Ravens and black cats emerge from the shadows at The Baltimore Museum of Art in “Haunting Visions of Poe: Illustrations by Manet, Matisse & Gauguin,” on display from September 17 through January 11.
This one-gallery exhibition features 20 prints and drawings by modern French artists that translate Edgar Allen Poe’s dark genius into the realm of visual art. The exhibition also includes first-edition books of Poe’s illustrated works and portraits of the legendary Baltimore citizen by Manet and Matisse.
Actor John Astin, best known as Gomez of The Addams Family, will stage a dramatic reading of “The Raven” at the BMA’s first free Thursday on October 2.
“Edgar Allan Poe’s vision of terror continues to influence everything from art to pop culture,” said BMA Director Doreen Bolger. “This exhibition shows the beginnings of a Poe fascination that has swept the world.”
Widely celebrated for his poems and short stories, Poe created the detective tale and perfected the psychological thriller. The author is best-known for “The Raven,” which earned him fame in the United States, as well as stories such as “Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Black Cat” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Long before achieving widespread appreciation in America, however, Poe’s genius was discovered abroad when French poets such as Charles Baudelaire and Stephane Mallarmé translated many of his works, and renowned artists such as Edouard Manet and Henri Matisse illustrated their printed pages.
For visitors unfamiliar with Poe’s writing, the exhibition includes a Reading Corner to his poems and stories against a backdrop of unsettling Poe-inspired art. Most of the works in the exhibition are drawn from the BMA’s outstanding collection of works on paper, as well as from the Maryland Historical Society, the Enoch Pratt Free Library, and The Johns Hopkins University’s Milton Eisenhower Library.
“Haunting Vision of Poe” was curated by Bolger and the students from her spring 2003 class at The Johns Hopkins University.
The museum is open Wednesday through Friday, 11 am until 5 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 11 am until 6 pm; and during the first Thursday of every month (except major holidays), 11 am until 8 pm. Admission is $7. The BMA is on Art Museum Drive at North Charles and 31st Streets. For information 410-396-7100 or artbma.org.