Beginner Tour: Sheldon History www.ganzelgroup.com/ph10.html Who oversees the Sheldon Programs? Curator of Education Karen Janovy Sharon Kennedy Curator Jorge Daniel Veneciano became the new director of the Sheldon Museum of Art in July of 2008 Security & Facilities Supervisor
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Curator of Education
Jorge Daniel Veneciano became the new director of the Sheldon Museum of Art
in July of 2008
Security & Facilities Supervisor
My job at the Sheldon is Curator Of Education.
The best part of my job is watching the faces of visitors as they see how much fun they can have ‘Looking’
at the art at Sheldon!
The Sheldon is among the top university museums for 20th-Century American Art collections
particularly in the areas of Realism, American Impressionism, Cubism, Modernism, Pop, Minimalism, Geometric Abstraction, and Abstract Expressionism.
The Sheldon Museum of Art collects, studies, and presents American art in its historical diversity and transnational origins. Housing one of the country’s premier collections of American art, Sheldon is committed to being a national leader in developing multidisciplinary approaches to the visual arts. Our programs and activities explore manifold relationships among the arts, from music to architecture, philosophy to film, and performance to literature. We invite inquiry and imagination by fostering creative and critical thinking.
Located on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Sheldon supports the University’s objectives in academic research and teaching. In the public service tradition of land-grant institutions, our activities and outreach programs foster collaborations within the University and among our constituents in the community, Nebraska and the nation.
Everyone is Welcome!
The Sheldon's new hours as of June 1, 2009 are:
Tuesday, 10 am to 8 pm;
Wednesday through Saturday 10 am to 5 pm. Sunday noon to 5 pm.
The Sheldon is closed on Monday.
The outdoor Sculpture garden is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Admission is free!
Donations are encouraged.
Sheldon receives support from UNL for staff, supplies and services; endowments at the University Foundation, and also from the Sheldon Art Association, our dedicated support group.
The Sheldon building and all of the artwork in its collections are the result of the generosity of private donors.
So, how do they get art?
The Sheldon Art Association and people like you help buy the art. Many folks care about sharing their love of art with the community, in fact that is how our museum got here, with the help of what we call our ‘patrons.’
What the Sheldon staff does
with the art we can’t see!
The Sheldon sculpture garden, dedicated in 1970, contains 30 major examples of 20th-Century sculpture.
The Sculpture Garden!
The garden is about a five-block area on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus and extends itself and the impact of its contemporary sculpture into the downtown Lincoln area.
Auditorium is used for public
talks, concerts and slide shows,
and other activities.
It seats 299 people.
And look around it—it’s an artwork itself!
Do you know that
your group can rent the
How cool would that be!
The Ethel S. Abbott
The building is a work of art. So don’t forget to just look around at it!
If this building were your house, where would your room be?
How the Building came to be!
Notice that the graceful arches, and the symmetry of the overall plan are reminiscent of the classic temples of ancient Greece.
The building is concrete covered in the same Italian travertine that Johnson used inside of the Great Hall.
The travertine, limestone rather than marble, was cut so precisely that each piece is held by metal clips. It was quarried and cut near Rome, flown to Lincoln and put together like a big puzzle. An Italian foreman, who spoke no English, oversaw the placing of the travertine here in Lincoln.
Large disks around the lights in the ceiling of the Great Hall are covered with gold leaf to reinforce the elegance of the space, and provide textural contrast to the porous surface of the travertine.
At the time of construction, the Sheldon was considered to be the most expensive public building per square foot West of the Mississippi.
When the gallery opened in 1963, more than $3 million had been spent, and there was still money to add a sculpture garden and four large pieces of sculpture for it.
The Sheldon was the gift of Mary Frances Sheldon and her brother Adams Bromley Sheldon to the University of Nebraska for
“the purpose of constructing and equipping a gallery.”
The Sheldon family’s bequests (1950 and 1957) stated that the museum be designed by a famous architect known around the world. A university committee reviewed entries from several leading architects and chose noted New York architect Philip Johnson.
After attending Lincoln Public Schools, Abbott Academy, a girls school in Massachusetts, and the University of Nebraska, Frances became interested in art and art collecting.
Frances loved art and antiques. She and her sister-in-law, Olga Sheldon, came to the Spring Exhibitions of the Nebraska Art Association at Morrill Hall. Frances thought it was a “miserable place” to show artwork. She wanted a gallery where the art belonging to the Nebraska Art Association could be properly exhibited.
Frances was a shy person and lived in the family home at 2525 N Street
in Lincoln where she helped her father with his investments and banking work, managing the business after his death in 1936.
Frances never married. When she died in 1950, it was learned that she had left her entire collection, and funds, for an art museum to adequately exhibit the growing collections.
Her brother Bromley was the trustee of her estate. Frances had left the sum of $921,660.00, and all of the art in her home as a future gift to the Sheldon.
Bromley decided to add half of his estate ($675,000) to Frances’ trust. He died in 1957, and plans for the gallery began. Together, their gifts totaled around $1.5 million.
