This complete reinstallation project brings renewed attention to geographic and chronological specificity and context, while more than doubling the works of art on view. the Davis. ReDiscovered is the most ambitious project of its kind since the Davis Museum building, designed by renowned Spanish architect Rafael Moneo, opened in 1993.
Moneo’s Davis Museum is the fourth home to the collection on campus. The Wellesley art collection, initiated by Henry Fowle Durant and Pauline Durant with the founding of the College in 1875, was originally displayed in great College Hall, the primary residential and classroom building. It was later housed in the Farnsworth Art Building, founded in 1889, and then in Paul Rudolph’s 1958 Jewett Arts Center, a masterpiece of mid-century Modern architecture. “Over three years in the making, the reinstallation demonstrates the pedagogical innovation, the bold approach to curatorial practice, and the aesthetic flair that distinguish today’s Davis. This project showcases the many stories, both local and global, that animate the objects in the Davis collections and reveals a collection that supports the legacy of Wellesley’s pioneering approach to teaching art history, as well as inspires a longstanding commitment to the value of learning,” said Dr. Lisa Fischman, Ruth Gordon Shapiro ’37 Director of the Davis Museum at Wellesley College. “We want to reintroduce our community to the hidden gems in our collections, to honor Wellesley’s legacy of teaching through first-hand encounters with art across cultures, and to celebrate the power of giving that has built these extraordinary collections and the building that houses them.”
Over three floors and eleven galleries, the Museum is more than doubling the number of works of art that will be on view from approximately 300 to more than 620 objects. In total, the Davis holdings have grown to include nearly 13,000 objects, with areas of strength in painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, and decorative objects, from antiquity to the present day.