Organic: Photographs of the Natural World. Michael Lease, Bellevue Chinese Witch Hazel, 2012.

VMFA Special Exhibitions & Gallery Installations

Special Exhibitions
Organic: Photographs of the Natural World
April 11 – October 12, 2015
Photography Gallery

From the scientific to the symbolic, photographs of nature have played an integral role in the history of the medium. While the impulse to make images of flowers and trees runs deep through the photographic tradition, this exhibition of more than 20 works highlights a diverse range of perspectives on nature across more than 150 years. These works by Edward Steichen, Mike Smith, Hullinan Moore, Willie Anne Wright, and others range from sincere attempts to convey the beauty and wonder of the natural world to critical commentaries on the tension between humankind and nature. Curated by Dr. Sarah Eckhardt, Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, VMFA.

Seasonal Flowers in Japan: Woodblock Prints by Kawase Hasui
April 18 – October 12, 2015
Works on Paper Focus Gallery

Since 2006, renowned collectors René Balcer and Carolyn Hsu-Balcer have given VMFA more than 500 works created by Japanese landscape artist Kawase Hasui (1883–1957). The 12 woodblock prints featured here are drawn from that generous gift. Created from the 1920s through the 1950s, these 12 prints depict seasonal flowers found at numerous sites across Japan, including its ancient capitals, historic landmarks, and rural mountains. Hasui captured cherry blossoms at Arashiyama in Kyoto, wildflowers on the Senjo Plain in Nikko, crabapple blossoms at the Myōhon Temple in Kamakura, and the iris garden at Meiji-jingo shrine in Tokyo. Dahlia, lotus, lily, and azalea are also depicted. These works reveal Hasui’s passion for nature, his sketching expertise and proficient use of color, while illustrating the history, mystery, and serenity of Japan. Born in Tokyo, Hasui was trained in traditional Japanese painting, watercolor, and oil painting. In 1910, he began to study woodblock prints with Kaburaki Kiyokata (1878–1972). Early in his career, Hasui worked primarily as an illustrator for magazines and in advertising. His career path changed in 1918 when his first experimental prints, known as shin-hanga (new prints), were published by Watanabe Shōzaburō (1885–1962), initiating a collaboration that lasted for the rest of Hasui’s life. Curated by Li Jian, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Curator of East Asian Art, VMFA.

Japanese Tattoo: Perseverance, Art, and Tradition

May 30 – September 27, 2015
Evans Court Gallery
Ticketed, VMFA members free

Organized by the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, Japanese Tattoo focuses on the work of seven internationally acclaimed tattoo artists – Horitaka, Horitomo, Horishiki, Miyazo, Shige, Junii, and Yokohama Horiken – inspired by the Japanese tradition of tattooing and heavily influenced by the traditional Japanese arts of calligraphy and ukiyo-e woodblock printmaking. Specially commissioned photographs of work by each artist will be displayed alongside tools and relief carvings, as well as elements of a re-created Shinto shrine. A companion book of the same title features additional photographs and writings, published by the Japanese American National Museum. Organized by the Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles; Curated by Takahiro Kitamura (Horitaka), with photography and design by Kip Fulbeck. Organized for VMFA by Dr. LeeAnne Hurt Chesterfield, Interim Deputy Director for Art and Education and Assistant Curator of Ancient American Art.

Nightfall: Prints of the Dark Hours
October 2015 – March 2016
Works on Paper Focus Gallery

Nightfall: Prints of the Dark Hours explores evocative artistic images of night, called nocturnes. Luminous apparitions of the divine, dazzling fireworks, lamplit urban streets, and the soft glow of twilight upon natural landscapes are among the nocturnal subjects that have intrigued and challenged printmakers across the centuries. More than 30 nocturnes by European and American artists, including Rembrandt van Rijn, Wenceslaus Hollar, Théodore Géricault, Rockwell Kent, Frank Short, and Edward Hopper, reveal the dark hours to be just as conducive to lively spectacles as quiet hours of solitude. The exhibition closely considers how artists employ a range of printmaking techniques—mezzotint (a tonal method called the “dark manner”), etching, engraving, and lithography—to render contrasts between light and shade as well as the atmospheric effects of light emanating from the night sky or electrical sources. Nightfall: Prints of the Dark Hours is largely drawn from the Frank Raysor Collection, a generous promised gift to the museum. Curated by Dr. Mitchell Merling, Paul Mellon Curator and Head of European Art, VMFA.

