Saturday, August 25, 2012

American Impressionism: Paintings From The Phillips Collection

80 works were featured in the 2007 exhibition American Impressionism: Paintings From The Phillips Collection in honor of the museum’s 85th anniversary. On display were works by such artists as Childe Hassam, Maurice Prendergast, J. Alden Weir, and John Henry Twatchman.

"Over the course of a decade, from 1912 to 1922, Duncan Phillips assembled an impressive collection of American impressionist paintings," says Jay Gates, director of The Phillips Collection. "They formed the very bedrock of the museum and have shaped the development of the collection ever since."

When Duncan Phillips opened his museum in the fall of 1921, the collection included 237 paintings 87 of which were works by 25 different American impressionist artists. By far, the greatest number of these were by the acknowledged "mature" masters of the style such as Childe Hassam, Theodore Robinson, John Henry Twachtman, J. Alden Weir, and William Lathrop. The collection also included paintings by Ernest Lawson, Maurice Prendergast, Gifford Beal, and Helen Turner. These artists applied the brighter palette and broken brushwork of French impressionism to the American landscape, focusing on intimate and atmospheric views of parks and beaches as well as urban views and charming interiors. While all of these paintings were crafted with particular interest in the seasons, changing light, and optical effects, American impressionist painters differed from their French counterparts by continuing to imbue their work with larger ideas related to the emotional and spiritual character of the landscape.

For Phillips, impressionism was always a question of personal temperament or subjectivity combined with natural phenomena. In the work of both Twatchman and Weir, for instance, Phillips found depictions of the intimate moods of the artists’ Connecticut properties as celebrations of the American countryside and pastoral respite from the modern world. Both artists used the language of French impressionism to explore nature’s emotional effects.

Twachtman’s Summer is a classic example of this. Phillips regarded it as one of his best purchases for 1919, outranking all others, including those by Weir, Hassam, and Lawson.

The exhibition also featured the work or less well known but equally extraordinary artist, Allen Tucker. Phillips acquired Tucker’s Paintings,

Red Barns and

The Rise, in 1926-1927. Considered by his colleagues to be the “American van Gogh” because of his vigorous and animated brushwork, Tucker captured the attentions of Phillips who sought to add an original van Gogh to his growing collection of modern art during this period.

Duncan Phillips and American Impressionism

Duncan Phillips arrived in New York in 1910, with dreams of becoming an art critic. Impressionism was America’s popular mainstream aesthetic style. By the end of the decade, he could count himself as one of its first collectors. American impressionist works were the foundation of the museum and significantly shaped its development, playing a vital role in Phillip’s maturing appreciation of abstraction. In the early 1920’s the writing of contemporary critics such as Roger Fry and Clive Bell, opened Phillip’s eyes to the intent of abstract art, and his collecting in that decade reflected his new understanding of abstraction, he turned his attention towards other artists. He was drawn not only to the new American realism, but also to the American moderns around Stiegliz and the artists of the School of Paris, including Bonnard, Vuillard, Matisse and Braque. Phillip’s collecting practices were ultimately driven by his desire to create a cohesive collection. Only artists whom Phillips saw as “modern in mind,” or whose work could be seen as links between the past and present, found a permanent place in the collection.

The catalogue entitled American Impressionists: Painters of Light and Modern Landscape was published by The Phillips Collection and Rizzoli International Publications and features essays by William H. Gerdts, the leading authority on American impressionism and Phillips exhibition curator Susan Behrends Frank.

Following its stay at The Phillips Collection, in Washington, DC, the exhibition traveled to the following galleries: The Dixon Gallery & Gardens, in Memphis; the Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Rochester, in New York; the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, in Alabama; the Oklahoma City Museum of Art; the Society of Four Arts, in Palm Beach, Florida; and the Museum of Fine Arts, in Santa Fe.

Watch exhibition curator Susan Behrends Frank give a brief overview of American Impressionism: Paintings from The Phillips Collection in the museum galleries. In this clip she highlights Washington Arch Spring by Childe Hassam:

In this clip she highlights Bathers at Bellport by William Glackens:

In this clip she highlights Under The Trees by Maurice Prendergast:

In this clip she highlights The High Pasture by J. Alden Weir:

More images from the exhibition:

Gifford Beal, The Promenade, 1922 (b. New York, NY, 1879; d. New York, NY, 1956). Oil on canvas. The Phillips Collection, acquired 1922.

