Saturday, January 17, 2009

Gretchen Worden's portrait

This portrait of Gretchen Worden (1947-2004) was revealed at the 150th anniversary celebration of the Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia on Jan. 9th. Gretchen directed the museum for 29 years and the painting will be officially installed in the gallery that has been named in her honor. The instrument she is depicted holding is a lithotrite, which was passed through the urethra to crush bladder stones. Also in the portrait are the skeletons of the giant and the dwarf that she curated. In her book Mütter Museum, Gretchen wrote:

Laura Lindgren - publisher, editor, art director, and designer of the Mütter Museum books and calendars - describes the moment the portrait was revealed:

Ironically, an unpublished essay about Gretchen that I wrote shortly after her death ends with the following words: She put those of us with similar interests in touch, introduced pairs of conjoined twins to each other. “We’re not a museum about the dead,” she reminded, “we’re a museum about the living.” The work of the living continues and the examples of the dead remain in that jewel of a museum that she promoted so tirelessly, but Gretchen has left the building…or has she?

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