As a token of gratitude to the doctors and nursing staff in the pandemic’s front line, many museums are saluting their efforts by posting paintings from their collections on social media with themes related to this profession.
The campaign – under the hashtag “MuseumsThankHeroes” – was organized by Mara Kurlandsky and Adrienne Poon of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington. On April 1 the museum posted on Twitter the photograph “Nurses Working, Novartis – China” taken in 2012 by Mary Ellen Mark. She accompanied it with the caption “ ‘Thank you’ to all professional doctors and nurses in the front line working 24/7 to keep us healthy and safe during these difficult times”.
The Whitney Museum followed with Edward Hopper’s work of 1900 “Study of a Nurse and Child Walking in the Park”, adding “Today we join the museum community to thank the healthcare workers, caretakers, hospital maintenance workers, and all who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.”
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston posted “Country Doctor” painted by Horace Pippin between 1933 and 1939 with the comment “Today #MuseumsThankHealthHeroes for everything they do! In Country Doctor (~1933–1939), also known as Night Call, a country doctor leads his horse & covered cart, presumably to tend to a patient. Pippin’s painting quietly celebrates the dauntless and gallant doctor, as do we.”
Paintings chosen by the Guggenheim Museum, New York and the Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo were more abstract. The first posted “Portrait of a Military Doctor”, a work painted between 1914 and 1915 by French Cubist artist Albert Gleizes. The second posted “La nourrice”, 1884-1885) a monochromatic work in conte crayon by French artist Georges Seurat, known for introducing Pointillism.