Ernest Lawson (1873-1939), Spring Night, Harlem River, 1913; Oil on canvas mounted on panel, 25 1/8 x 30 1/8 in.; The Phillips Collection, acquired 1920

Julian Alden Weir (1852-1919), Afternoon by the Pond, Ca. 1908-1909; Oil on canvas, 25 1/8 x 30 in.; The Phillips Collection, acquired 1921

Also see the discussion here.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

IMPRESSIONISTS BY THE SEA: Monet, Manet, and Renoir

The highly anticipated exhibition Impressionists by the Sea made its U.S. debut at The Phillips Collection on Oct. 20, 2007, and remained on view through Jan.13, 2008. Featuring seminal work by some of the most celebrated artists of the period—including Claude Monet, Edouard Manet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Gustave Courbet—the exhibition showcased over 60 masterpieces drawn from major international collections. Impressionists by the Sea, organized by the Royal Academy in London, The Phillips Collection, and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, chronicled the dramatic transformation of the northern coast of France and explored the impact of the newly fashionable seaside on the quintessential painters of modern life.

Claude Monet, La Plage á Trouville, 1870, oil on canvas (53.5 x 65 cm), Wadsworth Atheneum

From the 1820s onward, the coast played a pivotal role in the development of impressionist painting as artists sought to illustrate the dramatic social and economic changes developing in these small fishing towns. During the summer months the coast saw its beaches, fishing villages, and modest ports transformed into an extension of modern urban life—the summer boulevard of Paris. Aided by the expansion of the railway and the emergence of organized leisure, tourists and artists alike quickly discovered this part of the world.
railway and the emergence of organized leisure, tourists and artists alike quickly discovered this part of the world.

Impressionists by the Sea was the first exhibition to examine the distinct social history that shaped the work of impressionist painters as they recorded the rise of tourism along the northern coast of France in the 19th century. The exhibition highlighted the range of subjects that captured the imagination of these artists—from simple studies of light flickering off the sea and sand to more finished paintings of Parisian tourists enjoying the beach and sea air or the everyday work of local fishermen.

The beach and the sea prompted new compositional strategies for the impressionists. For a group of artists so captivated by the quality of color and light, the sea off France’s northern coast offered endless possibilities. Artists recorded not only the allure of the sea and its changing moods but also the many fashionable people who traveled to the shore in search of an escape from city life.

“The story of French marine painting in the 19th century remains largely untold,” said Jay Gates, director of The Phillips Collection. “By exploring the burgeoning seaside resort, this exhibition highlights the impressionists’ great range and diversity of approaches to the coastal theme.”

Impressionists by the Sea charted the emergence of plein-air painting at the seaside, starting with the work of Eugène Isabey, Camille Corot, Johan Barthold Jongkind, and Eugène Boudin. Although indebted to Dutch 17th-century marine painting, these artists introduced new ways of conveying the effects of light and air that eventually influenced painters such as Monet, Manet, and Renoir. By the 1860s, with the development of seaside villas and hotels, artists began to depict the social panorama of top-hatted men and parasol-shaded women gathering along the shoreline.

The exhibition concluded with a look at beach scenes of the 1880s, in which the impressionists, most notably Monet, turned their backs on the depictions of people and used their new painting techniques to capture the effects of weather and light on the coastline. Monet continued to explore the sea as a powerful force of nature, and in his work the effects of weather and light attain unrivaled prominence. This poetic response to the sea, virtually devoid of human presence, stands in stark contrast to the paintings by his colleagues depicting the fashionable figures on holiday at the beach.

Eugène-Louis Boudin, La Plage de Trouville àl’heure du Bain (Beach near Trouville), 1864, (67.5 x 104 cm.), Oil on canvas, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada

In addition to these masterpieces, a number of larger and more finished beach scenes by artists including James McNeill Whistler and John Singer Sargent provided the context within which the impressionists’ pictorial innovations were received in Paris. These works of art, created for acceptance by the official Salon, highlight the distinctive qualities of the impressionists’ aesthetic experiments and treatment of their newfound subject matter.