Kop Ramsey article, Omaha, Nebraska
Nebraskaland’s Weekly Magazine, Focus, January 18, 1970.
Lincoln Journal and Star, Lincoln, Nebraska
Karen Janovy, firstname.lastname@example.org, email to Jonathan Busky,
November, 30, 2001
Gladys Thompson article, December 1999
At age 17, Olga Nielsen graduated from Lexington High School, and the next year taught in a one-room country school near Elwood, Nebraska.
Olga was petite, soft spoken, quick to smile, and had a distinctive twinkle in her blue-gray eyes. She loved giving gifts that she brought home from trips. She was very active in the community, and was a very creative person. She cooked and sewed, and was also a great reader and entertainer
Olga’s father, Hans, managed a feed store and grain elevator in Lexington and also served as mayor and postmaster. It was Hans who introduced Olga to Adams Bromley Sheldon.
Bromley and his sister Frances were born in Vermont, then later moved to Lincoln where their father, George Sheldon, invested in stocks and real estate. George also owned a bank in Weeping Water, and had lumberyards in Cozad and Lexington.
Bromley attended Lincoln High School, and attended the University of Nebraska for a short time after that. Bromley then moved to Lexington to manage the Sheldon farms and lumberyard, and to make his fortune.
Bromley was tall and quite thin. He had deep-set eyes, prominent cheek bones, and a devilish grin. He usually dressed in tweeds and a sweater.
Olga and Bromley had no children. However, Olga helped many of her nieces and nephews with their education.. Together Olga and Bromley loved to play bridge, enjoyed the theater and traveling to New York City, Maine and Vermont.
In 1957, after a long illness, Bromley died. Olga was 60 years old.
Olga served on the committee to choose the architect, Philip Johnson, for the construction of Sheldon. She had a great hand in the planning and dedication of the building, and traveled to Italy to help in the selection of the travertine.
Olga, and then director of the Sheldon, Norman Geske, frequently visited art galleries in New York City together to look at possible acquisitions for the Gallery. Olga enjoyed a wide variety of art and was receptive to the work of artists of all kinds. Her most important purchase, as a memorial to her husband, was Princess X by Constantin Brancusi.
Not only did Olga Sheldon buy art for the museum, but she also made many important contributions to other activities of the Gallery. She paid for travel grants, training courses for staff members, and an annual award of a gallery assistantship to a graduate student in the University’s Department of Art. She was always a great believer in and supporter of education.
Olga received many awards, including the Distinguished Nebraskan Award. She was a life trustee of the Nebraska Art Association, and a director of the Nebraska Arts Council.
Olga set up the Olga Sheldon Acquisition Trust Fund. She died in 1990.
George Neubert, past Sheldon Director says, “Mrs. Sheldon’s understanding of the intrinsic value of art in society, and her uncommon generosity provided the foundation for the Sheldon Gallery’s commitment to excellence.”
Ground was broken on January 12, 1961 and the Sheldon was dedicated on May 16, 1963. It stands as a memorial to Mary Frances Sheldon and Adams Bromley Sheldon.
An Architect is a person who designs and builds buildings.
Before designing his first building at the age of 36, Philip Johnson had been client, critic, author, historian, museum director, but not an architect. In 1949, after a number of years as the Museum of Modern Art's first director of the Architecture Department, Johnson designed a residence for himself in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and later his famous Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut. Philip Johnson was the first recipient of the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize when it was established in 1979.
To read more go to: http://www.arcspace.com/camera/moran/glass_house/pages/20.htm
He built himself a house made from glass.
Philip C. Johnson’s Glass House, New Canaan, Connecticut, USA (North America)
Johnson is the architect who designed the Sheldon.
“breaking the rules” and thinking outside the box! He used his imagination!
As an art collector himself, Johnson understood the necessity of providing a neutral background enabling each work of art to be seen at its best advantage, yet at the same time creating a graceful and elegant building that, itself, exists as a work of art.
Johnson’s design for the museum is based in the geometric simplicity of the International Style of architecture.
…began in 1888, in a single room in what is now Architecture Hall. The collection grew so big, that it had to be moved to Morrill Hall in 1927.
The galleries exhibit art from the Sheldon’s permanent collection and special traveling exhibitions that come from other museums or art collections.
The Sheldon has 14 exhibitions each year and focuses on American 20th-Century art in all media, including video and installation art.
Exhibitions are taken from the permanent collection and also are borrowed from other museums.
The curatorial staff organizes exhibitions, many of which have been shared with other museums throughout the United States.
With more than 12,000 works of art, only a small portion of the Sheldon’s collection, is on view at any one time.
So take a look at the website or get down to the Sheldon and bring your family.
Images from the permanent
What do you see
in the picture?
Do you see a…
O’Keeffe painted this view of the Beverly Hotel in New York City when she was living on the 30th floor of the Shelton Hotel nearby. She lived here with her husband, Alfred Stieglitz, a famous photographer and patron of modernist artists. Both hotels are on Lexington Avenue.
She once said: “Lexington Avenue looked in the night, like a very tall bottle with colored things going up and down inside it.”
