The seven-foot metal sculpture, a form composed of graceful looping lines, was donated to the college by Trustee Emeritus Edgar Eisner and his wife, Lucky Dallo Eisner ’53, to ensure that the artwork continues to be an object of admiration and a source of inspiration.
“Lucky and I are delighted that ‘Key Angel’ has found a new home at Wheaton,” Eisner said. “We thought of giving it to the college so that students can enjoy it, and we decided to do that rather than sell it at auction. It’s a more meaninful place for the sculpture to be.”
The Eisners have long been supporters of Wheaton, both in service to the college and as philanthropists and contributors to the Permanent Collection. In the past decade, the Eisners contributed 17 stained-glass panels, the most recent of which arrived late in 2011. They also funded the construction of long-term cases in the lobby of Watson Fine Arts to allow regular display of the works of art, many of which are late medieval and early modern Swiss panels.
“Key Angel” holds the distinction of being the first “long-term” sculpture installed on the Wheaton campus in 45 years, according to Leah Niederstadt, an art history professor and curator of the college’s Permanent Collection. The new sculptural work is particularly welcome given the collection’s use as a teaching tool for classes in the arts, particularly in three-dimensional design, as well as in other disciplines.
“I’ve already used ‘Key Angel’ in one of my classes, ‘Exhibiting Africa: Past and Present,’” said Niederstadt, relating an episode that took place within a week of the sculpture’s arrival. “We were talking about displaying artwork and the process of installing a piece. As part of that discussion, we walked out to the site and talked about the piece and its installation.”
The sculpture also enriches the college’s collection by including another major artist among its holdings. Dill’s work can be found in numerous public and private collections and in leading museums, including the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art, both in New York City, and the National Museum of American Art, in Washington, D.C.
Photo by Keith Nordstrom