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Letter from Director Barker to the Irvine Museum Collection Patrons
Welcome to the new Irvine Museum Collection at UCI
It is with great pleasure that I introduce a new chapter in the remarkable history of this great Collection. With this newsletter, the University of California, Irvine welcomes The Irvine Museum Collection to a new collaboration through which both will greatly gain. Through the past decades, The Irvine Museum has built the well-deserved reputation as the home of the most extensive, most beautiful collection of plein air California art or California Impressionism, as Jean Stern has named it. Through love of the land, Southern California light and landscape, and appreciation of California’s complex culture, The Irvine Museum Collection has come to epitomize these most enduring and endearing traits of our surrounding region.
With the insightful generosity shown by Joan Irvine Smith and James Irvine Swinden in passing the collection to UCI which, after all, shares its name with the Collection and the family, initiated the university’s entry into a new realm. UCI fully understands the vital importance of its role as the custodian of The Irvine Museum Collection; and intends to exhibit it with precisely the same care it has received since its earliest days. Working with Jim, with Jean Stern, and with the wonderful Irvine Museum Collection staff we have come to have a renewed appreciation for the relationship between art and the culture from which it springs.
We are embarking on a very ambitious plan to build a nationally-recognized home for the Collection, the UCI Museum and Institute for California Art, of which The Irvine Museum Collection will be the centerpiece. The Collection will receive the same public access it currently does, or more, in new galleries built to enhance its beauty. We have just embarked on this project and look forward to working with you to realize its potential, making UCI a national magnet for the exhibition and study of California art.
I am honored to be part of this project and to be working with Jim Swinden, Jean Stern, and The Irvine Museum staff toward the fulfillment of our ambitious goals. I am eager to share more with you as it occurs. Please keep in touch with us to stay abreast of the latest developments, as California Impressionism and The Irvine Museum Collection take their proper places at the pinnacle of American art.
Stephen Barker, Ph.D.
Director, UCI Museum and Institute for California Art
Dean, Claire Trevor School of the Arts, UCI
Originally posted in the Autumn/Winter 2017 issue of the The Palette