The museum continues to celebrate Sewell C. Biggs’s passion for early Delaware decorative arts with the addition of well-documented examples to his collection, and few are as prized as the four compass-seat side chairs (1740−65) made for the Dover home of wealthy merchant Vincent Loockerman (fig. 4) . The chairs are among the earliest known furniture believed to have been made in Delaware. 1 The pembroke table on view with the set was perhaps made by Benjamin Randolph, who supplied chairs to Loockerman, presumably in the 1760s. 2 The respect paid to Biggs’s interests in the growth of the museum collection is matched by an equally ambitious desire to forge new directions and illuminate new relationships within the galleries. The modern and contemporary art collections are among the fastest growing portions of the museum. As examples of national trends of the past hundred years are added to expand the original Biggs collection further into the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, much of the newest and most exciting work being collected comes from within the Mid-Atlantic region, especially Delaware. Displayed above the notable Loockerman chairs is A Map of the World (2006) by Townsend, Delaware, resident Mary Tobias Putman, winner of the Hassam, Speicher, Betts & Symons Purchase Fund Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. This minimalist landscape features the timeless fishing village of Leipsic on the Delaware Bay, only a few miles from the Biggs Museum.
Fig. 4. Walnut side chairs, 1740−65. Gift and partial gift of the Loockerman / Bradford Family 2013.10.1-.2; Mahogany pembroke table, Benjamin Randolph (?), Philadelphia, 1760−80. Museum purchase 2006.17; A Map of the World , Mary Tobias Putman, 2006. Acrylic on panel. Museum purchase 2010.7
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