BALTIMORE, MD (February 8, 2022) The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is pleased to announce the permanent installation of a recent gift of artwork: a self-portrait bust of William Henry Rinehart, the namesake of The Rinehart School of Sculpture, MICA’s MFA granting sculpture program. The artwork was generously donated to MICA by David G. Wirtes, Jr. of Fairhope, Alabama, in the fall of 2021.
“I stumbled upon the Rinehart bust at a little antique store in Pensacola, Florida,” remarked Dave, sharing his serendipitous discovery of the sculpture. “My Dad had been an antique dealer in Connecticut, Florida, and Georgia for 50 years, so I’d grown up appreciating quality pieces. I knew instantly that the work was important and valuable.” Once Dave had acquired the bust, he enlisted his daughter, Melly to research the sculpture to better understand what they had. (Melly has an extensive art education and was just awarded her M.A. from Sotheby’s, with distinction.) Her research concluded that they had an original Rinehart - a self-portrait bust created shortly before he died. An independent appraiser confirmed the authenticity.
Dave determined that it should be preserved and enjoyed by those who would understand and appreciate its beauty and importance, and so, he reached out to MICA. MICA was one of the schools Melly had been interested in attending, and although she ultimately chose a different path to pursue her art education, the family remembered fondly their experience with MICA and knew of William H. Rinehart’s legacy here. This past October, the family made the trip to Baltimore to personally deliver the sculpture. “I’ve just helped Mr. Rinehart find his way home, where he belongs,” reflected Dave. “I’m glad I was in the position to help make that happen.”
Dave and family delivers the bust to campus, October 2021
“Graduate Studies is delighted to accept this rare self-portrait bust of William Henry Rinehart,” said Stacey Salazar, Ed.D., Vice Provost for Graduate Studies here at MICA. “Rinehart himself donated most of his estate to MICA to support the study of sculpture for those who desire to make it a profession. I think he would be pleased to ‘come home’ to the MFA program founded in his name.”
THE BUST INSTALLED IN THE RINEHART SCHOOL OF SCULPTURE
The Rinehart School of Sculpture opened in 1896 under MICA's leadership, and the evolution of the School over the past 126 years is a great example of how graduate education at MICA innovates in response to the cultural moment, cultivating generations of artists. It was ranked in 2016 as the #3 MFA program in the country for sculpture by U.S. News & World Report. Past Directors of Rinehart have included Norman Carlberg (1961–98), Maren Hassinger (1998–2018), Jann Rosen-Queralt (2018-2021).
Along with welcoming Rinehart’s likeness this academic year, MICA is also very pleased to welcome the school's new program director, internationally recognized sculptor, Dolores Zinny.
For over thirty-five years, as part of the artist-duo Zinny Maidagan, Dolores has been engaged in a collaborative research-based, international practice involving commissions, exhibitions, public lectures, and publications. Through her work, Dolores seeks to bring analogies and connections from different geographies to the surface, addressing the relationship between culture, place, and translation.
On Tuesday, Feb 22, 2022, at 10:00 AM, the bust will officially be unveiled in its permanent home within the Rinehart School. MICA Faculty member Jenny Carson (Art History, Theory, and Criticism), who recently curated an exhibition on William Henry Rinehart’s studio practices and labor at The Walters Art Museum, will give a guest lecture on William H. Rinehart to current students. For more information, and to view the sculpture, please contact Dolores at email@example.com.
Interested in establishing your own charitable donation to MICA? Contact Giselle Piqué in MICA’s Advancement office at 410.225.2414 or firstname.lastname@example.org.