Science meets Art with Morton C. Bradley Jr.

Graphic sculptures hang in front of a gallery wall which features black and white photos as well as text about Morton C Bradley

Math Meets Art

The Legacy of Morton C. Bradley, Jr. at Indiana University

In celebration of the exhibition, Unity in Variety, University Collections is providing new ways to engage with Bradley’s geometric sculptures. 
Dylan Thurston, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Mathematics, will give a talk on the dodecahedral geometric structures that recur throughout Bradley’s work. A hands-on activity will follow.
Martha MacLeish, associate professor in the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design’s Creative Core, will present color models that emphasize color relationships and illustrate color’s spatiality. Participants will be encouraged to make their own color discoveries through a hands-on activity.

RSVP to attend, snacks provided
A person is posed against an oil painting in the background.  Loose long dark hair is visible and the smiling person looks at the camera and wears a teal smock

Science Meets Art

The Legacy of Morton C. Bradley, Jr. at Indiana University

This talk will present the contributions of pioneering conservator, artist, and collector Morton C. Bradley, Jr. to the field of art conservation and how it impacts current conservation work at IU. Mr. Bradley published the first American treatment methodology handbook for works of art, which still informs conservation history studies today. Ms. Ribits’ research revealed that some of the conservation techniques he mastered were applied to pieces in IU’s collections, including paintings currently on view at Wylie House Museum. Mr. Bradley’s strong ties to Indiana University include his relationship to Andrew Wylie, IU’s first president.

Limited to the first 40 to RSVP

Morton C. Bradley and Indiana University

Bradley’s great-grandfather Theophilus Wylie was the cousin of Andrew Wylie, IU’s first president, who in 1835 built the Wylie House, the family’s ancestral home. Restored in 1965 as a house museum, it is now operated by IU Libraries at 307 E. Second Street. 

Bradley, who died in 2004 in Arlington, Mass., contributed hundreds of family artifacts, including furniture, china, silverware, quilts, rugs and 1,000 family letters – even a 125-year-old Christmas cactus now in the Wylie House entry hall. 

“He is responsible for a significant number of original family artifacts and our archival materials, letters, diaries and photos of the Wylie family,” said Champion. “He understood the importance of his family’s history.” 

Bradley’s mother and grandmother grew up in the Wylie House, and his father, Morton Bradley Sr., attended IU and met his mother, Marie, there. Champion said Bradley Jr. visited the house as a child and grew up hearing family stories about IU and the homestead, so he would have known Wylie House was a safe place for his family’s artifacts. 

Ribits said Bradley Jr. also bequeathed about 530 paintings from the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century he collected while living in New England. They include marine scenes and scenic area paintings, and some by famous artists like German-American landscape painter Albert Bierstadt.

Her talk, “Science Meets Art: The Legacy of Morton C. Bradley Jr. at IU,” will emphasize his career as a premier art restorer along the East Coast and as head conservator at Harvard’s Fogg Art Museum, as well as his conservation techniques. He published the first American treatment methodology book for artworks. Ribits’ research showed some of his methods were applied to pieces in IU’s collections. 

“He has given us a wealth of information,” she said. “There aren’t many collections that are so large, with such a wide breadth and are also specifically collected by a conservator,” said Ribits. 

She explained he collected some paintings for a different reason—to restore them. “I think it’s pretty fascinating.” Ribits said she believes art enthusiasts as well as Indiana University students studying art would be interested in learning about restoring artworks and how materials used can impact the aging process. 

The event will be held at the IU Libraries Wylie House Museum, which is home to the Morton C. Bradley Jr. Education Center.  In 2009, a nineteenth-century barn similar to one owned by the Wylie family was located in rural Indiana, deconstructed, and moved to the Wylie House property. The Morton C. Bradley Education Center, as the barn was named, provides a meeting area, exhibition space, administrative offices, archival storage, and public ADA-compliant restrooms on the grounds of the Wylie House Museum.

The barn at the Wylie House Museum, surrounded by overgrown gardens.
The Morton C. Bradley Education Center at Wylie House Museum