Vermont collectors share prints, ceramics
By Adam Coughlin firstname.lastname@example.org
Anne and Harry Wollman of Woodstock, Vt., have spent their lives pursuing their passion. Over the past 40 years they have assembled a collection of expressionist and pop art prints and studio ceramics that has turned their home into a living museum. Now they will share this collection with the public.
“Cross Currents in 20th Century Art: Prints and Ceramics from the Anne C. and Harry Wollman Collection” will be on view at the Currier Gallery of Art from June 26 through Sept. 6. Associate curator Kurt Sundstrom said the museum doesn’t typically exhibit private collections but it does when something really special comes along, especially when the art is different than what the Currier typically focuses on. He said when the Museum closed in 2006, there was a discussion about a redirection that would showcase more local artists and private collections.
The Wollman collection focuses on pop prints and images by artists like Jime Dine and Jasper Johns, which the Wollmans began collecting when they were a young couple in Philadelphia. Their ceramics collections includes work by George Ohr and Jeff Shapiro.
It was through their mutual love of ceramics that Sundstrom met the Wollmans.
“They brought me to their house and I was amazed,” Sundstrom said. “I started thinking that this might be a serious possibility. Usually if you approach a serious collector about having a museum show, they’re all for it.”
The Wollmans have close to 1,000 pieces in their home; however, the exhibit will showcase 38 prints and 45 ceramics. Sundstrom said people don’t start out trying to have a world-class collection but it is something that evolves over time.
“You develop tastes and focus your collection,” Sundstrum said.
The Wollmans have also acted as patrons and have helped support many local and young artists. Since it is their own collection they have met most of the artists whose work they own. This leads to many great stories and personal anecdotes, which will be written out and on display with the works. This is one of the benefits of collecting modern art. As Sundstrum said, if you collect works of 17th-century painters you can’t really go into their studio and talk about the work. The Wollmans will also talk about their collection in person on Sunday, June 27, at 3 p.m. in the Currier auditorium.
In many ways private collections move the art industry, according to Sundstrum. Museums usually have to be deliberate and slowly collect the changing landscape of art. But private collectors are ahead of the game and often establish the market for modern art and push artists to fame.
But the real key is getting out ahead of a trend before it becomes fashionable. While Harry Wollman is a graduate of Harvard Medical School, he and his wife are not multi-billionaires. They began collecting pop art in the 1960s and ’70s and probably could not afford their collection today.
“They were buying pop art when we should have been buying it,” Sundstrum said.
“Cross Currents in 20th Century Art: Prints and Ceramics from the Anne C. and Harry Wollman Collection”
Where: Currier Museum of Art, 150 Ash St., Manchester, www.currier.org, 669-6144
When: June 26 through Sept. 6. Collectors conversation on Sunday, June 27, at 3 p.m.