In This Issue
Director's Letter
Guest of Honor
News and Notes

Director's LetterDirector's Letter

Graham W.J. Beale, Director 

Several years ago, the DIA acquired an exquisite sixteenth-century amber and carved ivory casket (on view on the third-floor balcony near the Farnsworth elevators). We reserved it at the Maastricht Art Fair in early March 2008, but it took about six months for the museum to get a thorough inspection and present a formal proposal to the Collections Committee for the DIA to acquire it. The reason for the delay was because of U.S. laws banning the import of ivory, intended to counter the slaughter of elephants in Africa--something, I think, we can all support. The process of demonstrating to the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) that the ivory in our casket could not possibly be linked to the current crisis took a while, but the object finally made it into the collection. The law itself was passed decades ago, but FWS had been given the discretion to permit the import of ivory under certain circumstances.

Well, no more. Under an executive order, FWS has been instructed to enforce the ban fully, a decision that is having unintended consequences for U.S. museums. I was in an old and respected art dealership in London a few months ago when I commented enthusiastically about a display cabinet designed around 1850 by the influential architect and designer Owen Jones. The dealer said "too bad" and pointed out to me that as the inlay was ivory, it could not be imported into the United States. The ban also means that ivory objects on temporary loan to exhibitions cannot be brought into the country--a factor that would have had quite an effect on our exhibition of a few years ago, Michelangelo, the Medici, and Late Renaissance Florence.

The Association of Art Museum Directors has joined forces with art dealers, musicians, and others to talk to representatives of the FWS and see if some of these unfortunate by-products of the regulations can be modified to allow normal business to go forward without further endangering the African elephant. I am told that the FWS people are sympathetic to the art world's plight, but changing the original legislation is not something that's going to happen overnight, and the executive branch of our government has a few other things to worry about that trump the concerns of art dealers, museums, and collectors. There are likely many exhibitions and art acquisition plans that will be adversely affected as long as the current state of affairs pertains.

I was told recently that if it can be proved definitively that the ivory is not from an African elephant--from an Indian one, perhaps, or a completely different animal, like a walrus--it may be let through. But this would entail tests and, from what I've been told, they are invasive, requiring samples be taken from the object. Even then, the results of prior tests are not altogether reliable. So, it looks like no more ivory caskets for the time being.

Graham Beal Signature
Graham W. J. Beal

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Detroit Walk-In Portrait StudioPhotographs from the Detroit Walk-In
Portrait Studio by Corine Vermeulen

November 14, 2014-May 17, 2015
Desalle Photography Gallery

As an artist and photographer, Corine Vermeulen sees her role as telling a story about humanity at a particular time, in a particular place, in this case Detroit. This exhibition celebrates her images of the city's grassroots and community responses to crisis.

In 2013 and 2014, the Detroit Institute of Arts collaborated with Vermeulen to stage temporary portrait studios at selected sites around the city. From July 2013 through May 2014, she partnered with a variety of Detroit-based organizations and informal social groups to make pictures in what has been dubbed the "Detroit Walk-In Portrait Studio." The series was intended to illuminate the unique social circumstances and individuals that have shaped positive social responses and solutions to life in the city.

A Dutch-born photographer who has lived and worked in Detroit since 2001, Vermeulen began her first walk-in portrait studio in a neighborhood rich with diversity on the city's northeast side. The first studio led to others and an evolving interest in grassroots organizations and people who have strived to make a better life in the city for family, friends, and the members of the community at large. The exhibition includes portraits from individuals at the Catherine Ferguson Academy, D-Town Farm, The James and Grace Lee Boggs School, and Recycle Here! among others. She also photographed at local public rallies where concerned citizens gathered to raise visibility about community issues.

Free with museum admission

Above: Ron, West Side Riders, 2013 (printed 2014), pigment print; Corine Vermeulen, Dutch. Courtesy of the artist and the Susanne Hilberry Gallery.

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Ordinary People by Extraordinary ArtistsOrdinary People by Extraordinary Artists
Works on Paper by Degas, Renoir, and Friends

Through March 29, 2015
Schwartz Galleries of Prints and Drawings


The Pinned Hat, about 1898, lithograph; Pierre-Auguste Renoir, French. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Bernard F. Walker


Like his colleagues Edgar Degas, �douard Manet, Pierre Bonnard, and �douard Vuillard, Pierre-Auguste Renoir turned to the people around him for the subjects of his endearing compositions. Renoir was not interested in recording a person's likeness for posterity, a photograph could do that instead. "Photography freed [art] from a lot of tiresome chores, starting with family portraits," he said.

Instead, Renoir explored ways to convey impressions of warmth and intimacy, favoring a light touch that was expressive and impressionistic, as can be seen in the pictures of children, his own as well as those of friends. In the monumental lithograph The Pinned Hat, the two girls are the daughter and niece of Renoir's friend Berthe Morisot, whose work is also in the exhibition. The print of a child eating a biscuit is the artist's second son, Jean, who became the noted film director, and an undated crayon drawing is his youngest son, Claude, known as Coco.

