Newport artist and collector James Baker has long been interested in the female as icon and image, in a variety of historical and contemporary art forms. Art history provides a wealth of female symbolism, while many contemporary artists have continued to embrace the feminine muse. World cultures have both celebrated and demonized the female in mythology and religion. This exhibition will present a variety of female “icons” and “images” from Baker’s collection, the Museum’s permanent collection, as well as selected artists.
Included will be some of the treasures from the Art Association days - a marble bust of Clytie donated in 1925, a marble copy of the Venus de Milo and several posters from World War I featuring women as martyrs. Works by John La Farge, John Elliott and Paul Manship depict women variously as angels, madonnas, witches and goddesses. James Baker’s collection contains a diversity of female forms, from a Thai stone goddess to a contemporary plaster yellow madonna by Katharina Fritsch.