The Annual Purchase Party Goes Virtual

The Annual Purchase Party Goes Virtual

The 2020 Friends of the Art Museum Purchase Party—our 51st annual!—will be a little different this year. Due to Covid, the entire program will be presented online via Zoom. Yet, as in previous years, museum colleagues will offer presentations of three recent additions to the museum’s collection, and at the end we will give members of the Friends the chance to vote for one of the works to become the Friends’ gift to the museum. Over the last half century the Friends have, via their annual membership dues, gifted more than seventy objects to the museum’s collection, and we don’t plan to let a global pandemic break the tradition, so please join us! This event will NOT be recorded.

Saturday, December 5, 2020
5:00pm EST
BYO Hors d’oeuvres and Beverages
Free to all Friends of the Art Museum*

*All Purchase Party registrants who are not currently subscribed as members will be given a complimentary Individual membership in the Friends of the Art Museum, with all associated benefits, valid through June 30, 2021.

REGISTER for the Purchase Party now!

Overview of the Event:

4:45–5:00pm: Please come early if you can and chat with other Friends using the chat feature (typing only, no audio). You will be able to see each other throughout the event if you choose.

5:00pm: All chat will be turned off (but you will still be able to see each other), and the event will begin with introductions and opening remarks by Glenn Andres, Chair of the Friends of the Art Museum, followed by the presentations of the three works of art for possible purchase.

6:00: Approximate ending time for the event

Prerequisites to Attend the Event:

» This is a Zoom event, and you must be registered to participate. If you have not yet registered, please visit the 2020 Purchase Party Registration page to complete your event registration.
» Each attendee must have an authenticated Zoom account (i.e. with verified username and password), and there will be only one vote per registered Zoom account, so if more than person in a household wished to vote, each person will need to register for and access the event with his/her/their own Zoom account and device.
» Each attendee will need to have downloaded EITHER the Zoom desktop client for macOS, Windows, or Linux OR the Zoom mobile app for iOS or Android.
» Event attendees will have access to the following features during the event: Mute / Unmute, Start Video / Stop Video, Rename, Non-verbal Feedback Icons, Chat, and Leave Meeting. If you’re new to Zoom or need a refresher on the various controls, you can find an assortment of useful video tutorials on the Zoom video tutorial webpage.

Questions? Please contact Mikki Lane: (802) 443-2309 or

The Three Works for Consideration

Pseudo Pier Francesco Fiorentino
Italian, active Florence, 1460–1500
Madonna and Child with the Infant Saint John the Baptist and an Angel, c. 1475, tempera on panel, Diameter: 32 1/4 inches.

The prolific artist (or workshop) identified as Pseudo Pier Francesco Fiorentino is well known for a distinctive use and reuse of drawings derived from the compositions of Filippo Lippi and Francesco Pesellino. The drawings—frequently flipped or rotated in order to create new compositions for a hungry Florentine market—anchor works in which we see the same figures, but often from different vantage points.

This tondo, or round painting, has an “engaged” frame—one fashioned directly on the panel support rather than as a separate element. The frame is made of gesso, with gilding applied at the time of the painting’s creation. In Renaissance Italy tondi functioned as domestic devotional objects, and they most often featured subjects deemed appropriate to their setting, such as the holy family or the Virgin adoring Christ and attended by the young Saint John the Baptist and perhaps angels. Versions of the Middlebury composition can be found in a number of collections, including the Bob Jones University Art Museum in Greenville, South Carolina, and the Lindenau-Museum in Altenburg, Germany.

— from the forthcoming Handbook, text written by Katy Smith Abbott

Kehinde Wiley
American, born 1977
Thomas Armory I, 2006, oil on canvas, 26 1/4 x 22 1/8 inches.

Wiley rose to prominence in the world of American portraiture in 2005 with a series of life-size, full-length portraits of Black men who were “foot soldiers of the hip hop movement.” While those depicted wear contemporary clothing, the compositions replicate some of the best-known examples of grand European historical portraits and speak to the invisibility of Black people in Old Master paintings.

One of the artist’s most mesmerizing stylistic elements, as seen in his portrait of Thomas Armory, is an extensively patterned and vibrantly colored background in which the person is enveloped in spectacular detail derived from Renaissance tapestries and Victorian wallpaper.

Most notably, in 2017 Wiley was selected to paint Barack Obama’s official presidential portrait.

— from the forthcoming Handbook, text written by Richard Saunders

Margaret Foley
American, c. 1827–1877
Portrait of a Young Girl, 1862, marble, Diameter 18 1/2 inches x 2 inches.

Margaret Foley, a native Vermonter, was among the first generation of American women sculptors. Born in nearby Vergennes into an Addison County farm family, she saved her money from serving as a maid and in the 1840s traveled to Lowell, Massachusetts, where she worked in the spinning rooms of the Merrimack Manufacturing Company. By 1848 she had moved to Boston and enrolled at the School of Design for women and worked as a cameo cutter.

In 1855 she had made her way to Rome, where this portrait relief was carved. There she joined Harriet Hosmer (1830–1908), and soon they welcomed other American women sculptors, such as Edmonia Lewis (1844–1907) and Ann Whitney (1821–1915). They found clientele there among wealthy American tourists, who often commissioned portrait busts and reliefs, such as this one, as meaningful souvenirs of their travels.

— from the forthcoming Handbook, text written by Richard Saunders

AuthorDouglas Perkins

Douglas Perkins '94 is Associate Director for Operations and Finance at the Middlebury College Museum of Art and steward of the museum's digital presence.

4 replies to The Annual Purchase Party Goes Virtual

  1. I agree with the thinking of Kate and Ginny. Hard to disagree with two talented artists!
    It seems to me this is definitely the year to have the Friends purchase the portrait of
    Thomas Armory.

  2. Kehinde Wiley is an amazing artist. I love his work because of the way he lifts up the black experience.

  3. I agree, Kate, and feel that the Museum would benefit from this and other steps in the direction of inclusiveness.

  4. What a wonderful set of choices!! I would like to see more work by African American Artists of African American subjects, and this small portrait is a beauty.

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