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Rare book unveiled by CB

Matisse and more at ASU.

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MATISSE AT ASU: His "Poesies Antilliases" are part of the Erwin Collection show.
  • MATISSE AT ASU: His "Poesies Antilliases" are part of the Erwin Collection show.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announced another acquisition last week: “Victoria Regia, or the Great Water Lily of America,” an 1854 book that includes six chromolithographical plates by botanical artist William Sharp and text by John Fisk Allen.

The book is being displayed in a protective case at Crystal Bridges at the Massey in downtown Bentonville along with the “International Exhibition of Botanical Art and Illustration,” 71 drawings, prints and watercolors from the Hunt Institute of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. The book will be displayed through May 4, and different plates in the book will be featured each week.

Chromolithography was a new technique when the book was published and because of the plates the book has been praised as one of the most beautiful tomes of botanical illustration ever printed in the United States.

The Victoria Regia, or Victoria Amazonia, a native of South America, is the largest water lily in the world; one grown in London was six feet across. Allen grew the specimen on which Sharp based his drawings in Salem, Mass.

“Victoria Regia” will be part of the Crystal Bridges art reference library when the museum opens in 2010.

Arkansas State University is exhibiting for the first time works on paper donated by Claude M. Erwin Jr., an alumnus who collected 20th century art by French masters and other artists of renown.

The exhibit, “Selections: From the Claude M. Erwin Jr. Collection,” features work by Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, Salvador Dali, Henri Matisse, Georges Rouault, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cezanne, Edouard Manet, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Marc Chagall, and Raoul Dufy.

Erwin, who now lives in Dallas, was originally from Newport and graduated from ASU with a degree in economics. A pair of 18th century engravings in a Batesville antique shop got Erwin started on his collecting career. He gave 31 works of art to ASU in 1998; they'll make up the majority of the exhibit.

The exhibit runs March 6 through April 18 (closed March 15-23 for spring break) in the Bradbury Gallery. Gallery hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. A reception is set for 5 p.m. March 6.

n Alice Guffey Miller of Monticello, known for the use of recycled materials in her work, has been selected by the Historic Arkansas Museum to create a sculpture in honor of its late board member Peg Smith. The sculpture will be of several figures square dancing, an allusion to a painting by the late Eureka Springs artist Louis Freund.

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