The works included in the exhibition, most of which have never been seen before in America, will be on loan to the BYU Museum of Art from churches and museums in Germany, Sweden, Denmark and New York. It is an all-new exhibit, with 20 beloved works of the Savior, plus 16 etchings.
“Our interest in Carl Bloch first started when we were able to purchase the Bloch painting ‘Christ Healing The Sick in Bethesda,” said Dawn Pheysey, Head Curator at The BYU Museum of Art. “One of our donors suggested that we see if there were more Carl Bloch paintings that we can buy. That certainly didn’t work out; people in Denmark really love their Carl Bloch paintings! We thought it would be wonderful to put together an exhibition of Carl Bloch’s paintings.”
“We started back out on that journey. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet with all the people in Denmark and Sweden. Through developing our relationship with them over the years, we now have the opportunity to borrow the paintings, both for the first Bloch exhibit and this one as well. It’s really been a journey of building relationships with these people,” said Pheysey.
The gifts of the exhibit:
This is truly an exhibit of many “Sacred Gifts”. The theme of the exhibit comes from LDS scripture “Behold thou hast a gift, and blessed art thou because of thy gift. Remember it is sacred and cometh from above—…And all these gifts come from God, for the benefit of the children of God.” (D&C 6:10 and D&C 46:26)
“The idea of Sacred Gifts, that title so struck me, because the essence of Riverside is the sacredness of art and music. It is something that has been embraced from the very beginning of the church,” said Karen McVoy-Stone, Church Council of The Riverside Church in New York City who loaned some of the paintings for this exhibit.
At a press conference held November 14 to introduce the exhibit to the public, Dawn Pheysey, Head Curator at The BYU Museum of Art, talked about the “sacred gifts” that all came together to create this amazing exhibit:
- The God-given talents of the artists as men of Faith: Carl Bloch, a Danish artist who felt his religious paintings were the greatest gift and contribution that he could make; Frans Schwartz, another Danish artist who believed in what he was doing and studied the scriptures; and Heinrich Hofmann, a German artist who made it a daily habit of studying the scriptures to truly have a personal relationship with God.
- The gift of many churches and museums who have allowed the museum to borrow the paintings for the exhibit
- The gift of museum to the community
- “Most importantly is the gift of our Savior, who is represented so well in this exhibition, and His many gifts to us,” Pheysey said.
The gift of… the lenders:
“It has been such a rich opportunity to get to know the people who maintain and cherish these works, and who have such a difficult time lending them,” said Mark Magleby, Museum Director of the BYU Museum of Art. “They love the paintings so much that in the first go-around in the Carl Bloch show three years ago, while many council members wanted to lend, they said ‘We just cannot bear to be without it.’ It’s an amazing thing that today it has come to us. We appreciate their love. We feel a great kinship now toward all of our lenders.”
The paintings in the Sacred Gifts exhibit have never been seen together. The paintings from Denmark, Sweden and Germany have never left their home before.
When The Riverside Church in New York City was first approached about lending the paintings for this exhibit, McVoy-Stone said that their answer was absolutely no. They love the paintings so much, and they are such a huge part of their church, that they just couldn’t bear to part with them. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. built The Riverside Church in New York City as a gift to the community, and purchased the paintings hanging there. The “Portrait Of Jesus” painting by Heinrich Hofmann was very important to Rockefeller, and it was his wish that it not be seen by just one person, that is was not staying in his house just for him to see, but that it was shared with many people.
“It’s important to have an open dialogue between people that have different Christian expression but the center of our being is Christ as our Savior,” McVoy-Stone said. “We are here having an open dialogue about Jesus, and it’s going to give a chance for the Riverside Community to learn more about the Mormon church, and it gives the Mormon church a chance to learn a little bit about the work of Riverside and how we may do things differently in church, but the center is Christ. You go through those doors, and you walk in, and you feel the presence of Jesus. You look at every picture from all three artists and you feel the spirit of Jesus. You feel that these men were following the Spirit to produce incredible art.”
Another lender for the artwork displayed in the exhibit is The Museum of National History at Frederiksborg Castle in Denmark. In 1859, a fire destroyed much of the interior of the castle. The King’s oratory was reconstructed, but the official paintings were lost.
“What else could we do then but to contact the best painter of that time,” said Henning Fode, Private Secretary to her Majesty the Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. “Carl Bloch was the best, and he made 23 new paintings in the years 1865 to 1879 to replace the original paintings. The original castle was established as a museum in 1878.”
These paintings are in the heart, and part of, the King’s oratory. They are part of the panels of the castle, and you have to dig them out of the walls. This is the first time this has been done. These paintings have never been out of the Castle, nor will they ever be again.
The Gift of…Museum to the community
This exhibit is very well put together. Here are a few extra features that the museum provides to help you get the full benefit of these extraordinary paintings:
- Introduction video: Make sure you take the seven minutes to watch the introductory video of this exhibit. It’s well worth it, and gives you an insight into what this exhibit is about and the gift it is to have in our community.
- iPad and headphones: The Museum has created an interactive iPad for this exhibit that is available to rent for three dollars. It provides an experience that you won’t get by just walking through the exhibit on your own. This isn’t just one of those listening devices that tell you about the painting. There is also music and other features about each painting included on the iPad.
In exchange for borrowing the paintings for this exhibition, the museum hired conservators that conserved the paintings prior to the exhibition opening. The process involved detailed cleaning and special techniques to revitalize and restore the paintings to their original beauty.
A gift…to you! GIVEAWAY and DISCOUNT
Enter to win a framed canvas print of “Agony In The Garden” by Frans Schwartz ($250. value)
Discount: Through the end of November, enter code BlogSG to receive 15% off when you order items through the Museum Store website.
The museum has also provided a giveway for Enjoy Utah readers!
Enter below to win a framed canvas print of “Agony In The Garden” by Frans Schwartz ($250.00 value). The winner will have the print shipped directly to their mailing address at no charge.
- Go to Enjoy Utah to enter to win.
- Your odds of winning are HIGHLY increased by reserving your tickets to this exhibit.
- Winner must respond to winning email within 24 hours and supply their mailing address to claim their prize. If not, a new winner will be chosen.
- Deadline to enter is Friday November 29th, 2013 at 11:59pm