November 13, 2015, 7 p.m.-midnight
VMFA outdoor campus

VMFA hosts the 8th Annual InLight Richmond event. Organized by 1708 Gallery, this free public exhibition of light-based art and performances will enliven the entire outdoor museum campus. Featuring a national roster of artists and artist collectives, InLight 2015 will include sculpture, video, performances, and interactive projects that illuminate myriad spaces. Juried by Alex Baker, Director, Fleisher Ollman Gallery, InLight kicks off with the Community Lantern Parade. 1708 Gallery invites the entire community to participate in the parade by bringing a lantern already made, or by making one at the many workshops offered at VMFA and throughout Richmond before the parade begins. In celebration of this event, VMFA will remain open until midnight.

November 21, 2015 – March 13, 2016
Altria Group and NewMarket Galleries
Ticketed, VMFA members free
Accompanying catalogue

Organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Musée Rodin in Paris, this exhibition will feature more than 200 works by the greatest sculptor of the 19th and early 20th centuries: Auguste Rodin.

Revealing the evolving output of this genius of sculpture, the exhibition examines his techniques, materials, models and assistants, and explores the extraordinary working process behind some of his best known works. Auguste Rodin completely revitalized the very language of sculpture with his passion for the creative act. Fragile plasters as well as patinated bronzes, marble figures, astonishing ceramics and never-before-exhibited photographs all attest to this creative intensity, with much of the work presented in North America for the first time. Rodin is organized for VMFA by Dr. Mitchell Merling, Paul Mellon Curator and Head of European Art. The exhibition catalogue, with contributions on Rodin’s process by leading scholars, will be published by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic
June 11 – September 5, 2016
Altria Group and NewMarket Galleries
Ticketed, VMFA members free

Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic presents a stunning retrospective of this artist’s prolific career through nearly 60 paintings and sculptures. Wiley’s work raises intriguing questions about race, gender, and the politics of representation by portraying contemporary African American men and women using the conventions of traditional European portraiture. Appropriating the format of specific paintings by renowned masters ranging from Titian to Édouard Manet, Wiley often depicts his subjects wearing sneakers, hoodies, and other gear associated with today’s hip-hop culture and sets them against ornate decorative backgrounds that evoke earlier eras and cultures. By replacing the European aristocrats with contemporary black subjects, Wiley’s portraits draw attention to the absence of African Americans from historical and cultural narratives. Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic is organized by the Brooklyn Museum and curated by Eugenie Tsai, John and Barbara Vogelstein Curator of Contemporary Art at the Brooklyn Museum. Organized for VMFA by Dr. Sarah Eckhardt, Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at VMFA.

Jasper Johns and Edvard Munch
November 19, 2016 – February 20, 2017
Altria Group and NewMarket Galleries
Ticketed, VMFA members free
Accompanying catalogue

Many contemporary artists have drawn inspiration from the art and life of Norwegian Expressionist Edvard Munch (1863-1944)—including Andy Warhol, Jim Dine, Elizabeth Murray, Georg Baselitz, and Anselm Kiefer. Their re-uses of Munch’s images have functioned as a two-way lens, giving insight into their own practice while helping to redefine the understanding of Munch’s art through their acts of reception and translation. This exhibition and the accompanying publication explore the unlikely but compelling connection between the work of Munch and Jasper Johns (born 1930). During a crucial point midway through his career, Johns looked to Munch’s defining themes of love, sex, loss, and death, as well as his innovative working methods, as sources of inspiration. Johns routed Munch’s art through a dense process of quotation, repetition, displacement, substitution, and elision to create his own images while opening his work to themes and meanings shared with Munch. Organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in partnership with the Munch Museum, Oslo, Norway. Curated by John B. Ravenal, Executive Director, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum (former Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, VMFA).

