BMA receives $5 million to create center for prints, drawings and photographs

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Baltimore Museum of Art
Baltimore Museum of Art Photo by Ethan McLeod

The Baltimore Museum of Art announced today that it has received a $5 million gift from longtime supporters Nancy Dorman and Stanley Mazaroff to establish a center dedicated to the presentation, study, and preservation of its 65,000-object collection of prints, drawings, and photographs.

The 7,000 square-foot space will be on the museum’s first floor, next to the previously announced Ruth R. Marder Center for Matisse Studies. It will be called The Nancy Dorman and Stanley Mazaroff Center for the Study of Prints, Drawings and Photographs.

The museum, which will reopen in phases starting tomorrow, is raising $10 million for the new center, and the gift from Dorman and Mazaroff is the largest single donation. Other funds will come from the State of Maryland, City of Baltimore, France-Merrick Foundation, and the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

Both of the museum’s new study centers are being designed by Quinn Evans Architects and are expected to open in the fall of 2021.

“For nearly two decades, Nancy Dorman and Stan Mazaroff have been remarkable stewards of the BMA, bringing their passion, expertise, and leadership to support the success and growth of our institution,” said museum board chair Clair Zamoiski Segal, in a statement.

“Their myriad contributions have helped the museum in enacting its vision to place on equal footing scholarship and accessibility, and today, we are once again inspired by their generosity and spirit.”

Considered one of the most significant holdings of works on paper in the United States, the museum’s collection features approximately 57,000 prints, 4,000 drawings, and 4,000 photographs from the 15th century through the present day.

One highlight is the George A. Lucas Collection, a resource for the study of 19th-century French prints, with works by Eugène Delacroix, Mary Cassatt and James Abbott McNeill Whistler, among others.

The collection also features European graphic works by such artists as Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Francisco de Goya, and Édouard Manet; modernist prints and drawings by Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, and Joan Miró; experimental photographs by Man Ray, Alfred Stieglitz, and Edward Weston; and 20th-century American photography by William Eggleston, Gordon Parks, and Carrie Mae Weems.

As part of its effort to include more art by women and artists of color, the museum has added contemporary works on paper by Sanford Biggers, Julie Mehretu, Wangechi Mutu, Faith Ringgold and Kara Walker, among others.

Plans call for the Dorman and Mazaroff center to include space for changing exhibits, study rooms, conservation, offices and storage. It will have teaching spaces for local colleges and universities, and areas to host visiting researchers and accommodate public programs.<

On the museum’s Board of Trustees since 2002, Dorman currently serves as its vice president and chair of its governance committee.

Before retiring in 2004, she was administrative general partner at New Enterprise Associates, a venture capital firm. She also worked in the Carter White House and in the offices of U. S. Senators Walter Mondale and Joseph Tydings.

Her husband, Mazaroff, is a retired lawyer and an art historian. From 1971 to 2001, he was a partner in the law firm of Venable, Baetjer & Howard. He also taught at the University of Maryland Law School and served as an arbitrator/judge under the auspices of the American Arbitration Association.

After retiring from Venable in 2001, Mazaroff enrolled full time as a special student in the art history department of Johns Hopkins University. Besides being an authority on the Frick Museum in New York, he is the author of two art history books published by Johns Hopkins University Press: Henry Walters and Bernard Berenson, Collector and Connoisseur, published in 2010, and A Paris Life, A Baltimore Treasure: The Remarkable Lives of George A. Lucas and His Art Collection, published in 2018.

The vision for the center is consistent with the museum’s broader strategic plan to invite more individuals, of varied backgrounds, to become familiar with its collection.

Along with establishing the physical center, the museum plans to digitize approximately 40,000 prints, drawings and photographs and make them accessible online.

“We are committed to the BMA’s mission to make art more accessible for a broad array of audiences and excited that our support will help the museum realize this goal,” Dorman and Mazaroff said in a statement.

“We are delighted that the center also aligns with our interest in contemporary photography and my research on the George A. Lucas Collection,” Mazaroff added.

The center will be headed by Andaleeb Badiee Banta, the museum’s senior curator and department head of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, and programmed by the BMA’s curatorial team.

Its inaugural exhibition will explore ideas of transfiguration, metamorphosis, masquerade, and “the fluidity of self-presentation” through an examination of works produced over five centuries.

Tentatively titled “Shape-Shifting: Transformation on Paper,” and curated by Banta and the Prints, Drawings & Photographs staff, the exhibit will focus on evolving expressions of identity and appearance.

According to the curators, it will range from “depictions of conversion in the natural and spiritual realms, to the splendid deception of early modern masquerades, to the posturing and performance of costume, drag, and bodily reinvention that reflect the spectrum of modern subjectivity.”

By creating the center, “we are bringing together in one space the core functions of the museum—preservation, study, preparation, and exhibition—and making them transparent to the public,” said museum director Christopher Bedford, in the announcement.

“At the same time, this dedicated center expands our capacity to serve both scholars and our wider community, who will have more access to this incredible range of works. We are very grateful to Nancy and Stan for their generosity and for sharing in our vision.”

Ed Gunts

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