Color, Texture, Form
MODERN EUROPEAN AND AMERICAN ART FROM THE BRUMMEL COLLECTION
September 10–December 11, 2021
Class of 1957 alumnus Mike Brummel has been an avid art collector for more than 60 years. His collecting efforts have focused mainly on 20th-century European and American artists whose works explore the interplay of three aesthetic qualities: color, texture and form. Brummel’s artistic interests were shaped by his own professional career as a textile designer from the 1960s to the 2000s. Based primarily in New York and Paris, Brummel has concentrated on collecting pieces by artists who also lived and worked in those two cities. This exhibition featured a selection of 62 paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures that reflect the broad scope of Brummel’s tastes and reveal the underlying aesthetic and historical connections that unify these diverse artworks into a coherent collection.
Brummel was born and raised in West Michigan. He majored in Biology at Hope College but also had a deep interest in art and culture. After participating in Hope’s Vienna Program during the summer of 1957, Brummel moved to New York City to study design at the Pratt Institute. He completed his studies at Pratt in 1960 and began an illustrious 50-year career designing and producing high-end textiles and wallpapers for the two companies he founded: Kirk Brummel and Raintree Designs. Brummel’s business career required him to travel frequently around the United States and Europe, exposing him to a broad range of cultural influences and allowing him to build an extensive art collection. His objective in collecting was never to assemble a representative selection of artworks illustrating particular schools, styles or subjects. Rather, Brummel collected art that engaged him aesthetically and emotionally and that he wanted to have surrounding him in his daily life.
The exhibition was divided into three sections. The first section featured work by artists associated with the School of Paris dating from the 1920s to the 1980s. The second section featured work by artists associated with the New York School dating from the 1930s to the early 1990s. The third section — displayed separately — focused more specifically on artworks by French artist Françoise Gilot dating from the 1940s to the mid-2000s. Brummel has a particular passion for the art of Gilot, who has lived and worked in both Paris and New York, and whose lifelong explorations of color, texture and form embody the aesthetic sensibilities that define the Brummel collection as a whole.
Color, Texture, Form was organized by Kruizenga Art Museum staff with research, planning and label writing assistance from Hope College senior and John H. Dryfhout ’64 Student Intern Grace Pettinger. The museum is extremely grateful to Mike Brummel for lending all of the artworks in this exhibition and for his ongoing support of Hope College and the Kruizenga Art Museum.
Top Image: Bird and Blue Flowers (L’oiseau et les fleurs bleues). Françoise Gilot (French, born 1921). Ca. early 1960s. Oil on canvas. Loan from the M.L. Brummel Collection
Bottom Image: Untitled sculpture. Alexander Liberman (American, born Ukraine 1912-1999). 1982. Painted steel. Loan from the M.L. Brummel Collection.