With “The Rossettis” on view through January 28, DelArt commits to mount an exhibition of Pre-Raphaelite painter Simeon Solomon in 2027.
Thousands of visitors have traveled to Delaware in recent months to see “The Rossettis,” a major international exhibition organized in partnership with Tate Britain. The exhibition, which runs through January 28, 2024, showcases the work of the Rossettis, the extraordinarily creative family that includes artists Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Elizabeth Siddal, and poet Christina Rossetti. As “The Rossettis” nears its closing date, the Delaware Art Museum has announced its next major Pre-Raphaelite art exhibition on the artist Simeon Solomon (1840–1905).
Scheduled for spring 2027, this will be the first museum show in the United States to comprehensively focus on Solomon. The British artist’s life and career still astonish many today. For nearly fifteen years Solomon worked in the orbit of the Pre-Raphaelite and Aesthetic movements, receiving sustained critical attention. While fellow Pre-Raphaelite artists frequently illustrated scenes from the New Testament, Solomon drew on his Jewish faith, picturing stories from the Torah and Prophets, as well as scenes of Jewish cultural and liturgical practices. By the mid-1860s, he was exploring same-sex passion in his art, frequently depicting multi-figure compositions marked by overt homosocial intimacy. Following arrests for homosexual crimes in the early 1870s, Solomon was rejected by the art establishment in which he had previously thrived. For his three remaining decades, he lived precariously, suffering from alcoholism and homelessness, yet his artistic output remained prolific.
Delaware Art Museum’s exhibition will bring together works by Solomon in public and private collections worldwide. The show will argue that Solomon, as a queer, Jewish artist, occupied a far more conspicuous role in the Victorian art world than has previously been recognized. The exhibition will be co-curated by Dr. Sophie Lynford, DelArt’s Annette Woolard-Provine Curator of the Bancroft Pre-Raphaelite Collection, and Dr. Roberto C. Ferrari, Curator of Art Properties, Columbia University. A leading expert on Solomon, Ferrari founded and co-manages the online “Simeon Solomon Research Archive.”
Sophie Lynford explains the significance of a major show on Solomon: “In histories of Victorian art, Solomon’s robust oeuvre was consistently downplayed and, in many instances, entirely omitted. This has led to a gap in the appreciation and understanding of his work. DelArt’s exhibition redresses this lacuna, foregrounding his Judaism and his homosexuality as essential to his contributions to Victorian art.”
Art lovers have two more weeks to experience “The Rossettis,” which will not travel to additional venues. Also on display at the museum is a new installation in the permanent galleries devoted to a significant oil painting by Solomon, The Mother of Moses (1860), in Delaware Art Museum’s collection.Executive Director Molly Giordano shares, “It is a tremendously exciting time for Victorian art at Delaware Art Museum. Partnering with Tate Britain to bring ‘The Rossettis’ to Wilmington has offered an unprecedented opportunity for enthusiasts of the Pre-Raphaelites to see so many stellar artworks in one location. With the 2027 Solomon show on the horizon, DelArt continues to lead the field on groundbreaking scholarship on this important art movement.”
For more information about “The Rossettis,” visit delart.org/rossettis.
The Rossettis was organized by the Delaware Art Museum in partnership with Tate Britain and is made possible through support from the Nathan Clark Foundation, the Amy P. Goldman Foundation, the Delaware Art Museum Council, and the Dr. Lee MacCormick Edwards Charitable Foundation. This exhibition is supported, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts and by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division promotes Delaware arts events on www.DelawareScene.com.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: The Rossettis
WHEN: Now through January 28, 2024, Wednesdays through Sundays; guided tours at 1 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
WHERE: Delaware Art Museum, 2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806
COST: $25; free for DelArt Plus members
Image: The Mother of Moses (detail), 1860. Simeon Solomon (1840–1905). Oil on canvas, 24 x 19 7/8 in. Delaware Art Museum, Bequest of Robert Louis Isaacson, 1999.