Decade of Decisions: The Shaping of a Collection

July 17, 2014 - September 07, 2014

The Fort Wayne Museum of Art’s Collection began with the gift of ten paintings from Theodore Thieme in 1921.  Over the next 82 years, the Collection grew to include 1,300 works of art.  Beginning in 2003 with the arrival of new executive director Charles A. Shepard III, the expansion of the Collection became a high priority.  As senior curator, Shepard was committed to greatly broadening the scope of the Collection and dramatically increasing its size.  With the support of a very forward-thinking Board of Trustees, Shepard set about adding historic and contemporary furniture, silver, crystal, ceramics, fiber, stone, glass, photography, and metal objects into a Collection that previously consisted primarily of works on paper.

Over the past decade, Shepard has more than doubled the Collection, and its growth continues still. The acquisition of each object requires research and decision-making.  Various questions arise, including the most basic: Is this a great piece? Will it be a good fit in our Collection?  Can we afford it?  Or can we convince its owner to give it to us?

This exhibition highlights just a sample of the many works of art that Shepard has acquired for the Museum and illustrates some of the decisions that he has made in the past ten years.