The Guild Hall permanent collection began with one donation: a portrait of Thomas Moran.
It would only grow as members of the Tile Club, American Barbizons, Surrealists, Abstract Expressionists, Pop artists and Neo-Expressionists migrated to the East End — expanding the collection to more than 2,400 works, including all mediums of painting, sculpture, photography, works on paper, prints and mixed media, without any way to access it digitally.
That tune has changed.
The Robert D. L. Gardiner Foundation recently awarded the East Hampton museum $50,000 to support the digitization of its permanent collection — an institutional goal of building a publicly accessible, searchable, online database to serve as a resource for understanding the East End’s legacy as an artist colony, according to a press release.
“Artists represented in the Guild Hall permanent collection, all of whom have an association with our region, have contributed significantly to American art,” Guild Hall Executive Director Andrea Grover said in a statement. “Many of them have produced work that altered the course of art history, not only in America but around the world. By having the Collection online, our region’s historical resources will become globally accessible.”
Starting in January, Jess Frost, associate curator and registrar of the permanent collection, will manage the project, with an estimated completion date by June 2018. Museum Director Christina Strassfield, who has overseen the maintenance, conservation, exhibition, cataloguing and accessioning of the collection objects for more than 20 years, will supervise each stage of development.
“The Gardiner Foundation is delighted to have this opportunity to support Guild Hall, one of Long Island’s premiere cultural resources,” Kathryn M. Curran, executive director of the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, said in a statement. “The project will readily allow researchers access to the treasures of their collections. This venture highlights Long Island’s artistic heritage and its place within the historic content of American Art.”