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MAG Mysteries

By Jessica Marten, Assistant Curator

When a work of art enters the collection, a curator asks many questions. Who made it? When? Why? For whom? What does it mean? How was it used?

The Memorial Art Gallery collection is full of mysteries waiting to be solved. Here are two intriguing works recently acquired. Carved Box arrived with no information about its origin or use and offers an exciting opportunity for research and discovery.


Unknown, American
Carved Box
Bequest of Isabel C. Herdle, 2005.157

While we know the ‘who’ and the ‘when’ of the painting Fame by James Carroll Beckwith, we have yet to determine the ‘why’ of this enigmatic work.

image004 10-08-28

Beckwith, James Carroll (American, 1852 – 1917)
Fame, 1878
Oil on canvas
Gift of Dr. Lynn Rosen in memory of Dr. Samuel Schwartz, 2009.75

Go to the new installation in the Memorial Art Gallery‘s Hassam corridor if you’re interested in finding out more about these intriguing works.

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