Here is a copy of my monthly newsletter if you want to be on my list please let me know. I visit an art exhibit and report on what I find there.
On the very last day of March a couple of good friends rousted me out of my winter torpor to see the show at the Brandywine Museum, From Homer to Hopper: Experiment and Ingenuity in American Art.
It was pouring rain so the trip was a bit hazardous but the company was enthusiastic and we made it there in one piece. After the splashing dash to the Museum door it was good to be inside with nothing but art to fill our senses for a few hours.
The Brandywine is a beautiful small museum rising majestically from the Brandywine River.
It is made of a rich combination of stone, brick, old sturdy wood, and glass. The walking paths are made of lovely cobble stones with some simple geometric designs inserted here and there. Plenty to appreciate. I look forward to coming back on a beautiful day to walk around and enjoy the surroundings and the sculptures nestled on the banks of the river.
The Museum was built in 1971. The basic structure was the old Hoffman’s grist mill and the restoration is lovely. The combination of old and new is very well handled in the architecture of the inside as well as the outside of the building. There is a fine respect for materials, with huge old beams made of wood holding up the spaces in one part of the galleries and large swaths of glass looking out over the river in other parts. The history of the Brandywine Conservancy is very interesting
http://www.brandywine.org/brandywine/about/our-history. This group of forward looking responsible citizens really have made a fine contribution to the area by placing 62,000 acres under conservation easements!
The Museum is dedicated to the work of the Wyeths. A more thorough look at that collection will have to wait for another day. We did enjoy a walk through some of the collection and were once again thrilled by the skill of the N.C. Wyeth’s illustrations. I will return some day to tour his home and Andrew Wyeth’s farm.
The show we came to see from the Philips collection was very inspiring. It is a small show which suits me fine as I much prefer lingering over my favorite paintings and not worrying that I am missing something. I had not seen many of the paintings before in reproduction which was a thrill. It is so exciting to see a work of one of your favorite artists for the first time in person.
The first painting in the show is a dark beauty by Albert Pinkham Ryder, The Moonlit Cove which was actually in the Armory Show. I’m never sure whether the cracks in old paintings add or subtract from their beauty. Certainly they were not intended by the artist and because of them we will never know exactly what texture was intended. I do think in this case the crackles add to the mystery of this painting as they say something about age and enduring feeling.
Albert Pinkham Ryder
The next painting that caught my eye was this interesting piece by Augustus Vincent Tack, who I must admit I never heard of before. It is the texture here that drew me in again. The paint seems to be brushed over underpainting in some places and thick in others but the overall affect of the textures and the color is somehow mesmerizing. Apparently Tack had some spiritualist leanings so perhaps that’s what comes through.
Ausgustus Vincent Tack
Close up of CANYON
This Marsden Hartley, one of my favorite artists, was new to me. It is so interesting the way the mind and heart of an artist shows in every work and, like composers, it is often possible from just a few notes or a few brushstrokes to tell who the artist is. Hartley’s luscious paint and simple shapes could belong to no one else.
This next painting, RED SUN, by Arthur Dove is luminous when seen in person. It is reproduced very large on a wall as one enters the exhibit and in that version it has absolutely no life at all.
This may have to do with the quality of the reproduction or the fact that paintings were created to be a certain size and when that is changed they loose their reason for being.
Horace Pippin’s, DOMINO PLAYERS hit the spot- pun intended. I love the play of black and white throughout the painting with just a splash of red here and there. It looks like Horace had a lot of fun with this one. I wonder if he is the young boy staring out at us.
THE DOMINO PLAYERS
THE DOMINO PLAYERS
This painting by Hopper was also reproduced large on the wall outside the show and again suffered from being stretched. Like so many of Hopper’s paintings a solitary figure contemplates something and we are moved. Why is he sitting alone on Sunday and why does the painting stir so many lonely personal moments? There is also a Hopper painting of a bridge underpass in the show that I will leave you to discover for yourself. I had never seen it before and found it haunting.
The month of March found me continuing to try to diminish my footprint by getting rid of things I no longer need or want. I like hats. I don’t always wear them but I like to imagine wearing them various places. I have too many and some are very large. Obviously they must go, so I decided to see if someone else would like to imagine themselves wearing my hats and put them on eBay. So I took several selfies of myself in the hats. Every time I looked at these pictures I broke out laughing. So I decided to ham it up, add some make up to the selfies in photoshop, and make a video set to music. When I found this piece sung by Peggy Lee I knew I was on to the essence of my hat shedding experience. I hope you get a kick out of it too.
I am working on adding shops to my website so check it out. You never know what will be up there as I am adding everyday.
Thanks for tuning in.
See you next month or actually this month.