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Few things impact a museum more than the unstinting generosity of its patrons. When the Mint Museum of Craft + Design opened to the public on January 9, 1999, it did so with the assurance of two of its most prominent donors that many of their prized treasures would form the foundation of the museum’s turned wood collection. Washingtonians Jane and Arthur Mason have dedicated a significant part of their life together to assembling these stunning pieces. This important gift greatly enhances the museum’s collection and adds significant depth to its holdings of individual masters of the wood medium. This advantage, combined with the unusual quality of the collection, offers much insight into the creative growth of the artist across a career while simultaneously offering an impressive lesson in connoisseurship.

Turning Wood into Art: The Jane and Arthur Mason Collection presents this fine and varied collection of turned wood to the public for the first time. While many exhibitions explore period history, technique and execution, or the beauty of the object, Turning Wood into Art expands upon such objectives. The subjects explored here, though not exhaustive, are among those related to the wood medium, including Material Esthetics, Process and Image, Storytelling, Design, and Tree Life. The associations formed between specific objects and themes are, however, fluid. The abundant meanings suggested here illuminate the versatility of these provocative forms, the many ways and conditions through which works of art in craft media can possess value and meaning.
Access the Mason Collection Artist Index
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