In 2019 the Fairfield University Art Museum was awarded a Samuel H. Kress Foundation Interpretive Fellowship. Fairfield’s Fellow, Dr. Sarah Cantor, was chosen to work on projects that focused on three of the Museum’s core programmatic areas: collections, exhibitions, and educational initiatives. The following description of Dr. Cantor’s accomplishments as Kress Interpretive Fellow have been taken directly from the final report submitted by the Fairfield University Art Museum at the end of her tenure.
The major project assigned to Dr. Cantor was to prepare the first scholarly catalogue of the museum's Kress Collection, which was published in both print and digital versions in Fall 2019. The catalogue includes an overview of the collection's history as well as entries on each painting that include revised attributions and new research, all written in an engaging and direct style that will be accessible to both visitors and scholars. Dr. Cantor's research was based on the extensive work begun by the Museum's former director, Dr. Jill Deupi. In addition to using the research compiled in the files on each painting, Dr. Cantor consulted with scholars from around the world to ensure that the text presents the latest information and analysis of the Kress paintings. She compiled an updated bibliography for each work, which is incorporated into the digital presentation on the Museum's website.
Dr. Cantor further organized and recorded interviews with faculty at Fairfield University to preserve the history of how the works arrived at Fairfield, particularly the initial motivation for the transfer of the paintings from the former Bridgeport Museum of Art, Science and Industry to the University. Dr. Cantor also prepared the script for an audio guide to accompany the Kress Collection.
Dr. Cantor's second major project as Kress Interpretive Fellow was the creation of a Kids' Guide to the Kress Collection, which was also published in Fall 2019 and launched with a special Family Day event. The Kids' Guide includes activities for a range of different age levels from pre-kindergarten to middle school that will help young visitors engage with the paintings in the collection.
In addition to her work on the Kress catalogue and Kids' Guide, Dr. Cantor provided significant support to the museum's small team during her fellowship term. Her experience with French 18th-century art, in particular, was invaluable during the special exhibition France in the Golden Age: Paintings and Drawings from The Horvitz Collection, for which she wrote an introductory essay and presented two gallery talks.