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March Exhibitions and Events at Princeton University Art Museum

New Exhibition

Miracles on the Border: Retablos of Mexican Migrants to the United States
March 16-July 7, 2019
            This exhibition presents more than 50 Mexican retablos, folk paintings dedicated to Christ, the Virgin Mary or saints to commemorate a miraculous event. Vibrant and emotive, they span the entirety of the 20th century, serving as both historical documents and as public expressions of suffering, salvation, faith and family. The retablos on view were offered by Mexican migrants at churches and pilgrimage sites in western Mexico and the United States to record the difficulties of crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. They eloquently relate subjects of greatest concern to the migrants, from the difficulty of finding work or falling sick in a foreign land to the relief of returning home.

            The term retablo, from the Latin retro tabulum (behind the altar table), originally referred to painted depictions of saints or the Virgin that hung behind altars in Catholic churches in Europe and later in the Americas. In Mexico, reflecting traditions embedded in the culture by Spanish colonization, retablos came to denote the small paintings on tin placed as votive offerings in home altars, shrines or churches in gratitude for divine protection. Usually produced by anonymous artists but signed and dated by the supplicant, retablos flourished in Mexico in the 19th century. In the wake of the Mexican Revolution (1910-20), the muralist Diego Rivera called retablos the "one true and present pictorial expression of the Mexican people" and promoted them as public manifestations of popular creativity.

Continuing Exhibitions

Gainsborough's Family Album
Feb. 23-June 9, 2019
            Images of family may be a constant presence in contemporary life, but in the days before photography, only the wealthiest had access to these. The British painter Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) created extraordinary images of his family – his wife, father, sisters, servants and even pets, but most importantly his daughters as they grew – more than any artist before him, leaving a remarkable visual legacy that is both poignant and ahead of its time. Gathering together Gainsborough's depictions of his family for the first time in history, including some never before on public display, Gainsborough's Family Album explores how these portraits not only expressed the artist's affections but also helped advance his career, from humble provincial beginnings to the height of metropolitan fame. In doing so, Gainsborough helped shape modern ideas of the family that endure to our own time; Gainsborough's Family Album challenges our thinking about the artist's era, and its relationship to our own.

            Gainsborough's Family Album is organized by the National Portrait Gallery, London, in association with the Princeton University Art Museum, which is the exhibition's exclusive North American venue.

            At Princeton, this exhibition and the companion exhibition Confronting Childhood are made possible with generous support from the Frances E. and Elias Wolf, Class of 1920, Fund; Annette Merle-Smith; Argyris Vassiliou, Graduate School Class of 1991, and Ann Vassiliou; William S. Fisher, Class of 1979, and Sakurako Fisher, through the Sakana Foundation; and the Allen R. Adler, Class of 1967, Exhibitions Fund. Additional support has been provided by Christopher E. Olofson, Class of 1992; Nancy A. Nasher, Class of 1976, and David J. Haemisegger, Class of 1976; the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; Betty Wold Johnson, through the Robert Wood Johnson III Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation; the Chopra Family Youth and Community Program Fund; Ivy Beth Lewis; and the Partners and Friends of the Princeton University Art Museum.

Confronting Childhood
Feb. 2-June 9, 2019
            Confronting Childhood continues the investigation begun in Gainsborough's Family Album to consider the complex reality of childhood and family life in the modern world. Spanning more than 150 years, the exhibition affords glimpses of children and their families through the vantage point of painting and primarily photography, including works by artists such as Diane Arbus, Ruth Bernhard, Lewis Carroll, Lewis Hine, Dorothea Lange, Sally Mann and Clarence White – who, like Thomas Gainsborough, turned to his wife and children as the single greatest source of his artistic inspiration.


Changes in Manet's Paintings
Thursday, March 14, 5:30 p.m.
Art Museum

            Juliet Wilson-Bareau, independent Manet scholar, and Bart Devolder, the Princeton University Art Museum conservator, present some of the lingering questions surrounding Manet's Gypsy with a Cigarette and Young Woman in a Round Hat. A reception will follow.

