Developed with the intention to show the most engaging and best art, Naples Collects offers visitors a look inside the hearts and minds of regional collectors whose passion for art transcends the geographic limits of Southwest Florida. The paintings, sculptures and works on paper that were made available to The Baker Museum by 23 members of our community relate in some fashion to either the strengths of our institution or to gaps in our own collection. The relation between the growth of the museum and the important gifts that were made by donors during the past 15 years is inextricable: The Baker Museum wouldn’t be The Baker Museum — and the museum wouldn’t have the collections it has — without private collectors.
Naples Collects is a unique opportunity to share with our community some of these collectors’ most prized possessions. After many months of thoughtful dialogue and planning of the exhibition content, the works that were selected ultimately best illustrate their passion for collecting, while ensuring that the museum asserts its curatorial independence and integrity.
Working with, exploring and researching eclectic art collections of the sort that are found in a sophisticated community such as Naples is a compelling and enriching experience that would delight any art historian. Naples Collects brings together 120 examples of high-quality art by some of the best known American artists of the 20th century, along with works by masters of European art and Latin America as well as contemporary artists.
Most importantly, perhaps from the position of institutional growth, working on Naples Collects is a chance for The Baker Museum curatorial team to become acquainted with collectors in specific fields and to cultivate relationships with them. Above all, working with collectors on the final selections and content results in the exchange of expertise. The personal connection between a collector and their artworks — be it a marker of a significant memory, a part of their relationships with people or a reminder of their cultural history — is not only necessary, but serves as the core motivation for their collecting. For several collectors, that personal connection to a work stems from their relationship with the artist, or their knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the artistic process that went into the making of a work.
Naples Collects is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue available for purchase in the Museum Store.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website