Published: December 2, 2008
The Speed Art Museum announces the promised gift of more than 100 masterpieces of Kentucky art from collectors Robert and Norma Noe.
This extensive collection includes early Kentucky furniture, paintings, silhouettes, textiles, ceramics and silver. The gift will be gradually integrated into the Speed’s collection of Kentucky art over the next several years.
The Noes were drawn to the Speed’s ongoing commitment to Kentucky-oriented exhibitions and projects. Bob Noe said, “Over the past several years, the Speed has made a serious commitment to preserving and interpreting Kentucky art. We hope that our gift will help further their efforts and encourage similar donations by other collectors and families.”
Featured in The Magazine Antiques and exhibited at the Speed and other museums, the Noes’ collection is widely recognized as one of the country’s best groupings of early Kentucky art. This landmark donation, one of the most significant in the Speed’s 81-year history, will greatly enrich the museum’s Kentucky collection.
Nearly 40 pieces of Kentucky furniture will form the core of the Noes’ gift. The pieces date from the 1790s through the 1870s and range from richly inlaid sugar chests to robust, turned chairs. The Noes’ inaugural donation to the Speed, a tall clock made around 1808 in Lexington, embodies the quality found throughout the collection. Tall and elegant, the clock features a figured cherry case. It also bears the signature of Asa Blanchard, Lexington’s premier early silversmith.
This clock is on view along with other new objects acquired over the past year in “Collecting for Kentucky: A Year of New Art at the Speed,” on view through March 8.
The Noes’ further donations will include selections from their fine painting and silhouette collections. Distinguished works by artists Benjamin Trott, Matthew Harris Jouett, William H. Brown and others depict many of early Kentucky’s most prominent citizens such as Robert Wickliffe, Henry Clay and Cassius Clay, later Muhammad Ali. Documented needlework samplers, woven coverlets, decorated stoneware and elegant silver will also be given.
Through the Noes’ generosity, the Speed will move closer to achieving one of its most ambitious goals: becoming the nation’s collection of record for important Kentucky art and design. The Noes’ gift will also be integrated into the museum’s Kentucky Online Arts Resource at www.KOAR.org.
Speed Director Dr Charles L. Venable said, “The Noes’ gift of their exceptional collection is a true milestone in the history of the Speed Art Museum. This institution has dedicated itself to becoming a leader in the exhibition and study of art from this region and the promise of the Noe Collection Kentucky-made furniture, silver, ceramics, textiles and paintings ensures that this goal will become are reality.”
The Speed Art Museum is at 2035 South Third Street. For information, 502-634-2700 or www.speedmuseum.org .
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