Student Event

Spring/Summer 2019 Undergraduate Student Government Fashion Show
Thursday, March 7, 6 p.m.

            Join us in a celebration of work at the intersection of art and fashion. The Princeton University Art Museum will serve as the stage for five student stylists to showcase curated runway shows revolving around collections showcased in the Museum. Following each show, the audience will be encouraged to interact with the very collections from which the stylists drew inspiration. 


Music at the Museum Spring Concert Series
Join us for a series of concerts that resonate with the themes of the Museum's spring exhibitions, Gainsborough's Family Album and Confronting Childhood. All performances take place at the Art Museum and are followed by a reception.

The Princeton Singers: This Sceptered Isle
Saturday, March 2, 5:30 and 8 p.m.
Art Museum

            Explore the rich British choral tradition from the Renaissance to the 21st century, including William Byrd's Mass for Four Voices. To purchase tickets, visit

Princeton Symphony Orchestra: Recreating Thomas Gainsborough's Living Room
Wednesday, March 6, 5:30 p.m.
Art Museum

            An intimate evening of music by Gainsborough's circle of composer friends. To purchase tickets, visit

Princeton Chamber Music Society: Portraits of England
Thursday, March 28, 5:30 p.m.
Art Museum

            The Princeton Chamber Music Society, in collaboration with Early Music Princeton, presents a program of 18th- and 20th-century English chamber music featuring works by Gainsborough's contemporaries and other quintessential British composers, including Carl Friedrich Abel and Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Late Thursdays are made possible by the generous support of Heather and Paul Haaga Jr., Class of 1970.


Art on Screen Series: Barry Lyndon (1975, 185 minutes, rated PG)
March 20, 7:30 p.m.
Princeton Garden Theatre

            Presented in conjunction with the exhibitions Gainsborough Family Album and Confronting Childhood, this acclaimed adaptation of Thackeray's novel tells the complex story of a sensitive, intelligent and ambitious man trapped in a society which has no use for him. Despite the obstacles of his Irish birth, Raymond Barry manages to become the wealthy but ill-respected Barry Lyndon. Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Introduced by Art Museum Director James Steward. Museum members receive Princeton Garden Theatre member admission price.

Family Programming

Art for Families
Join us on Saturday mornings for family fun in the Art Museum. Drop in anytime between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. and enjoy an engaging gallery activity followed by a related art project. All ages are welcome; no tickets or reservations are needed.

Stories and Glories: Ancient Greek Vases
March 2
            Discover the stories told on these ancient works of art and decorate a vase to take home.

How's the Weather Today Monet?
March 9
            Delve into French Impressionism and create a garden inspired by Monet.

Ordinary to Extraordinary
March 16
            Explore the art of George Segal and sculpt a masterpiece of your own.

Four-legged Friends
March 23
            Examine the portraits Thomas Gainsborough painted of his dogs and craft a pet of your own to take home.

Less Is More
March 30
            Create a monochromatic masterpiece inspired by Ad Reinhardt's painting.

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About the Princeton University Art Museum

            With a collecting history that extends back to 1755, the Princeton University Art Museum is one of the leading university art museums in the country, with collections that have grown to include over 100,000 works of art ranging from ancient to contemporary art and spanning the globe.

            Committed to advancing Princeton's teaching and research missions, the Art Museum also serves as a gateway to the University for visitors from around the world. Intimate in scale yet expansive in scope, the Museum offers a respite from the rush of daily life, a revitalizing experience of extraordinary works of art and an opportunity to delve deeply into the study of art and culture.

            The Princeton University Art Museum is located at the heart of the Princeton campus, a short walk from the shops and restaurants of Nassau Street. Admission is free. Museum hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday 12 to 5 p.m. The Museum is closed Mondays and major holidays.

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