Guided tours of the exhibition are Tuesday through Friday at noon and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Free with museum admission.

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Guest of HonorGuest of Honor

Waterlily Pond, Green HarmonyWaterlily Pond, Green Harmony

Through January 4, 2015
Special Exhibition Gallery: Central


Waterlily Pond, Green Harmony (detail), 1899, oil on canvas; Claude Monet, French. Mus�e d'Orsay, Paris, Bequest of Count Isaac de Camondo 1911 �RMN (Mus�e d'Orsay)/Herv� Lewandowski


Aside from painting and gardening, I'm good for nothing.

--Claude Monet

Monet combined both his passions in this this painting, creating a work of art of the garden he created at his home in Giverny. Monet moved there in 1883 with his family and purchased the property and some adjacent land the following decade. He diverted a small stream to create the pond and surrounding gardens, which provided the main subject for his work, until his death in 1926.

In 1899 Monet painted twelve, mostly square, canvases of the pond in different light conditions but from the same vantage point. In these works he celebrates his garden of massed flowering plants, with the water visible through the leaves and flowers, showing reflections of the sky, and of the willows, reeds, and other foliage around the pond.

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Detroit Film TheatreDetroit Film Theatre

Immerse yourself in three days of rarely shown works by some of Poland's most celebrated filmmakers during the DFT's Martin Scorsese Presents: Masterpieces of Polish Cinema, opening later this month. The noted director, through his nonprofit Film Foundation, created the series as a means of promoting Polish films, ranging in date from 1957 to 1987, through the screening of digitally restored films with newly translated English subtitles.


Eight films are scheduled for screening between Friday, November 28, and Sunday, November 30, beginning with Man of Iron (left), which follows the 1980 shipyard workers' strike in Gdansk that led to the formation of the Solidarity trade union. Also on tap that weekend is Ashes and Diamonds, the story of a young Polish resistance soldier at the end of World War II who reaches a painful crossroads when the brutal rule of the Nazi invaders is replaced by a communist regime, and Pharaoh, an epic that centers on the young Egyptian ruler Ramses XIII, who has to face his country's external enemies and internal power struggles. Click here for the complete Polish film series, which continues with a screening in December and into 2015.


The matinee series of Alec Guinness's comedies, held in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the actor's birth, comes to a close with showings of The Ladykillers (left) and The Lavender Hill Mob, on Saturday November 8, and Saturday, November 22 respectively.

Catch Frank Pahl and Little Bang Theory as they accompany the showing of Alfred Hitchcock's 1920 silent thriller The Lodger, based on the crimes of London's Jack the Ripper. The film introduced the theme that would run through much of Hitchcock's later work: the innocent man on the run, hunted down by a self-righteous society. The Friday, November 21, screening at 7:30 p.m. is free with museum admission.

For a complete schedule or to purchase tickets, check the DFT website.

Presented by

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News and NotesNews and Notes

Late Night Gala Celebration


Go "mod" and join us for the Detroit Institute of Arts' Late Night Gala Celebration on Saturday, November 8, beginning at 9 p.m. This year's gala, the museum's most significant fundraiser of the year, celebrates the permanent collection. Enjoy drinks, dancing, and dessert in style. Valet parking available at the John R entrance. Colorful cocktail attire is appropriate. Tickets ($100) at tickets.dia.org or 313.833.7971.



Take in the all-ages puppet performance of The Selfish Giant during the Thanksgiving weekend. The Blair Thomas and Company Puppet Theater uses original puppets and music tell the story of a grumpy old giant who forbids the children in his village from playing in his beautiful garden. After the children are locked out, the trees and flowers refuse to grow and the garden plunges into an eternal winter. Then one morning, the children sneak back into the garden, bringing with them the joyous rebirth of spring. This innovative staging of Oscar Wilde's classic tale can be seen on Friday and Saturday, November 28 and 29 at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., and Sunday November 30, at 2 p.m.

In the Shop

With the opening of the DIA's newest exhibition, Photographs from the Detroit Walk-In Portrait Studio, there's photo fun in the museum shop. There's a wonderful selection of photography-related gifts, including numerous books, and fun kits and cameras, from the Diana Camera to the DIY Paper Pinhole Camera.

Get a jump start on writing your season's greetings by purchasing your holiday cards now. Among the offerings are cards featuring Santa's Elves in Rivera Court, Mark Rothko Red and White, and Fra Angelico's Annunciatory Angel. You are sure to find the perfect sentiment for your loved ones near and far. Shop in store during regular museum hours, or online, anytime at diashop.org.

Giving Tuesday

Please support the DIA this holiday season by remembering the museum on Giving Tuesday, December 4, the first Tuesday following Thanksgiving. Introduced last year, this national day of charitable giving follows Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Consider giving to the DIA's Annual Fund, which provides crucial funding for almost every museum purpose, from conservation of fragile artwork to art education, community outreach, and special exhibitions.

Please make your gift online at www.dia.org/donate or call 313.833.7971.

And don't forget the museum shop as a destination for Small Business Saturday or buy online for Cyber Monday.

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Detroit Institute of Arts
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