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Who Knew? My WSJ Piece on the Arkell Museum at Canajoharie, NY

Diane Forsberg, director of the Arkell Museum, with one of her favorite paintings in its American art collection
George Inness, “The Passing Shower,” c. 1860-68
Photo by Lee Rosenbaum

Last month I wrote (here and here) about five well known art museums that are currently in extremis or slowly recovering from near-death experiences—the Detroit Institute of Arts, Corcoran Gallery, LA MOCA, American Folk Art Museum and Rose Art Museum.

But perhaps the most endangered art institutions are out-of-the-way, under-the-radar but meritorious museums that were hard hit by the 2008 recession and, with a relatively thin donor base, have not yet managed to bounce back to financial health.

I’ve written about one such—the 85-year-old Arkell Museum at Canajoharie, NY—for tomorrow’s (Thursday’s) Wall Street Journal, online today (linked below).

I’ll have more to say in tomorrow’s CultureGrrl about this trove of significant works by 18th- to early 20th-century American luminaries such as Gilbert Stuart, Mary Cassatt, Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins and George Bellows. Largely assembled by Bartlett Arkell, founder and first president of the Beech-Nut Packing Co. (later Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp.), it was a precursor to the corporate art collections that flourished in the late 20th century.

ArkellPhot.jpgBartlett Arkell in Canajoharie

I’ll be providing images tomorrow of the museum and of works mentioned in the piece but not illustrated in the Journal.

For now, have an advance look at Hidden in the Valley, my report from an economically depressed Erie Canal town whose Mohawk Indian name means “the place of the pot that washes
itself,” referring to a striking local geological feature—a circular cavity
eroded into a creek bed.

an ArtsJournal blog