A History of Artistic Collaboration: Stanford, Indiana University, and Domenico Tiepolo
Palo Alto, California
March 23, 2011
Introduction and Acknowledgments
It is a great pleasure to be here this evening for this wonderful event.
Before I begin my remarks, I would like to introduce my wife, the first lady of Indiana University Laurie Burns McRobbie. I would also like to welcome Indiana University Executive Vice President and Provost of the Bloomington campus, Karen Hanson and her husband Dennis Senchuk; and President Emeritus Tom Ehrlich and his wife Ellen.
Would you please help me welcome them?
Let me also welcome Erica Jeffrey, president of the Bay Area Chapter of the IU Alumni Association, one of IU’s most active chapters with 435 members and over 3,600 graduates in the area. The chapter has been recognized in the Chapter Achievement Program and has received many awards over the years. Erica, thank you for your leadership and service.
Events like this bring together so many distinguished people who have contributed so generously to Indiana University. Please accept my sincere welcome and gratitude to all of you.
The Stanford/Indiana University Connection
In his autobiography, David Starr Jordan wrote that "[i]t was . . .with considerable regret that [he] left [Indiana University, which he] had striven so hard to build up, and the state which had shown [him] so much of its good will"1
Jordan had started his tenure at IU as a professor of natural history in 1879 and was inaugurated as the university’s seventh president in 1885, and was then the nation’s youngest university president at age thirty-four.
In 1891, he was named the first president of Leland Stanford Junior University.
He may have left Indiana University with regret, but he also left IU with at least five of our finest professors, members of what would come to be known as the "Old Guard" at Stanford. That may not seem like many, but at the time IU only had twenty-nine professors on its faculty.
However, this strong connection—of faculty and administration—binds our two universities ineluctably together. The ideals and vision that helped shape our universities share a common source, though admittedly one that Stanford lured away from IU those many years ago.
Our two universities share a special bond beyond that early leadership. Stanford and IU—along with Cornell—sponsor the international David Starr Jordan Prize for Innovative Contributions to the Study of Evolution, Ecology, Population or Organismal Biology.
And we both have world-class art collections. Stanford’s Cantor Arts Center, beautifully restored and reopened in 1999, is home to a variety of impressive collections, including one of the largest—and I would add finest—collections of Rodin bronzes in the world outside of Paris. I first attended a reception here in 1985 where I met Jon Barwise, who we later lured to IU! Our IU Art Museum, in turn, has been described as "one of the most interesting museums on any university campus" by none other than Thomas Seligman, director of the Cantor Arts Center.
A History of Tiepolo Exhibitions
The exhibit that opens this evening is another symbol of the partnership between our two institutions, but it is not the first Tiepolo exhibit upon which Indiana University and Stanford have collaborated.
The first such exhibit opened in 1979 on this campus and was inspired by two of Tiepolo’s Punchinello drawings. It was the first show for which the IU Art Museum received an NEA grant, and it travelled first to Stanford then to the Frick. The first exhibit received rave reviews from Hilton Kramer of the New York Times, who described it as a "rare art-historical occasion," "entertaining," and "deeply moving."2
But I have a special fondness for the current Tiepolo exhibition.
That fondness grows out of a trip my wife Laurie and I took to Venice in 2004.
We visited Domenico Tiepolo’s villa outside of Venice where we saw echoes of the detached frescoes depicting Punchinello and daily life in Venice, including the famous Il Mondo Novo. The frescoes themselves had been moved to Ca’ Rezzonico in Venice.
Heidi and Barry Gealt
What made this trip special was that I proposed to my wife Laurie there looking out at the Santa Maria della Salute.
But what also made this trip special was the fact that we saw these works of art in the company of Heidi and Barry Gealt. It was as if we had our own expert guides who knew intimate details about the works of art we were seeing along with details of their creation, not to mention every good restaurant in Venice.
Barry is an artist of great reputation and professor emeritus of fine art at IU, having taught since 1969. We are proud personally to own some of Barry’s work.
Heidi is not only director of the IU Art Museum, but she has been working on Domenico Tiepolo on and off her entire professional career.
She curated the 1979 Tiepolo exhibition that I mentioned earlier. Later, she was invited to co-organize a show titled "Domenico Tiepolo, Master Draftsman" for the city of Udine, Italy, in 1996 as part of the worldwide Tiepolo celebrations that year.
In 2006, she guest-curated Domenico Tiepolo: A New Testament at the Frick, the first exhibition to assemble a large selection of Tiepolo’s New Testament drawing series.
That exhibition coincided with the publication, co-authored by Heidi Gealt and George Knox, of Domenico Tiepolo: A New Testament, a beautiful volume that presents the entire cycle of these drawings. I recall the director of the Frick proclaiming the volume "definitive," and there is really nothing more to say than that.
And tonight we are surrounded by testimony to her continuing interest in—and dedication to—Tiepolo and his art.
Tony Moravec: A Patron of the Arts
We are also surrounded by testimony to the deep commitment that Tony Moravec has made to the world of art and to Indiana University.
All of the drawings in this installation are gifts of Tony, part of the Anthony J. Moravec Collection at the IU Art Museum. This extremely generous gift ranks the IU Art Museum as third largest holder of Domenico Tiepolo New Testament drawings in the world, just after the Louvre and the Morgan Library.
What may surprise you is that Tony is not an IU alum. He does not even live in Bloomington, but as a distinguished Columbus business man, he understands the vital role IU plays as an educational, research, and cultural resource for Indiana and the nation, and he has greatly valued the Tiepolo project from the beginning.
Unfortunately, Tony was unable to join us this evening, but would you please join me in recognizing and celebrating his vision in supporting Indiana University and his generosity in making this historic and truly exceptional gift?
And now would you please help me welcome the director of the IU Art Museum, Dr. Heidi Gealt?