Press Room

Boldface names from a Georgia collection

Monday, April 16, 2018

The exhibition “Bloom Where You’re Planted: The Collection of Deen Day Sanders” features a vibrant and highly varied collection of American works of art, on view at the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia from May 19 to July 29, 2018. The collector has a number of impressive distinctions, especially in relation to her philanthropy to the University of Georgia and the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. She has served as president of the Garden Club of Georgia, National Garden Clubs Inc. and, most recently, as vice president of the World Association of Floral Artists, as well as on the boards of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, the US Botanic Garden and the Diplomatic Reception Rooms in Washington, D.C. She has also spent a significant portion of her life building one of the most notable art collections in the state of Georgia, at Bellmere, the home of Deen and Jim Sanders.

“Bloom Where You’re Planted” is a singular opportunity for visitors to see that collection, and its presence in the state museum of art, on the campus of the state’s flagship public university is fitting. The exhibition will allow the public to view an impressively cohesive collection that tells a story both of American life and of Mrs. Sanders’ support of the State Botanical Garden, art and all things that grow.

Dating from the 19th to the early 20th century, the paintings, furniture, porcelain and other works in the exhibition emphasize the diversity of American art at this time. The exhibition focuses on themes of childhood, nature, still lifes, interiors and depictions of the American West and Native Americans. Together, they touch on every major trend in American art during the period, which speaks to Mrs. Sanders’ eye as a collector and to the quality and scope of the works in general.

The collection’s visual art in particular highlights a number of influential artists. One will find names such as Thomas Sully, Mary Cassatt, Asher B. Durand, Thomas Moran, Winslow Homer, Ernest Lawson, and the impressionist Childe Hassam among others. The show’s curator, Sarah Kate Gillespie (curator of American art at the museum), is especially proud of the inclusion of two rarely seen works by John Singer Sargent in the exhibition.

Dale Couch, the museum’s curator of decorative arts, points out the way in which Mrs. Sanders’ collection functions together as a whole and speaks to her focused collecting. He wrote, “To speak of her personally in terms of collecting, a spirit of generosity is what comes to mind. She is Georgia bred and born, Georgia throughout, no question about it, and loyal to our state and our region.”

The museum will publish an exhibition catalogue including full-page color illustrations of every work on display as well as essays by Gillespie, Couch, Linda Chafin (conservation botanist at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia), UGA associate professor of history Akela Reason, UGA associate professor of education Jennifer Graff and others, which will be available for purchase in the Museum Shop.

An opening reception for the exhibition will be co-hosted at the museum by the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art and the Friends of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia on May 18 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. ($5 non-members; free for members). Other related programs include a Family Day on May 19 from 10 a.m. to noon, a Toddler Tuesday on May 22 at 10 a.m. (free but registration required via or 706.542.0448 after April 1) and a public tour on June 6 at 2 p.m.

The exhibition is sponsored by the W. Newton Morris Charitable Foundation and the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art.


Writer: Savannah Guenthner,
Contact: Michael Lachowski, 706-542-9078,

Museum Information
Partial support for the exhibition and programs at the Georgia Museum of Art is provided by the Georgia Council for the Arts through appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. The council is a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Individuals, foundations and corporations provide additional museum support through their gifts to the University of Georgia Foundation. The Georgia Museum of Art is located in the Performing and Visual Arts Complex on UGA’s East Campus. The address is 90 Carlton Street, Athens, Ga., 30602-1502. For more information, including hours, see or call 706-542-4662.

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