The exhibition was organized by The Phillips Collection, Washington D.C.; the Royal Academy of Arts, London; and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Conn. It is curated by John House, Walter H. Annenberg Professor, Courtauld Institute; MaryAnne Stevens, acting secretary, Royal Academy of Arts; Eliza Rathbone, chief curator, The Phillips Collection; and Dr. Eric Zafran, curator of European paintings and sculpture, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. s.

Impressionists by the Seawas on view at the Royal Academy through Sept. 30. Following its close at the Phillips on Jan. 13, 2008, the exhibition was display at the Wadsworth Atheneum Feb. 9–May 11, 2008.

An accompanying catalogue includes an essay by Professor John House on the pictorial representation of the development of the French seaside during the 19th century, and an essay by Dr. David Hopkin of Hertford College, Oxford, on the economic relationship between traditional fishing industries and new recreational functions. The catalogue, also features detailed entries on each work.
Works Included In The Exhibition

Eugène-Louis Boudin (1824 – 1898)
Bathing time at Deauville L’Heure du bain à Deauville 1865 Oil on panel
National Gallery of Art, Washington. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon
Eugène-Louis Boudin (1824 – 1898)
The Beach at Trouville La Plage à Trouville 1863 Oil on panel Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund

Eugène-Louis Boudin (1824 – 1898)

The Beach at Trouville La Plage de Trouville 1863 Oil on wood panel The Phillips Collection, Acquired in 1923

Eugène-Louis Boudin (1824 – 1898)

The Beach at Trouville La Plage de Trouville 1865 Oil on canvas Princeton University Art Museum. Gift of the Estate of Laurence Hutton

Eugène-Louis Boudin (1824 - 1898)

The Coast at Concarneau Concarneau n.d. Graphite on wove paper National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of the Christian Humann Foundation

Eugène-Louis Boudin (1824 - 1898) Deauville 1893 Oil on canvas

Courtauld Institute Gallery, London The Samuel Courtauld Trust, Courtauld Institute of Art Gallery, London

Eugène-Louis Boudin (1824 - 1898)

Etretat, the Porte d’Aval Étretat: la Porte d’Aval 1890 Oil on canvas

Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection On loan at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid

Eugène-Louis Boudin (1824 - 1898)

Figures on the Beach Personnages au bord de la plage 1866 Watercolor on pencil Fenner and Ina Milton

Eugène-Louis Boudin (1824 - 1898)

Passengers on Shipboard En bateau n.d. Graphite on wove paper National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of the Christian Humann Foundation

Eugène-Louis Boudin (1824 - 1898)

Provincial Figures Personnages provinciaux n.d. Graphite on wove paper National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of the Christian Humann Foundation

Jules Breton (1827 – 1906)

A Spring by the Sea Une Source au bord de la mer 1866 Oil on canvas Private collection

Félix-Hilaire Buhot (1847 – 1898)

The Cliff: Saint-Malo Bay La Falaise: Baie de Saint-Malo 1886/90 Heliogravure, etching, drypoint, roulette, and spit bite on laid paper National Gallery of Art, Washington, Rosenwald Collection

Félix-Hilaire Buhot (1847 – 1898)

Squall at Trouville Un Grain à Trouville 1874-1875 Etching and aquatint in black on wove paper National Gallery of Art, Washington, Helena Gunnarsson Buhot Collection

Gustave Caillebotte (1848 – 1894)


1880 Oil on canvas Private Collection

Mary Cassatt (1844 – 1926)

Children at the Seashore

1885 Oil on canvas National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Ailsa Mellon Bruce Collection

Jean-Charles Cazin (1841 – 1901)

The Storm (Equihen, Pas-de-Calais) L’Orage (Equihen, Pas-de-Calais) c. 1876 Oil on canvas

Paris, Musée d’Orsay, Legs de Mme. Julia Bartet, 1942

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796 - 1875)

The Beach, Etretat Etretat, la plage 1872 Oil on canvas Saint Louis Art Museum

Gustave Courbet (1819 – 1877)

Calm Sea Mer calme 1866 Oil on canvas Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon National Gallery of Art, Washington. Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon

Gustave Courbet (1819 – 1877)

Rough Sea near a Cliff Vue d’une mer agitée près d’une falaise c. 1865/66 Oil on canvas The Matthiesen Gallery, London

