Exhibitions / The Collection Galleries

On view May 28, 2016 - May 27, 2018

Highlighting 5,000 years of art, The Collection Galleries contain rotating installations of the Nasher Museum’s extensive holdings. Eight galleries, and also the entrance to Wilson Pavilion, are dedicated to the collection’s strengths, which include a variety of cultures and time periods. The Incubator is a flexible gallery used for continuously changing faculty- and student-curated projects and thematic installations. These galleries provide context for the collection while also illustrating a brief history of human creativity from different parts of the world. Visit often to make new discoveries at the Nasher!

Currently on view in the adjoining Incubator gallery, to the right, is the small exhibition Miserere et Guerre on view through July 23. A series of 19 intaglio prints by French artist Georges Rouault (1871–1958) are shown. The series depicts the political turmoil, human devastation, spiritual desolation and deep longing felt in Europe during World War I and leading up to World War II. The prints present a persistent concern for the poor and marginalized, searing criticism of the ruling class and unapologetic religious devotion. This exhibition is a collaboration of the Nasher Museum with Duke Chapel and Duke Divinity School.

The Ancient World covers a broad geographical and chronological reach, featuring works from ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman cultures. Medieval Europe displays important architectural sculpture, devotional objects and stained glass from the Romanesque and Gothic periods. European Art, 1400-1900, illustrates cultural and aesthetic changes from the Renaissance to the dawn of the modern period through a variety of objects, paintings and sculptures.

Art of the United States, 1800-1950, begins with portraiture from the early Republic, continues with Hudson River School painting and Ash Can School works, and concludes with examples of Regionalism. Selections from the Photography Collection, drawn from the Nasher Museum’s collection, presents 160 years of photographic history and includes several recent and significant gifts. The earliest works are two portraits from the 1840s by the pioneering Scottish duo, David Octavius Hill and Robert Adamson, which are some of the first paper photographic prints made from negatives. Throughout the 19th century, the nascent medium grew to include still life, documentary travel and landscape subjects, represented here in works by Peter Henry Emerson, Adolphe Braun and Ferdinand Finsterlin

Two galleries dedicated to non-Western cultures include Art of the Americas, presenting ceramics, metalwork and textiles from Mesoamerica, and African Art, featuring many of the museum’s best masks, figural sculpture and beadwork from the African continent


Book of Hours
The Nasher Museum’s Book of Hours (Workshop of Jean Bourdichon, c. 1490) is a fine example of 15th-century French manuscript production. It has 156 pages, including daily prayers for Christian devotion, a calendar of saints’ days and 13 full-page paintings, or miniatures, depicting religious scenes and vignettes associated with then-contemporary life. Now visitors can explore these 13 richly illustrated pages in detail with a new digital program. The Nasher Museum’s Book of Hours is on view in the European room of The New Galleries. Visitors can also explore the book online; it is compatible with smart phones, tablets and desktop/laptop computers.


Lives of Things

The Nasher Museum presents “Medieval Color Comes to Light,” an interactive light painting application that allows visitors to project vibrant colors onto 800-year-old limestone sculptures depicting four disciples of Christ. The digital interactive display reveals bright pigments that have been worn away by the centuries. The project team of Duke faculty and students, “Lives of Things,” was led by professor Mark Olson from the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies, and post-doctoral researcher Mariano Tepper from Computer and Electrical Engineering, in collaboration with professors Caroline Bruzeluus (AAHVS) and Guillermo Sapiro (CEE).


Nasher Museum exhibitions and programs are generously supported by the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, the late Mary D.B.T. Semans and James H. Semans, the late Frank E. Hanscom III, The Duke Endowment, the Nancy Hanks Endowment, the Courtney Shives Art Museum Fund, the James Hustead Semans Memorial Fund, the Janine and J. Tomilson Hill Family Fund, the Trent A. Carmichael Fund for Community Education, the Neely Family Fund, the E. T. Rollins, Jr., and Frances P. Rollins Fund for the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, the Marilyn M. Arthur Fund, the Sarah Schroth Fund, the George W. and Viola Mitchell Fearnside Endowment Fund, the Gibby and Michael B. Waitzkin Fund, the K. Brantley and Maxine E. Watson Endowment Fund, the Victor and Lenore Behar Endowment Fund, the Margaret Elizabeth Collett Fund, the Nasher Museum of Art General Endowment, the Friends of the Nasher Museum of Art, and the Office of the President and the Office of the Provost, Duke University.