Otis Kaye: Money, Mystery, and Mastery
January 17, 2015–May 10, 2015
Elise Holmes Warrington Gallery, Gift of the Warrington Foundation
Otis Kaye, D’-JIA-VU?, 1937, Oil on panel, 27 x 39 1/2 in., Courtesy of Cordover Collection, LLC
The exhibition features thirty-four works that display a mastery of the highly realistic, trompe l’oeil technique in curious compositions of currency, letters, and other symbolic items that make reference to political, economic and social issues facing America, and Otis Kaye personally, during the first half of the twentieth-century. More puzzling than Kaye’s work, which is steeped in mystery and symbolism, is the enigma that surrounds the artist himself. The record of Kaye’s life is nearly non-existent. The artist did not exhibit or sell his work during his lifetime, but gave his art to close family and friends. Through this exhibition, our visitors will have the opportunity to investigate this intriguing artist and help answer some of the remaining questions about his life and work.
The works featured in this retrospective are some of Kaye’s finest, generously loaned from various private collections and the Otis Kaye Estate and Trust. The Museum is thankful to the many private collectors, including Ron Cordover, Walter and Lucille Rubin, Richard Manoogian, Frank Hevrdejs, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and the Sheldon Museum, University of Nebraska for their loans to this exhibition. In addition, Ron Cordover’s generous contribution through the Cordover Family Foundation has allowed us to publish the first monograph on Kaye with contributions by James M. Bradburne, Mark D. Mitchell, and Geraldine Banks, which are included in the fully illustrated, 188-page catalogue, Otis Kaye: Money, Mastery, and Mystery. Additional funding has been received from the David T. Langrock Foundation, which has supported several of the New Britain Museum of American Art’s important scholarly monographs.