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Writer: Brian Shawver
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Release: Immediate

Exhibition of 'Victorian Fairy Painting' breaks records at UI Museum of Art

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- "Victorian Fairy Painting" just opened last week at the University of Iowa Museum of Art, and it has already set an attendance record. For the opening, Saturday, Feb. 28, 1,077 people showed up at the museum to view the first comprehensive exhibition ever devoted to the uniquely British genre of fairy painting.

The previous attendance record for the opening of an exhibition was held by "Art of the Red Earth People: The Mesquakie of Iowa," which drew 1,046 people on Jan. 14, 1989. The only other exhibition to break the 1,000 mark in one day was "Plain Pictures: Images of the American Prairie," which attracted 1,013 viewers Sept. 29, 1996, during the UI's sesquicentennial celebration.

"Victorian Fairy Painting" was previously exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, where it also broke attendance records. The exhibition was organized by Pamela Trimpe, curator of painting and sculpture and assistant director of the UI Museum of Art, working with members of the Royal Academy.

Trimpe said, "We're delighted about the attendance. It shows that the subject of these paintings is universal, something that is appreciated by a wide audience from London to Iowa City."

The exhibition will be on view at the museum until May 24 and will then travel to the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada.

The exhibition and its companion book examine the portrayal of fairies in art and literature from the late 18th to the early 20th centuries. The exhibition includes more than 70 paintings by both well and lesser known artists, including J.M.W. Turner, John Everett Millais, Richard Dadd,

John Anster Fitzgerald, Daniel Maclise, J. Edwin Landseer, Richard Doyle and Arthur Rackham.

Fairy painting was commercially and critically popular during the 19th century. It combined the Romantic interest in fantastic subject matter with the realistic techniques of Victorian painting. These qualities allowed fairy painting to bring together for the first time some of the most important concerns of 19th-century British art: the nude, the romantic landscape, the costume study, the sentimental narrative and imagery from literary, theatrical and historical sources.

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open 10 a.m. to

5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Public metered parking is available in UI parking lots across from the museum on Riverside Drive, and adjacent to the UI Alumni Center, which is just north of the museum.

The exhibition is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, United Airlines and United Airlines World-Wide Cargo, the Freedom Group, the Iowa Humanities Board, Old Capitol Mall, private individuals, the British Council and the British Consulate-General, Chicago.

3/6/98