It takes a creative and open minded museum director, and William Valerio, the director and CEO of Woodmere, is clearly that, to embrace such quirky subject matter, yet Valerio found Paone's collection to be compelling and worthy of an exhibition.
I asked Valerio
decided to exhibit, what are essentially simple dime store tin toys, in a museum that is known for having important Philadelphia artists from Charles Wilson Peale, in the age of the American Revolution, to painter Sarah McEneaney, who today is a leading figure in the city's increasingly vibrant art scene.
"We are showing the printed tin and paper objects because we consider them to be art," explained Valerio
In fact, the companies that produced many of these items, like Dennison and Avery, hired artists in the 1920s and 1930s to design these toys and ornaments for mass distribution, and somehow, he
points out, that even today, the specific witches, cats, and pumpkin designs are immediately recognizable.
"When imagery has this kind of lasting power-a ubiquity that is taken for granted-it is important to recognize, consider, and think," said Valerio