Press Release

CMA and the Contemporaries reveal new acquisition of a major painting

COLUMBIA, SC - The Columbia Museum of Art unveiled a new acquisition of a major painting, Girl in the Window by the acclaimed 20th-century American artist, George Tooker, at the Contemporaries’ annual meeting on Wednesday, June 19. The painting is currently on view in the recent acquisitions gallery through September 15.

Generous donors, including the CMA membership affiliate group, the Contemporaries, made this acquisition possible. The Contemporaries mission is to focus on raising funds to grow the art collection. “We are proud to contribute to the purchase of such an important piece for the Museum’s collection: a piece that reflects the direction of future growth of the Museum and our continued commitment to future generations of supporters,” Contemporaries President, Asheley Scott, said.

The CMA’s American collection is currently strong in landscape and is growing in narrative and still life painting. Acquisition of Tooker’s Girl in the Window adds a phenomenal portrait to the mix. The painting relates to the CMA’s well-known Kress Collection in that its composition is drawn directly from Old Master sources. The technique of egg tempera goes back at least to the first century, demonstrating a historical continuity from the past into the present.

“Tooker’s Girl in the Window could wind up being the CMA’s version of the Mona Lisa: a beautiful, slightly strange, work of art that impresses viewers and generates lively debate. It is memorable in the same deftly realized way and yet utterly different in its pervasive ambiguity,” CMA Chief Curator, Will South, said.

Girl in the Window is typical of this artist’s uncanny knack for the enigmatic, and is in every respect a modern masterpiece. As the curator of the National Academy of Design in New York City, Marshall Price, noted in the New York Times, “Tooker’s narratives are so mysterious that viewers have to look deeply into the paintings. You cannot look quickly at a Tooker and then turn away.” When you look deeply into this work, its meaning lies at the heart of contemporary art’s most compelling issue: identity.

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