Theodora Allen: Saturnine

Saturday, Feb 26 – Jul 10, 2022

50 E. Erie
Murphy Auditorium
Chicago, IL 60611

This spring, the Driehaus Museum is proud to present the work of Los Angeles-based artist Theodora Allen in Theodora Allen: Saturnine.  The exhibition marks the latest iteration of the Museum’s newest initiative: A Tale of Today, which features work by leading contemporary artists to expand the immersive experience and to shape our understanding of the world through the art, architecture, design, and cultural history of the Nickerson Mansion, the Museum’s home.
Curated by Stephanie Cristello, Saturnine derives its title from figure of Saturn and its historical association with melancholy, often referred to as the curse of artists. Visitors to the Museum will see Allen’s luminous and meditative compositions, filled with a lexicon of snakes, planets, moons, and plant life – motifs that draw from ancient Greek mythology, literature, fin-de-siècle Europe, and the zeitgeist of 1960s California.  According to Cristello, “Through these intensely detailed and distilled paintings, we come closer to an experience of understanding the enduring symbols that surround us.”
Allen’s paintings will be exhibited in the second-floor galleries of the Driehaus Museum, convening a dialogue between the rich ornamentation of the Gilded Age Nickerson Mansion and the artist’s interpretation of iconic mythical, natural, and celestial symbols. Alongside its collection of Tiffany glass, pre-Raphaelite paintings, and Art Nouveau flourishes, the unique environment of the Driehaus Museum becomes an essential part of Theodora Allen: Saturnine. “As the Driehaus Museum moves into its next chapter, we are thrilled to recommit to the core philosophy pursued by both the Nickerson family and founder Richard H. Driehaus to enliven the Mansion as a host to art and artists of their time and ours for connection, inspiration and learning,” said Anna Musci, Executive Director of the Driehaus Museum. “Theodora Allen’s work is emblematic of timeless tropes that resonate with the museum and the collection, as well as our present day.”

Theodora Allen is represented by Blum & Poe (Los Angeles / New York / Tokyo), Kasmin (New York), and 12.26 (Dallas). A monograph published by Motto Books (Berlin, Germany) accompanies this iteration of the exhibition traveling from Kunsthal Aarhus (Denmark) and will be available for sale in the Driehaus Museum Store. The Museum will offer exhibition programs throughout the run, including select events presented in partnership with EXPO CHICAGO.