Great Art

The Speed Art Museum
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Past Exhibitions of 2008

Maxime Lalanne
(French, 1827-1886)
The Canal at the Sainte- Maxence Bridge, 1877
Etching on wove paper
Gift of Mrs. Lafon Allen  1956.21.103

Reclaiming the Plate: Nineteenth-Century Etching Clubs 

October 12, 2008-March 15, 2009

During the nineteenth century, European and American artists rediscovered the expressive possibilities of using acid to etch or bite images into metal plates, which could be used to produce prints ranging from velvety impressions of the French countryside to sensitive renderings of a humble wine glass.  Reclaiming the Plate, on view at the Speed Art Museum through March 15, 2009, explores the nineteenth-century etching revival.  Featuring works by artists such as Maxime Lalanne (who wrote an instructive treatise on etching), Jean-François Millet, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, James McNeill Whistler, and Joseph Pennell, the exhibition also examines the critical role that etching societies in France, England, and America played in the promotion and dissemination of etchings. Admission is free.

Detail: Carl Borromäus Andreas Ruthart
German, 1630-1703
Adam Naming the Animals, 1686
Oil on canvas
Purchased with funds from the Alice Speed Stoll Accessions Trust

Collecting for Kentucky: A Year of New Art at the Speed, 2007-2008

October 5, 2008 - March, 2009

During the past year many exceptional works of art have been given to, or purchased by, the Speed.  For the first time the museum will unveil all of these new treasures at once in a single exhibition.  Featured will be works of art that span 600 years of human creativity and represent a diverse array of artistic techniques and styles.  From medieval manuscripts and Old Master paintings to Modern European and Contemporary art, the works in this show are enchanting with their technical virtuosity and exceptional beauty.  Each of these acquisitions represents an act of generosity on the part of supporters here in Louisville and across the country. Admission is free.

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery

Extended through January 18 , 2009!

John Trumbull (American, 1756-1843),
The Declaration of Independence, 4 July 1776, 1786-1820
Oil on canvas
Yale University Art Gallery, Trumbull Collection

Travel back in time as the Speed premieres one of the most important collections of American art in the world. Featuring more than 230 paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, furniture, silver, and ceramics from Yale University’s renowned collection of 18th- and 19th-century American art.

Highlighted treasures include John Trumbull’s eight Revolutionary War scenes, including The Declaration of Independence; as well as works by Winslow Homer, John Singleton Copley, Charles Willson Peale, Thomas Eakins and Paul Revere.

This is the first time Yale’s key American works have traveled outside of New Haven for an exhibition. It is the largest exhibition the Speed has ever hosted in a long and prestigious history of presenting fine art in Louisville. Yale University’s monumental collection will encompass all of the museum’s main galleries.

Couch, New York City, 1820-30
White pine, ash, yellow poplar, and cherry
Yale University Art Gallery, Mabel Brady Garvan Collection

Members get a special holiday rate of $5, general admission is $10. As part of a special family promotion, kids get free admission.

Discount tickets are available for groups of 10 or more by calling  (502) 634-2960 or by e-mailing

An exhibition audio guide featuring insights from distinguished Yale scholars as well as Pulitzer Prize winning author and Yale graduate David McCullough, whose passion is American history. The guide is available for $5.

A handsome exhibition catalogue is available for $39.95 in the Museum Shop.

Throughout the exhibition, the Speed will offer an array of programming that will appeal to adults and families. See full list.

To find out more about the exhibition and other works in the Yale University Art Gallery Collection visit

Fitz Henry Lane (American, 1804-1865)
Lighthouse at Camden Maine, 1851
Oil on canvas
Yale University Art Gallery
Gift of the Teresa and H. John Heinz III Foundation

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery was organized by the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut, and made possible by generous funding from Happy and Bob Doran, B.A. 1955; Carolyn and Gerald Grinstein, B.A. 1954; Mrs. William S. Kilroy, Sr.; Mrs. Frederick R. Mayer; Nancy and Clive Runnells, B.A. 1948; Ellen and Stephen D. Susman, B.A. 1962; the Eugénie Prendergast Fund for American art, given by Jan and Warren Adelson; and the Friends of American Arts at Yale. 