Ongoing Special Exhibitions
Van Gogh, Manet, and Matisse: The Art of the Flower

Through June 21, 2015
Altria Group and NewMarket Galleries
Ticketed, VMFA members free
Accompanying catalogue

This exhibition reveals how the traditional genre of still-life painting was re-invented by 19th-century painters, even as the art world was radically transformed by the advent of modernism. The title, taken from an 1888 letter of Vincent van Gogh, suggests the commitment shared by many of van Gogh’s contemporaries to flowers as both a subject and source of painterly meditation. Well-known artists such as Eugene Delacroix, Gustave Courbet, Henri Fantin-Latour, Edouard Manet, and Paul Cezanne – as well as less-familiar names such as Gerard van Spaendonck, Antoine Berjon, and Simon Saint-Jean – engaged in a sophisticated reworking of traditional imagery, bringing the floral still life into dialogue with emerging models of science and commerce. In the process, they transformed the genre into a reflection on the nature of artistic representation itself. Organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Dallas Museum of Art, the exhibition and its accompanying catalogue is the first scholarly treatment of this important subject.

Van Gogh, Manet, and Matisse: The Art of the Flower features major loans from institutional members of FRAME (French Regional American Museum Exchange) as well as other important public and private collections. The exhibition premiered at Dallas, is currently at VMFA, and will travel to one other venue. Co-curated by Dr. Mitchell Merling, Paul Mellon Curator and Head of European Art, VMFA, and Dr. Heather MacDonald, Program Officer, Getty Foundation (former Lillian and James H. Clark Associate Curator of European Art, Dallas Museum of Art).

Beyond the Walls

Through June 2015
MeadWestvaco Art Education Center

The Memorial Foundation for Children Teaching Gallery, located in the MeadWestvaco Art Education Center, transformed into an interactive exhibition where visitors can explore daily life in imperial China. This hands-on exhibition will provide a glimpse into the home of a merchant-class family who lived in the 17th-18th centuries. Visitors will be able to interact through activities that include writing Chinese characters on a touch screen and designing personal seals. There will also be opportunities to unroll and view reproduction scrolls, like those featured in VMFA’s East Asian collection, or play traditional musical instruments and games. Whether visiting as part of a school group or a multigenerational family, the Teaching Gallery exhibition will offer visitors of all ages a new perspective on China’s imperial past. Organized for VMFA and curated by Lulan Yu, Adult Programs Coordinator, with support from J. Barry Matthews.

Fusion: Art of the 21st-Century
Through July 26, 2015
21st-Century Gallery

Showing works by an increasingly diverse roster of global artists, VMFA’s 21st-century gallery reflects the expanded nature of contemporary art. The next exhibition, titled Fusion, builds on this focus. It emphasizes new acquisitions—many on view for the first time—and includes a substantial number of works by African and African-American artists, as well as works from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Mexico. Curated by John B. Ravenal, Executive Director, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum (former Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, VMFA).

Félix Bracquemond: Impressionist Innovator
– Selections from the Frank Raysor Collection
Through October 4, 2015
Mellon Focus Gallery

French printmaker and designer Félix Bracquemond (1833–1914) produced more than 800 etchings during a prolific career that spanned the late 19th century. ­­­­Though celebrated from the outset of his career as a skilled reproductive etcher, Bracquemond enthusiastically championed the etching revival in France, prominently leading the charge toward redefining etching as a highly original art form. Despite his lived status as a luminary within Paris Salon and avant-garde artistic circles, including the Impressionists, Bracquemond is little known today. Félix Bracquemond: Impressionist Innovator re-introduces Bracquemond as an independently-minded, ever-industrious artist through a selection of more than 80 works on paper and tableware objects, among them his most imaginative portraits, landscapes, and groundbreaking reinterpretations of the traditions of French art and decorative arts. The exhibition features expansive displays of Bracquemond’s distinctive images of birds, which reveal both his deep appreciation of nature and growing interest in Japanese visual tradition. Displays of commercial dinner services decorated by Bracquemond punctuate the exhibition, revealing the unexpected but vital role of his printmaking in ceramics production while highlighting his aesthetic experimentation when the taste for Japanese art and culture swept French society. Collectively, these selections capture Bracquemond’s vast and richly varied contributions to printmaking in a period that witnessed dynamic technical innovations in the medium, in tandem with renewed popularity of etchings among the public and art collectors alike.