Does this seem to you like an O’Keeffe painting? It is very unusual as one of fewer than 20 night scenes she painted in New York before she moved to New Mexico to paint cow skulls, but after her very, very large flower paintings for which she is best known.
New York, Night
Do you see an…
Mrs. Sheldon wanted to honor her husband with a piece of art. She went to a New York gallery with former director, Mr. Geske, where they saw Princess X in a back room, beautifully lighted against a black curtain. Buying it for Sheldon Gallery was a major accomplishment.
The artist, Constantin Brancusi worked on the marble for many years, chiseling it down from an earlier sculpture now known only in a photograph called Woman Looking Into a Mirror. The story goes that it began as a portrait of Princess Maria Murat-Bonaparte, who was very vain, always looking at herself in a mirror that she held in her hand—even while she was eating! You can see marks on the side of her neck that Brancusi might have abstracted from the earlier version.
Princess X also exists in a bronze version.
Artist: Constantin Brancusi
Do you see a…
Hopper is best known for paintings about silence, or people not talking with each other as in Room in New York. The man is reading the paper, and the woman is plunking away on the piano trying to get his attention. Do you think she’ll succeed?
He liked to use his wife, Jo, as a model for many of his paintings. Why do you think they are dressed as they are?
Hopper was born in 1882 in Nyack, New York, and is recognized as the most important realist painter of 20th-century America.
Hopper was a student of Robert Henri, who lived as a youth in Cozad, Nebraska!
Room in New York
Who decides what Sheldon buys? Sheldon has a director and a curator, along with many other staff members. Their job is to learn about artists and what art the community would benefit from. If you think of something Sheldon should have, let them know.
What is a Docent?
A docent is a person who is your tour guide to help you see some great art and explore the building.
What’s going on in this painting? What do you see that tells you that?
The Sheldon has over 12,000 pieces of art and at least 15 folks to take care of all that art—some are volunteers.
Is it possible to spend the night in the Sheldon?
Sorry, the Museum is closed at night. No visitors are allowed to remain in the building. There are a few guards who keep an eye on the museum during the night shift!
How does the curatorial staff take care of the paintings?
It’s different for all kinds of art, but the basics are that they need to be kept in a certain air temperature (68-72 degrees) and at a certain level of humidity (50%). Humidity refers to the amount of moisture, or water, in the air. This helps prevent works of art from drying out, cracking, or becoming damp.
There are people known as art conservators, whose job is to take care of these objects of art.
Can we draw sketches of the paintings and sculptures?
Spend time looking first at the elements of art, line, shape, color, texture, and the principles of art repetition, balance, rhythm.
Then you will begin to see just how those components compare among individual artists throughout the course of history.
Feel free to ask questions
Security Station and Cameras - The security team keeps an eye on all galleries to be sure the art stays safe. The team uses cameras to observe all galleries.
Philip Johnson - There is a picture of Mr. Johnson (he is the architect who designed the museum,) somewhere in the Sheldon. It might not be a painting, but it’s there! He is known for his big black round glasses!
Travertine, inside and out. It’s really limestone though, and it’sfrom Italy. How does it feel? Smooth or rough? Why did Philip Johnson choose this material for the Sheldon?
Portrait - Before cameras were invented, artists painted portraits of people to record how they look. Artists today paint portraits to explore a person’s personality. Name one portrait you see_____________________
Lights - Look for them in the Great Hall surrounded by gold leaf. And look to see how they are used to make the artwork pop.
Symmetry - When you approach Sheldon before you walk up the stairs, do you see that the building is the same on both sides? Is it like that all the way around? How about when you peek inside? Windows? Stairs? Doorways?
Still Life - A still life is art that consists of non-moving objects such as fruit, books, flowers, furniture. Name one still life and tell a friend what objects are in the art and what shapes they are. ______________
Permanent Galleries- What is different about the permanent galleries and the other gallery
spaces? Museums may buy art, or sometimes pieces are given or lent to the museum. These
spaces help the curator decide where to put different pieces of art.
Princess X– A sculpture by Constantin Brancusi that is made of marble. It greets you when you visit. How does it look different than the travertine on the walls?
Realism can often be found in art objects.This style tries to show real and existing things as they appear. As you look at objects at Sheldon, see how many you think are ‘realistic.’
Auditorium - Inside of the Sheldon there is an auditorium. Can you find it? Why would there be an auditorium in an art gallery? Can an auditorium be a work of art?
Landscape - A painting of natural subjects such as mountains, trees, sky, fields…(you could have a cityscape or seascape also) Name a landscape you see. _______________________
Abstraction - Artists change or simplify the subject matter to show how they feel about the subject. Look to find lines, colors, shapes, value, and textures. Can you write the name of a piece of art that is abstracted? ______________________________
Staff - Who else do you see working at the Sheldon? Look for Karen Janovy, she is the Curator of Education, or Jorge Daniel Veneciano , he is the Director. Who else do you see at the Sheldon?
Hurry Back! Name one thing that you enjoyed about the Sheldon. It’s a free museum that has many new and exciting things to explore. What did you like best? Who could you bring back next time?____________________