GLENS FALLS — At The Hyde Collection, the donors keep on giving.
Earlier this year, the museum received 128 photographs by 14 significant photographers donated by former presidential adviser George Stephanopoulos.
Last week, Director Charles Guerin announced the second major gift of the year, 94 items in an extensive collection of nineteenth-century French etchings, lithographs, engravings, woodcuts, and books, donated by Tobin Sparling, a Texas law school professor who graduated from South Glens Falls High School.
“What’s particularly cool about this is that Tobin is a professional, so he has been able to collect a thorough spread that covers the 19th century of French print-making. It’s really a coherent, complete collection,” Guerin said. “In terms of putting together an exhibition, a lot of the work is already done for us.”
Guerin said there will be an exhibition of some of the Sparling collection will be shown in the Hoopes Gallery from mid-January to Mid-March. An exhibition of some of the Stephanopolous photographs will follow in the Hoopes Gallery from Mid-March to Mid-May.
The last several years have included major steps forward for The Hyde, which recently turned 50. It got national attention for its Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition, “Modern Nature: Georgia O’Keeffe and Lake George.” A recently completed Ansel Adams exhibition has been noted nationally, and in 2015 the museum will host a major show of Rembrandt’s works.
“It’s a very dynamic place, and that’s what really appeals to me,” Sparling said. “It’s a very different place from when I was a child. It was very insulated and insular. I am really impressed with what it has become. I appreciate the works they have, and I like that it also has a real outreach to the community, through its children’s programs and its programs for the elderly and others.”
This is Sparling’s second major donation to The Hyde.
In 2008, Sparling donated 30 Old Master prints surveying the major printmaking styles and techniques in Northern and Southern Europe from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries.
Those prints were featured in the exhibition Old Master Prints from the Sparling Family Collection in 2009.
Two years ago, Sparling lent 23 nineteenth-century prints to the exhibition Toulouse-Lautrec & Company: Prints from the Belle Époque. Many of those works are included in the most recent gift.
“It is a pleasure to donate to The Hyde, which not only evokes wonderful childhood memories, but also goes from strength to strength and gets better and better,” Sparling said in a statement. “I hope this gift will encourage others to support what I believe is one of the crown jewels of upstate New York.”
A resident of Houston and a graduate of Dartmouth College, and Columbia University, Sparling also holds graduate degrees in library science and art history. Sparling is a professor of Law at South Texas College of Law, specializing in legal research and writing
He made the donation in memory of his parents Leon H. and Marie Buttlar Sparling.
The gift includes works by Pierre Bonnard, Félix Bracquemond, Jules Chéret, Eugene Delacroix, Maurice Denis, Henri Evenepoel, Jean-Louis Forain, Théodore Géricault, Henri-Gabriel Ibels, Alphonse Mucha, Paul Serusier, Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Félix Vallotton, among others.
Prior to getting his law degree, he worked in the rare books departments of the Yale Center for British Art and at the print collection of the New York Public Library.
That was where his interest in French prints developed.
But, as Guerin points out, he has kept his connection to his home region.
“He recognizes how important The Hyde is to this community,” Guerin said. “He’s in Houston, and there are probably a half-dozen places he could have donated to.”
With Curator Erin Coe having left the museum to finish her PhD., Guerin will coordinate both the Sparling and Stephanopolous.
“We want to get them up quickly,” he said. “We don’t like to get art and have it sit in the dark in a storage room.”