The old saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words.” We think any artwork is worthy of this claim and then some. A photo, a model or an illustration can go a long way in telling a story. A story about an object, a time, a place or a people. Artwork is often our truest storyteller and teacher of days gone by.
The Addison Gallery of American Art, located in Andover, Massachusetts, is home to more than 20,000 pieces of art spanning nearly 4 centuries. Created in 1931 by Thomas Cochran with the goal "to enrich permanently the lives of the students,” the museum still serves as a teaching resource for Phillips Academy students and faculty as well as an art center for the greater Boston area and the nation at large.
When we first met Anna Gesing from Addison at MSA 2017, we knew immediately that there was great potential to collaborate on a collection that would capture the essence of unique pieces throughout the museum. Both Anna’s, and our minds, went to work combing through the different possibilities for a custom collection to be sold in their Gift Shop. After much consideration, what we landed on seemed to be the essence of Thomas Cochran’s original ideal for the museum- to enrich and educate. Both ideas used hold significance in American History and tell a story of the museum itself.
The Addison holds many great treasures, but one of the first visitors see when they walk in is the stunning Paul Manship designed fountain, Venus Anadyomene (1927). This treasure was commissioned by Cochran (who was a friend of Manship). Anna Gesing of Addison states, “It is one of the most iconic works in the Addison’s collection that I had wanted to do something with for the longest time. Maizie’s design of the fountain translated so well on the ornaments, bud vases and trays. They are so beautifully simple that they stand out.”
Cochran also commissioned a 24 ship model collection to be housed permanently at Addison. He felt the ships presented American art in the broadest sense, highlighting the skill of the artisan as well as the talent of the artist. Of these 24 ships, 3 were carefully selected to be illustrated by Maizie and to represent the collection as a whole- Flying Cloud(1851), Dreadnaught (1853), and Corsair (1899). Photos of the models (and the rest of the collection) can be viewed here. Anna Gesing of Addison knew the importance of this collection and the need for it to stand out, “The Addison’s collection of ship models was another of the highlights that I wanted to do something with. But what? Not another postcard that’s for sure. The serving bowls that Maizie created with images of a few of the ships is my favorite work of hers. They “sail” across the rim with such elegant beauty. I’m really excited to have Maizie’s custom work in our Museum Shop and hope to continue working with her on other creations.”
Great care is always taken when we work with our clients to recreate the work of other artists and craftsmen. Even though our medium is quite different than that of a model builder or sculptor, we strive to capture the essence of the story being told.
From architecture to pieces in permanent or traveling museum collections, the driver for a guest to take home a piece of their visit lies within the the importance, intrigue, emotion and memory of how something made them feel. We are sure your guests will leave with (at least) a thousand words about their visit and one unique piece to sum it all up.