Article by Alexei Spindell
June 8, 2022
On June 5th, the celebrated Timken Museum in Balboa Park reopened to the public. In the wake of the pandemic, the Timken has taken the opportunity to install innovative new technologies for a maximally safe visit. It has also undergone significant renovations and welcomes the introduction of two new artworks into its gallery.
In addition to a new air filtration system, the Timken has installed antiviral technology designed to neutralize airborne pathogens with greater effectiveness than that of hospital operating rooms. It will be the first ever commercial beta site for this technology, and it expects visits from industry experts who are interested to observe these innovations at work.
The interior of the Timken has enjoyed significant changes and restorations. The walls are recolored, light installations upgraded, and its signature bronze elements have been polished to remove black patina and restore their golden finish. It has also integrated new digital elements to the gallery experience and updated its gallery placards with rich and informative descriptions to further engage its audiences.
Expanding its already rich representation of American art history, the museum welcomes two great American works of the 19th century: Thomas Ball’s Bust of Eve (1874), and the first work by a female artist to be acquired by the Timken – Ella Ferris Pell’s Salome (1890).
Thomas Ball was a multitalented, Florence-trained artist and an essential expression of the artistic ideals of his time. Bust of Eve is considered a particularly provocative instance of neoclassical sculpture with its sultry depiction of the biblical Eve.
Ella Perris Pell’s Salome gives us another provocative treatment of a biblical figure. The vilified temptress is given an uncharacteristically strong and even noble depiction–a symbol of Pell’s own confidence in the face of her challenges as a female artist in the 19th century.
The Timken Museum was founded in 1965 by the Timken and Putnam families out of wealth borne from their own technological innovations. Now, as a standing demonstration of innovation, the Timken celebrates its origins–one of several ways which make this reopening a grand one.