To the editor:
On June 17, Utica’s Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Institute’s Museum of Art exhibition, “Shadow of the Sphinx,” opened — with some treasures borrowed from Cazenovia on view.
The show is a gem, combining ancient Egyptian art with the later Western art it influenced. The great discoveries in Egypt of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, everything from the work of Napolean’s artists and scientists who accompanied his invasion of Egypt, to such things as the archaeologist Howard Carter‘s discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1922, engendered an enormous amount of Western creative energy in architecture, painting and sculpture, fashion, furniture, decorative objects and so on. The exhibition combines wonderful ancient objects with the highest level of the Western decorative art objects they influenced, jewelry, furniture, clothing, silver, porcelain, etc., along with paintings and prints that pictured Egypt and Eastern subjects.
The museum borrowed four ancient Egyptian objects from our Cazenovia Public Library’s collection, things collected by Cazenovia’s Robert Hubbard in Egypt in the late 19th century. In fact, the very first thing you see when you enter the exhibition is Cazenovia’s wonderful cartonnage mummy mask, placed squarely in the entrance.
The Utica exhibition also uses in its video presentation the loop of Hubbard’s trip down the Nile developed for our Library museum and available to be seen there.
A number of wonderful works of art both ancient and modern were borrowed from other institutions and private collections around the country, and the exhibition takes us, with posters, as far as the Hollywood versions of Cleopatra’s life of the 1930s and 40s.
Our library’s generosity in lending to the exhibition will be amply repaid by the satisfaction and edification of the many people from around the world who will see the show. The M-W-P Museum’s permanent collection of both American and foreign art is world-class, and there is also their adjoining Fountain View house, a perfectly maintained great Victorian American home which has superb examples of the decorative art and furnishings of that period.
The Egyptian exhibition will be up until Nov. 25, and it, and the museum’s other treasures, are well worth the short trip to Utica to see. Exit 31 from the Thruway, follow the sign for Utica and Genesee St. South, the museum is about two miles from the Thruway on Genesee St. in downtown Utica.
The M-W-P Museum’s director, Anna D’Ambrosio, will speak about the exhibition at the Cazenovia Library at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 11.