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University of Iowa News Release


April 3, 2009

New exhibition at Figge April 19 features famous UI Museum of Art works

Modern masterworks by celebrated artists including Jackson Pollock, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse will be featured in an upcoming University of Iowa Museum of Art (UIMA)-organized exhibition in the Figge Art Museum, 225 West Second St. in Davenport, Iowa.

The exhibition, "A Legacy for Iowa: Pollock's 'Mural' and Modern Masterworks from the University of Iowa Museum of Art," opens Sunday, April 19 and runs through Sunday, Aug. 2. The two museums will celebrate the opening from noon to 5 p.m. April 19 with a reception at the Figge. Tours of the exhibition will be available 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m., and volunteers from both museums will be stationed in the galleries throughout the day to answer visitors' questions.

Admission to the Figge is free for UI students, faculty and staff who present their UI ID cards, UIMA donors who present their donor courtesy card, and Figge Art Museum members. The general public is also welcome at the event for regular Figge admission prices: $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, $4 for children ages 3-12.

UI students can sign up to take a free bus to the opening, departing from the Studio Arts Building, 1375 Highway 1 West in Iowa City, at 1 p.m. and returning at approximately 6 p.m. Those who wish to ride the bus, which is sponsored by the UI Campus Museums Collective and the UIMA, must sign up to reserve their seat at the Studio Arts front desk, Old Capitol Museum, the Museum of Natural History, or by e-mailing

"A Legacy for Iowa," the first display of art from the UIMA at the Figge Art Museum, features 22 of the most important works in the UIMA collection.

Nearly all of the paintings in the exhibition were fully or partially donated to the UIMA, said UIMA Chief Curator Kathleen Edwards, who organized the show.

"The word 'legacy' has to do with what the past provides for the future," Edwards said. "In this exhibition, we explore both the significance of the individual paintings that are included in the show and how they came to the museum."

Robert Motherwell's "Elegy to the Spanish Republic, No. 126" (1965-75), which was commissioned for the UIMA by Ulfert Wilke, the UIMA's first director, will greet exhibition visitors in the Figge's second-floor orientation gallery, Edwards said. In the next room, visitors will find works donated to the UIMA by various patrons, including Cedar Rapids couple Owen and Leone Elliott, whose gift prompted the construction of the original UI Museum of Art building, and world-famous art patron Peggy Guggenheim, whose gifts include Pollock's "Mural" (1943), the UIMA's most famous painting and the centerpiece of the exhibition.

Many historians consider "Mural" to be one of the most important modern American paintings, Edwards said.

"As stewards entrusted with the care of this and other magnificent works of art, museums have both an immense opportunity and a great responsibility," added UIMA Interim Director Pamela White. "We are charged both with making 'Mural' available for our public, and building and preserving the legacy of this work for future generations."

Hosting UIMA-organized exhibitions such as "A Legacy for Iowa" is just one aspect of the larger partnership between the UIMA and the Figge; the Figge will also store the UIMA collection until a permanent museum space in Iowa City becomes available.

Figge Executive Director Sean O'Harrow noted that the collaboration will bring benefits for both institutions.

"Cooperation between institutions is not only the best way forward in tough times, but also the best way forward in the best of times," O'Harrow said. "This partnership will raise the profile of both museums and, we hope, Davenport's arts and culture district, which the Figge anchors."

In addition to 20th-century European and American paintings, many of which are featured in "A Legacy for Iowa," the UIMA's more than 12,000-piece collection includes a world-famous collection of African art, wide-ranging ceramics and pre-Columbian collections, and a large selection of prints, drawings and photographs. The UIMA collection has been given accolades by New York Times art critic Roberta Smith, and works from the UIMA collection have traveled to major exhibitions in cities including New York, Berlin, London and Tokyo, and have frequently been featured in textbooks and other publications.

Due to the 2008 flood, the UI Museum of Art offices have been relocated to the Studio Arts Building, 1840 SA, Iowa City, IA 52242, and Museum of Art events and exhibitions are being presented at various locations. For up-to-date museum information visit or the UIMA blog, "Art Matters," at, or call 319-335-1725.

The Figge Art Museum is an encyclopedic museum with more than 4,000 works of art in its collection, ranging from the 16th century to the present. The Figge is best known for its extensive collection of Haitian, colonial, Mexican and Midwestern art, particularly pieces by Thomas Hart Benton, John Steuart Curry, Marvin Cone and Grant Wood, including the only self-portrait Wood ever painted. The three-year-old, state-of-the-art museum building was designed by Stirling Prize-winning British architect David Chipperfield. For more information visit

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to and click the link "Join or Leave ACR News," then follow the instructions.

To request images for publication contact Maggie Anderson, 319-335-1739,


STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Maggie Anderson, Museum of Art, 319-335-1739,; Steve Parrott, University Relations, 319-335-0552,; Dan McNeil, Figge Art Museum, 563-326-7804, ext. 2047,