Memorial Art Gallery
The Memorial Art Gallery is the civic art museum of Rochester, New York. Founded in 1913, it is part of the University of Rochester and occupies the southern half of the University's former Prince Street campus. It is the focal point of fine arts activity in the region and hosts the annual Rochester-Finger Lakes Exhibition and Clothesline Art Festival.

History
The Gallery is a memorial to James George Averell, a grandson of Hiram Sibley. After Averell died of cholera at age 26, his mother, Emily S. Watson (by then the wife of James Sibley Watson), spent several years seeking a way to publicly commemorate him. Meanwhile Rush Rhees, president of the University of Rochester, had been looking for benefactors to help him add to the University's campus, then located on Prince Street in the City of Rochester. Hiram Sibley had some 30 years previous funded the construction of the University's library which displayed part of Sibley's art collection on its upper floor for a time, but Rhees wanted to construct a dedicated art gallery. The Rochester Art Club, which was the focal point for art enthusiasts of the area and which had exhibited and taught at art venues of the time ( Reynolds Arcade, the Bevier Memorial Building, and the Powers Block) provided the manpower to staff the gallery. Rhees assembled a board of managers, including the Art Club's president, George L. Herdle, in November of 1912 and by the eighth of the following October, presided over the Gallery's opening. The inaugural exhibition consisted of paintings from dealers for sale, with the Gallery taking a 10% commission. The most wealthy families immediately gifted their purchases to the gallery to start its permanent collection. Exhibits in the early years of the Gallery consisted of loans from the private collections of George Eastman, the Sibleys, the Watsons, and other prominent Rochester families. Herdle labored mightily to keep the Gallery's walls filled with new works until his untimely death in 1922 at which point his daughter and University of Rochester graduate, Gertrude L. Herdle began what would become a 40 year career as the museum's director. Another daughter, Isabel C. Herdle, served in various curatorial roles during the same period after schooling at Harvard University the University of London, and the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and stints at the Fogg and the de Young museums.

In all of its years of operation, the Gallery has endured only two thefts: During a 1927 Buddhist exhibition, a youth made off with a Tibetan banner on loan from a local family. Some twenty years later, after the youth had developed into a career fencer, police recovered the banner from his small apartment. Also, in 1978, someone pinched Picasso's Flowers in a Blue Vase during a busy Sunday afternoon; the painting found its way back to the Gallery within three weeks. The Gallery, though sited on the University of Rochester's campus, existed as a separate organization from the University until 1935, when Alan Valentine renegotiated the 1912 charter.

Collections
The Gallery's permanent collection comprises some 11,000 works mostly donated to the museum by prominent Rochesterians, but some acquisitions have been funded through the Marion Stratton Gould fund. Notable works include:
  • Jean-Léon Gérôme's Interior of a Mosque, the only painting from Hiram Sibley's original collection still in the Gallery's possession
  • Egyptian and Eastern Mediterranean antiquities from the collection of Herbert Ocumpaugh, a 19th century businessman
  • Near East antiquities from the collection of Edwin Barber Morgan's son
  • English and Continental silver from the 17th through 19th centuries from the collection of Ernest Woodward, heir to the Jell-O fortune
  • George Eastman's collection of about 60 Old Master, British, Dutch, American, and French Barbizon School paintings
  • El Greco's The Apparition of the Virgin to St. Hyacinth
  • Portrait of Colonel Nathaniel Rochester, attributed to John James Audubon
  • Woman in Red by Maud Humphrey. Her son, Humphrey Bogart, also loaned two of her sketches to a 1952 exhibition.
  • William Congdon Eiffel Tower #1, Marion Stratton Gould Fund
  • Milton Avery's Haircut by the Sea, donated by Roy Neuberger in 1963
The Gallery exhibited still photography and motion pictures until the 1949 opening of the George Eastman House. The Gallery began featuring arts and crafts of various immigrant groups starting in 1919. Director George Herdle was known to ask Italian, Pole, Dane, Dutch, English, Near Eastern, Greek, Armenian, Lithuanian and Ukrainian families to loan items from their attics and basements.

Community involvement
Besides hosting exhibitions, classes, and student programs, the Gallery puts on two major annual events: The Rochester-Finger Lakes Exhibition and the Clothesline Arts Festival.
  • The Rochester-Finger Lakes Exhibition is a biennial competition for artwork from New York's 19 westernmost counties. It is judged by guest jurors, which have included Charles E. Burchfield, John Bauer, former director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, and Thomas Messer, former director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Past winners include Wendell Castle, Albert Paley, Honoré Sharrer, Hans Christensen, Bill Stewart, Graham Marks, and Kathy Calderwood. It grew out of the Rochester Art Club's annual members-only exhibition starting in 1914, and became a separate event in 1938 under its current name.
  • The Clothesline Art Festival is an open-air exhibition where visitors buy artwork directly from exhibitors combined with art workshops, live entertainment, and food. The Gallery reluctantly initiated the Festival as an unjuried show in 1957 after the conclusion of a particularly acrimonious Rochester-Finger Lakes Exhibition, but the Festival has consistently proved a crowd-pleaser as well as a means to bolster the Gallery's budget.


Facilities
The museum is located on the University of Rochester's former Prince Street campus and consists of the following structures:

Directors Name Title Tenure Other affiliations George L. Herdle Director November 1, 1912 ”“ 1922 Rochester Art Club Gertrude L. Herdle (later Gertrude H. Moore) Director 1922 ”“ June, 1962 University of Rochester Harris K. Prior Director 1962 ”“ 1975 Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Museum John A. Mahey Director October, 1975 ”“ March 8, 1979 Cummer Art Gallery, Crocker Art Museum Bruce W. Chambers Acting director March 9, 1979 ”“ January 30, 1980 University of Iowa Museum of Art, Fashion Institute of Technology, Emory University, University of Rochester A. Bret Waller Director January 31, 1980 ”“ 1984 Michigan Museum of Art, J. Paul Getty Museum Grant Holcomb Director 1985 ”“ present Timken Gallery Structures Name Photo Description Main gallery Inspired by the Tempio Malatestiano (which Averell had sketched in a visit to Italy), it was primarily executed by John Gade, though Claude Bragdon was nominally involved. A 1926 expansion designed by Stanford White's son doubled the floor and wall space and added the fountain court as a venue for live music performances. The fountain was designed by Gaston Lachaise and inspired by the Putto with Dolphin of the Palazzo Vecchio. 1968 wing The 1968 wing was built as an expansion to provide more configurable exhibit space. It opened in August 1968. The Cutler Union Originally constructed as the women's student union for the University of Rochester, funded by a bequest from James Goold Cutler, it was first opened in September 1933. The Gallery held classes in its basement for many years until the University gave it to the Gallery in 1987. It features a massive gothic spire. The Vanden Brul pavilion An enclosed, skylit sculpture garden linking the 1968 wing to the Cutler Union, opened in May 1987, named for board member and donor Herbert W. Vanden Brul's parents The Gertrude Herdle Moore sculpture garden