The exhibition draws entirely from the Frank Raysor Collection, an ongoing generous, transformative gift to the museum that contains thousands of works by Bracquemond and other leading Etching Revival artists. Co-curated by Dr. Mitchell Merling, Paul Mellon Curator and Head of the Department of European Art and Kristie Couser, Curatorial Assistant for the Mellon Collections.

Collections and Gallery Installations
Permanent Collection on Tour:
VMFA’s Fabergé Gallery is closed while the acclaimed collection is on tour, however, the Imperial Rock Crystal Easter Egg and some additional objects by Fabergé have been installed in the Vaulted Hall adjacent to the Marble Hall. The majority of VMFA’s world-renowned Fabergé collection is on international tour.
Current and upcoming venues: Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, Las Vegas, Nev.: through May 25, 2015; Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City, Okla.: June 20 – September 27, 2015; The Palace Museum, Beijing, China: April 16 – July 17, 2016.

Truland Foundation Media Resource Room
Visitors to the Sydney and Frances Lewis Mid to Late-20th Century Galleries will discover a newly outfitted space designed to bring the artists featured in VMFA’s Modern and Contemporary collections to life. Equipped with selections of VMFA catalogues and a video kiosk, the Truland Foundation Media Resource Room is a place to discover the stories behind some of the most popular holdings in these collections. Listen to artist interviews – with Chuck Close, Bill Viola, Sally Mann, Sol LeWitt, and many others – using the touch screen monitors and deepen your understanding of the artistic process. The space and kiosk were a gift of former VMFA Trustee and President of the Truland Group, Robert W. Truland, and his family. VMFA’s Canvas membership group donated funds to help support the artist interviews.

VMFA MeadWestvaco Art Education Center Exhibitions
Beyond the Walls, through June 2015
Student Art Show, April 15 – August 30, 2015
Early Childhood Education Art Show, September 14th – November 1st, 2015
Teen Stylin’, November 2015, Dates TBD

VMFA Studio School Exhibitions
Beginning, Middle and Beyond: Recent Photographs, through April 10, 2015
Recent Paintings (works by students of Joan Elliott), April 17 – May 22, 2015
The Alchemy of Pots & Prints: Number 10, June 1 – August 21, 2015
Nightfall: October 30, 2015 – January 15, 2016
Photographs from the Photo Salon & Darkroom: February 1 – March 4, 2016
Studio Painters: March 11 – April 8, 2016

VMFA Pauley Center Exhibitions
Pacific (by Dave Woody), through August 2, 2015
Enumeration (by Kris Iden), August 8, 2015 – February 21, 2016

Amuse Restaurant & Claiborne Robertson Room Exhibitions
Tempest East (by Catherine Samples), through July 26, 2015
Mixed Greens (by Sally Bowring), July 27, 2015 – Feb. 15, 2016

VMFA Statewide Exhibitions
Ryan McGinness: Studio Visit
Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Virginia Beach, through April 19, 2015
Danville Museum of Fine Arts & History, Danville, Va., through May 16, 2015
Fortune, Courage, Love: Arts of Africa’s Akan and Kuba Kingdoms from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
William King Museum of Art, Abingdon, Va., through July 12, 2015
Taubman Museum, Roanoke, Va., September 26, 2015 – January 3, 2016
Piedmont Arts, Martinsville, Va., January 16 – March 6, 2016

VMFA at Richmond International Airport
RVA: A Day In ‘The River City’ (by Carson Jones) through July 19, 2015
Near & Far (by Will May), July 20, 2015 – Feb. 7, 2016

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About the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
VMFA’s permanent collection encompasses more than 33,000 works of art spanning 5,000 years of world history. Its collections of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, English silver, Fabergé, and the art of South Asia are among the finest in the nation. With acclaimed holdings in American, British Sporting, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist, and Modern and Contemporary—and additional strengths in African, Ancient, East Asian, and European—VMFA ranks as one of the top comprehensive art museums in the United States. Programs include educational activities and studio classes for all ages, plus lively after-hours events. VMFA’s Statewide program features traveling exhibitions, artist and teacher workshops, and lectures across the Commonwealth. VMFA is open 365 days a year and general admission is always free. For additional information, telephone 804-340-1400 or visit

NOTE: Exhibitions are subject to change. General admission to VMFA permanent collections is always free. Some special exhibitions require an admission fee, and members receive free admission to all ticketed exhibitions, as noted in each description.