A New Look: Samuel F.B. Morse’s Gallery of the Louvre
Anna O. Marley, Curator of Historical American Art
A New Look: Samuel F.B. Morse’s Gallery of the Louvre told a fascinating tale about art education, mentorship and practice, and learning from historical art. The Morse installation set the painting into an environment that mirrored what is shown in the picture. While the Morse painting was on one side of the gallery with objects that helped provide a broader context for the themes of artistic practice and identity, the other half of the gallery was hung salon-style with paintings from the Museum's collection that highlight the four academic genres taught and exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) in the first half of the 19th century. In the fall of 2012, PAFA also highlighted its own tradition of copying from the masters by holding its demanding copy class in the museum, giving visitors an opportunity to encounter a gallery installed like the one depicted by Morse as well as actively used by artists in the same way represented in Morse's painting.