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Fairfield University Art Museum Announces Gift of 1,500 Prints

Assembled over several decades by artist, collector and master printer James Reed, the collection, which will be given in its entirety, consists of over 1,500 prints spanning the 16ththrough the early 21stcenturies. The great strength of the Reed collection is 19th-century French etching and lithography. Géricault, Delacroix, Daumier, Manet, Redon, and Fantin-Latour are among the major artists of the period represented. Over 30 old master prints dating from the 16th-18thcenturies are also included.

The second concentration of the collection is a significant group of over 50 German Expressionist prints, including woodcuts and lithographs by Emil Nolde, Ernst Kirchner, and Max Beckmann among others. James Reed has also collected modern prints by iconic names including Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, and Jim Dine, as well as lithographs, etchings and woodcuts by established contemporary printmakers, many of whom he has collaborated with as master printer at Milestone Graphics, the fine printmaking studio he owns and directs and which is an important institution for artists working in Connecticut and the Northeast. This part of the collection includes examples of Mr. Reed’s own work as an artist and printmaker, which is represented in more than 20 public collections around the country, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York Public Library. The modern and contemporary prints in the James M. Reed Print Collection are promised to the museum as a bequest.

Linda Wolk-Simon, Frank and Clara Meditz Director and Chief Curator of the Fairfield University Art Museum, called the gift of the James Reed Print Collection “truly transformative.” Explaining its significance for the museum she noted, “Unlike our peer institutions, whose foundational holdings typically comprise rich collections of prints—long an important resource in the teaching of art history in addition to being artworks to display on the walls—Fairfield has lacked a collection of works on paper. Though we have made small strides to rectify this, acquiring a handful of old master and contemporary British prints since our founding seven years ago, this lacuna seemed hopelessly insurmountable. The situation has changed, literally overnight, with the glorious gift of the James M. Reed Collection, which provides an endlessly rich font of marvelous works on paper for both display in the museum and for teaching across multiple disciplines. We are profoundly indebted to James Reed for this truly historic gift, and for the extraordinary generosity of spirit it represents.”

An exhibition celebrating the gift of the James M. Reed Print Collection and featuring some 50 highlights drawn from the full range of old master, 19th-century, German Expressionist, and modern and contemporary prints will open in the museum’s Walsh Gallery on March 14, 2019 and remain on view through June 8. Several programs will be organized in conjunction with the exhibition, including a conversation and printing demonstration with James Reed, and an exhibition publication will be produced. The exhibition and programs are free and open to the public; dates and other information will be posted on the museum’s website in the coming months ( As a long-term project, the museum plans to catalogue the entire collection as part of the online collections database.


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