By Nancy Vittorini, Member, Executive Committee of the Board of Directors, The Bronxville Historical Conservancy
May 23, 2018: On Sunday, May 20, The Bronxville Historical Conservancy partnered with the Bronxville Public Library to share insights and images of the village's extraordinary artistic heritage. The afternoon event began in the Yeager Room of the library, where more than 100 guests listened eagerly to art historian and curator Jayne Warman as she presented a narrative of Bronxville's early artists and a selection of their works.
As Warman noted, it was an afternoon designed to celebrate two truly remarkable public art collections that represent – for such a small village – a long-standing legacy of art patronage and dedication to a shared cultural history dating as far back as the mid-19th century.
"The first of these collections can be appreciated right here in the Bronxville Library," she began. "It is a fine assemblage of late 19th-/early 20th-century American paintings, prints, and sculpture, largely donated by private Bronxville citizens. The second is a growing collection of paintings and works on paper acquired by The Bronxville Historical Conservancy since its founding 20 years ago. Several works were executed as early as the 1830s, although the majority were by Bronxville's later artist colony painters. A few of the works hang upstairs in the Burt Gallery, but most enhance the walls of village hall."
It was also an afternoon to celebrate the 20th anniversary year of The Bronxville Historical Conservancy, an outgrowth of Bronxville's 1998 centennial celebration. The Conservancy's mission is "to further the understanding and appreciation of the history and current life of the Village of Bronxville" and to preserve that heritage for the future.
Art tour docent Dina Grant and Conservancy board members Jennifer Russo and Michelle McBride
An art acquisition committee was quickly established and the Conservancy began to collect paintings by past village artists to be displayed in public spaces. Warman, the art committee's chair, explained, "The criteria for acquisition was, and still is, in order of priority: first, a work by a Bronxville artist of a Bronxville scene; second, a work executed by a Bronxville artist while the artist lived in the village, but not necessarily of a local subject; or third, a Bronxville scene painted by a non-Bronxville artist."
Warman added that the library trustees, too, have been dedicated stewards of their collection that we so enjoy today. "It is a tangible example of a kind of symbiosis of artist and collector, patron and public servant. They have sought to maintain and preserve it to the highest standard." On December 13, 2017, the library collection was honored by The Bronxville Historical Conservancy with its annual Preservation Award for Stewardship and Advocacy.
"These two remarkable collections are the product of a shared love of art and history, fostered and encouraged by our resident artists and effectuated by a long line of civic-minded leaders and caring villagers. We are very fortunate, indeed," said Warman as she ended her presentation.
Conservancy board members Lyndal Vermette and Chris Goff, along with library trustees Sarah Normand and Pippa Colvin, organized the engaging afternoon, which included a docent-led tour of both the library and village hall collections and ended with a wine reception in village hall.
Sarah Normand, member of the board of trustees of the Bronxville Public Library.
Among the guests who attended was Village Administrator Jim Palmer, who shared his enthusiasm for the occasion, saying, "Just lovely...the mobilization of your team to preserve and to educate the community on the historical significance here is amazing...you have achieved a lot in 20 years!
More information on The Bronxville Historical Conservancy collection can be found at http://bronxvillehistoricalconservancy.org/art-collection/.
Pictured at top: Erin Saluti, co-chair of the board of directors of The Bronxville Historical Conservancy; Jayne Warman, art historian and curator; and Willian Zambelli, co-chair of the board of directors of The Bronxville Historical Conservancy.
Photos courtesy the author
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