who loaned us their works, our community is being treated to an incredible kaleidoscope of art."