In conjunction with the current exhibition, Streams and Mountains without End: Asian Art and the Legacy of Sherman E. Lee at the Cleveland Museum of Art, (June 27 – August 23, 2009) the Ingalls Library and Archives staff has organized a display of photographs, documents and objects from the Museum Archive which provide a glimpse into the many facets of Sherman Lee and his contributions to the museum during his long tenure (1952-1983).
Among the items included in the display is a photograph of Lee placing a time capsule in the façade on the Breuer Building. The trowel accompanying the photograph was used at the cornerstone laying in 1969. A certificate from the French Ordre National de La Légion D’Honneur awarded to Lee in 1966 is displayed along with a “Free Lee” bumper sticker. The bumper sticker was produced by the museum in response to the French government’s international arrest warrant issued for Lee and claiming that the museum’s Poussin painting, Holy Family on the Steps, lacked an export permit.
Other items include a portrait photograph of Charles Lindburgh inscribed to Lee as well as Lee’s college yearbook from American University, 1938. Perhaps the most interesting (and humorous) object on display is a plaster head of Lee. This imitation of the Eleven-headed Guanyin in the museum’s collection was given to Sherman Lee by museum benefactor Katherine White. The 13 heads atop the portrait head of Lee represent the museum trustees. The earplug is a facetious reminder that the museum director did not always listen to the squawkings of his board!
Visitors to the Museum are welcome to view the exhibit during regular library business hours.