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Saint Mary’s College establishes new museum

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Music, ethnicity hallmark of Chautauqua gathering Oct. 8

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• Sister M. Agnes Gough, SHF
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placeholder September 19, 2011   •   VOL. 49, NO. 16   •   Oakland, CA
Saint Mary’s College establishes new museum

William Keith in the 1870s
Centennial tribute

What: “The Comprehensive Keith: A Centennial Tribute,” an exhibit of landscape paintings by William Keith

Where: Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art, Moraga

When: Oct. 2-Dec. 18

Opening lecture: Kevin Starr

When: Oct. 2, 2 p.m.

Where: LeFevre Theatre, Saint Mary’s College, Moraga

Tickets: $8 (includes museum and lecture admission)

Saint Mary’s College of California announced a new home for the College’s Hearst Art Gallery and the William Keith Gallery with the establishment of the Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art.

“We are grateful for the generosity of the donors who quietly made this museum possible,” said Brother Ronald Gallagher, college president. “This expanded space will allow the college to feature more of our extensive art collection, showcase national and regional artists and give talented Saint Mary’s students the important educational experience that comes with exhibiting in a professional gallery.”

To mark the opening, the new museum will unveil a major exhibition by California’s 19th-century landscape master William Keith. “The Comprehensive Keith: A Centennial Tribute,” opens Oct. 2, and continues through Dec. 18. The exhibition will feature 145 pieces of the college’s collection of Keith paintings. Recent acquisitions and newly restored paintings by the artist will be on view in the Hearst and Keith Galleries.

The museum expansion, which cost more than $600,000 , increases exhibition space by 50 percent, creating two large galleries to complement the Keith and Hearst galleries. The Hearst Art Gallery, which was founded in 1977 with a grant from the Hearst Foundation, will remain a primary exhibition space for the museum.

The college has published a major new book on Keith to coincide with the centennial exhibition. “The Comprehensive Keith: The Hundred Year History of the Saint Mary’s College Collection,” presents 262 color illustrations, features original Keith letters, interviews and chronicles painstaking efforts by art scholars to restore his paintings over the years.

At the opening of the exhibit, a keynote address recognizing Keith’s importance to the history of California will be presented by University of Southern California History Professor Kevin Starr.  His lecture “Thinking About William Keith — Some Centennial Considerations,” takes place at 2 p.m. Oct. 2 in the college’s LeFevre Theatre. Starr, California state librarian emeritus, is one of the leading experts on the history of the Golden State.

Saint Mary’s art collection began with a few Keith paintings in the early 20th century and today has expanded to nearly 4,500 works of art, including its comprehensive Keith collection; early ceramics; Roman coins; African; Asian and Oceanic ethnographic objects; religious statuary; Russian icons and modern California art.

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