While the Reunions weekend of May 31–June 3 offers alumni a variety of opportunities to celebrate their connection with Princeton, the Class of 1957 is marking its 50th reunion in a distinctly artistic way. A special exhibition at the University Art Museum will present works of art in the collections of class members, and a number of works have been promised as donations to the museum.
“There are several world-class collections in the class,” said Karl Kussorow, the museum’s assistant curator of later Western art. “This exhibition will offer a wonderful cross-section of works — the quality is very high.”
The exhibition was conceived by Jim Kraft ’57, who previously had donated a collection of more than 600 prints to the museum.
While the hope is that classmates would consider donating the art to the museum, Kraft said, no commitment was required to participate in the exhibit. He gave credit to classmates Henry Bessire, Stuart Feld, Byron Bell, and the late Richard Fisher for making the exhibition happen, and said he hoped its success would prompt future classes to work with the museum.
Museum Director Susan Taylor said the exhibition is “reconnecting alumni to Princeton in a very special and specific way.”
The exhibition, “’57 Collects: A 50th Anniversary Celebration,” opens May 19 and runs through Aug. 12. Kusserow said it will include about 40 works, from 15 to 20 members of the class, that range in style from African to pre-Columbian to Greek, Old Masters, and a number of American pieces.
About 25 percent of the works have been promised as gifts to the museum, Kusserow said, and the museum hopes that number will increase. “Alumni donations have been the lifeblood of this institution,” he said.
Kusserow said the museum was particularly excited about the donation by Feld and his wife, Sue, of a work painted about 1880 by the American artist Eastman Johnson, a study for “A Glass with the Squire.” Said art and archaeology professor John Wilmerding: “It is not often a single gift could be said to represent a transformative moment for the Art Museum’s holdings, but this is one to welcome with huzzahs.”
The Alumni Association expects about 20,000 alumni, their family, and friends to visit the campus during Reunions. President Tilghman will hold her annual conversation with alumni Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in Richardson Auditorium, with the P-rade stepping off at 2 p.m. The University Orchestra will perform at Finney and Campbell fields at 8 p.m., followed by fireworks at 9:15 p.m.
Alumni-faculty forums will be held Friday and Saturday mornings and Friday afternoon, with topics that include balancing work and personal life, civil liberties in an age of counter-terrorism, the future of the arts at Princeton, and the place of the athlete in the university.
For a complete schedule of Reunions events, visit the Alumni Association’s Web site at http://www-alumni-edit.princeton.edu/main/goinback/.