The audio guide was made possible by Ellen and Stephen D. Susman, B.A. 1962, and the Susman Family Foundation.

Louisville support of this exhibition has been provided by
Additional support has been provided by
Media support comes from


Prints, Drawings & Photographs: Highlights from the Permanent Collection

Through August 31, 2008

See the finest of the Speed's collection of prints, drawings and photographs.  Featured artists include Picasso, Degas, Whistler, Winslow Homer and John James Audubon.
Admission is free.

Werner Reiterer
"No title ," 2004
Collection Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson; Louisville, Kentucky

Werner Reiterer: Raw Loop

April 22 – June 29, 2008

The Speed is proud to present the first solo exhibition in the United States featuring work by Austrian artist Werner Reiterer, offering museum visitors an opportunity to enjoy the unique way this artist engages humor and irony to reflect upon how we view and make sense of the world. Admission is free.



Medieval and Renaissance Treasures From the Victoria and Albert Museum

January 22 – April 20, 2008

Statuette: Crucified Christ by Giovanni Pisano, 1285-1300, Ivory, 15.3 cm
©V&A Images/Victoria and Albert Museum

This once-in-a-lifetime exhibition presents 35 masterpieces including a rare notebook on geometry and mathematics by Renaissance artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci. The notebook, written in mirror image cursive, is the highlight of the exhibition.

Drawn from one of the greatest collections of medieval and Renaissance works in existence, these mostly small-scale “Treasury Arts” were created principally for the church in the Middle Ages and for wealthy collectors during the Renaissance.

Included in the exhibition are carved ivories, bronze sculpture, jeweled metalwork, stained glass and works by Donatello and Pisano.

Tickets are $10, free for museum members.

Exhibition organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Louisville support of this exhibition has been provided by
Special underwriting for the Leonardo Da Vinci Codex has been provided by
Gearldine Westbrook (American, born 1919)

Gee’s Bend: The Architecture of the Quilt

January 2, 2008 – March 23, 2008

This exhibition features the brilliant, bold quilts created in the twentieth century by a group of women who live in the small, isolated African-American community of Gee's Bend in southwestern Alabama. The quilts in the exhibition, created by four generations of women, provide a fascinating look at the work of 20th-century artists who lived and worked in solitude. Gee's Bend is located on a sliver of land five miles long and eight miles wide, a virtual island surrounded by a bend in the Alabama River. Isolated geographically, the women in the community created quilts from whatever materials were available, in patterns of their own imaginative design. The dynamic, abstract quilts' innovative patterns and brilliant use of line and color demonstrate a highly developed talent for structure and design. Unlike abstract painters, however, the Gee's Bend women created their quilts out of necessity and practical considerations rather than a conscious attempt to make art. Their focus on everyday concerns, such as salvaging discarded fabric, recycling old clothing, and finding ways to keep their families warm and comfortable, makes the extraordinary aesthetic appeal of their quilts even more remarkable.

Gee's Bend: The Architecture of the Quilt has been organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and Tinwood Alliances, Atlanta.

Support for this exhibition has been provided by

Eyes Wide Open
January – February 2008

An exciting contemporary installation that will entice, excite and provoke the senses.

Stepping outside its museum walls, the Speed has commissioned Argentinean artist Flavia Da Rin to create 10 images to be placed on 14x48 foot billboards around Louisville in January 2008.

Manipulating her images with “Photoshop” Da Rin creates fairytale-like pictures that are both enchanting and disquieting. While Da Rin’s images will create a gallery outdoors, a web site will provide access to information and engage the participation of the viewer creatively, as well as in discussions about art, both inside and outside the museum.

Louisville support of this exhibition has been provided by



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