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October 7, 2013

Artful lives of service

(Continued)

PLATTSBURGH —

"Nina kept on making the collection that she wanted to give the college bigger and the endowment bigger, and the whole thing kept on growing.

"Joe went to Albany as acting chancellor, and Charlie Warren took over (as college president). She liked Charlie very much. I remember having lunch with Charlie, Nina and George in a restaurant in Keene Valley when they sealed the deal. 

"Then, it started rolling a little bit there, too. Regina Slatkin came into the picture and gave some lovely French glassware, a Rodin sculpture."

“These were people we forged a relationship with,” Bette said. “That was the part of the fun of it, for me. These were people we got to know. Nina would invite us to dinner. Regina Slatkin gave wonderful parties."

BROKE DOWN BARRIERS

The museum-without-walls concept entered Edward’s consciousness while he was working on his master’s degree in 1948-49 at Columbia University.

“It came from a book by a French philosopher by the name of Andre Malraux, who was quite a leftist but kind of a fascist-leftist, who eventually became minister of culture for (Charles) de Gaulle and repainted the Paris Opera,” Edward said. 

“The interest had always been in my head. Part of it was because the one thing about going in art that I was worried about was where was the social responsibility? What did you do? 

"I think people have handled that thought better than maybe we handled it in those days, but still it was a question. Malraux was at least dealing with the question of art.”

Edward touts being the college's last hire from a New York Times advertisement.

He fondly speaks of a Student Association officer who secured a Khandar Indian sculpture at Sotheby's. He's forgotten her name, but he’s never forgotten her excitement.

He is proud that the Art Museum’s collection has evolved into a study collection and resource that can be accessed by students and scholars alike.

“We did make a point of breaking down some of the barriers, some of the elitist things that build around art that injure the people that are making it and the people appreciating it,” Edward said.

Email Robin Caudell: rcaudell@pressrepublican.com

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