IU's First Art 'Museum': Using Archival Records to Rediscover the Early Fine Arts Collection / Nan Brewer
From Dina Kellams
Nan Brewer, the Lucienne M. Glaubinger Curator of Works on Paper at IU’s Eskenazi Museum of Art, discusses the thrill of finding an old appraisal in the papers of art history professor Diether Thimme that revealed a little known teaching collection at IU going back to the 1890s. Numbering over 1,000 items by 1936, the Fine Arts Collection opened up many questions about art pedagogy and aesthetic taste of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as the development of IU’s fine arts department founded 125 years ago. Research in the museum’s papers, IU Archives, and Lilly Library, likewise, revealed the grand ambitions of IU’s first professor of fine arts, Alfred Mansfield Brooks, who hoped to create an art program in Bloomington on par with those at Oxford and Harvard Universities.