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The Deshong Art Collection at Widener

January 13, 2010

An article in Sunday’s Philadelphia Inquirer focused on the “languishing” state of the Alfred O. Deshong mansion and museum on the Avenue of the States in Chester, and also tells the story of theft of some of the paintings from the collection in the 1970s.  Reporter Mari A. Schaefer writes in the Inquirer that in the 1980s a “court took control of the estate, giving the art to Widener University.”

A primary feature of that art collection, a  Japanese sculpture from the Meiji period (1868-1912) eagle that stood in front of the Deshong Mansion, now stands on the lawn of Old Main.  Restored and installed last November, it bears the new name “Freedom’s Pride.”   A few other pieces from Deshong’s holdings that include Japanese carved ivory figures, Chinese carved hardstone vessels, Japanese and Chinese lacquerware and numerous large bronze vases, can now be seen in the Widener Art Collection & Gallery on the first floor of University Center on the Chester Campus.

Begining in June and running through August 2011, the gallery will be devoted to showing much of the Deshong collection.  Currently, the gallery is showing “Private Visions: Shadows of a Journey 2010” by Philadelphia artist Tanya Dodd Murphy.  The gallery is free and open to the public from Tuesday through Saturday.

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