Gustave Courbet (1819 – 1877)

The Shore at Trouville: Sunset Effect La Plage de Trouville: Coucher de soleil c. 1865/69 Oil on canvas Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT. Gift in honor of Helene and Mark Eisner, by exchange, with additional funds provided by The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund

Gustave Courbet (1819 – 1877)

The Waterspout La Trombe c. 1866 Oil on canvas Philadelphia Museum of Art. John G. Johnson Collection

Gustave Courbet (1819 – 1877)

The Wave La Vague c. 1869 Oil on canvas Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Museum purchase, Grover A. Magnin Bequest Fund and Roscoe and Margaret Oakes Income Fund

Charles-François Daubigny (1817 – 1878)

The Beach at Villerville known as Cap Gris-Nez c. 1870 Oil on panel

Berwick Borough Museum and Art Gallery, Berwick-upon-Tweed 4

Charles-François Daubigny (1817 - 1878)

The Beach at Villerville at Sunset Plage de Villerville soleil couchant 1873 Oil on canvas

Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA. Gift of Walter P. Chrysler Jr.

Jules Dupré (1811 – 1889)

Marine Landscape (The Cape and Dunes of Saint-Quentin) Paysage marin (Cap et dunes de Saint-Quentin) c. 1870 Oil on canvas

Musée des Beaux Arts de Rouen, Donation Henri et Suzanne Baderou, 1975

Paul Gauguin (1848 – 1903)

The Beach, Dieppe La Plage, Dieppe 1885 Oil on canvas

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen

Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Guillemet (1843 – 1918)

The Cliffs of Puys at Low Tide Falaise de Puys à marée basse 1877 Oil on canvas

Château-Musée de Dieppe

Eugène Isabey (1803 - 1886)

The Beach at Granville La Plage de Granville 1863 Oil on canvas

Musée du Vieux-Château, Laval

Johan-Barthold-Jongkind (1819 - 1891)


1852 Oil on canvas Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT. The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund

Eugène Isabey (1803 – 1886)

Low Tide Marée basse 1861 Musée Malraux, Le Havre Dépot du Musée du Louvre, 1961

Johan Barthold Jongkind (1819 – 1891)

The Beach at Sainte-Adresse La Plage de Sainte-Adresse 1862 Oil on canvas

Courtesy of the Ivo Bouwman Gallery, The Hague

Johan Barthold Jongkind (1819 – 1891)

On the Beach at Sainte-Adresse Sur la plage de Sainte-Adresse 1862 Oil on canvas

Collection of Phoenix Art Museum. Mrs. Oliver B. James Bequest

Johan Barthold Jongkind (1819 - 1891)

The Sea at Etretat La Mer à Etretat 1853 Oil on canvas Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Edouard Manet (1832 – 1883)

Low Tide at Berck Marée basse à Berck 1873 Oil on canvas Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT. The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund

Edouard Manet (1832 – 1883)

On the Beach at Boulogne Sur la plage de Boulogne 1868 Oil on canvas

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond

Edouard Manet (1832 – 1883)

On the Beach: Suzanne and Eugène Manet at Berck Sur la plage: Suzanne et Eugène Manet à Berck 1873 Oil on canvas

Musée d’Orsay, Paris. Donation Jean-Edouard du Brujeaud sous réserve d’usufruit, 1953

Jean François Millet (1814 – 1875)

The Cliffs of Gréville Les Falaises de Gréville c. 1854 and 1870/71 Oil on canvas National Museum of Stockholm Claude Monet (1840 – 1926) A Stormy Sea Mer orageuse c. 1881 Oil on canvas National Gallery of Art, Ottawa. Purchased 1946

Claude Monet (1840 – 1926)

The Beach and Cliffs at Pourville, Morning Effect Plage et falaises de Pourville, effet du matin 1882 Oil on canvas

Tokyo Fuji Art Museum, Tokyo

Claude Monet (1840 – 1926)

The Beach at Sainte-Adresse La Plage à Sainte-Adresse 1867 Oil on canvas

The Art Institute of Chicago. Mr and Mrs Lewis Larned Coburn Memorial Collection

Claude Monet (1840 – 1926)

The Beach at Trouville La Plage à Trouville 1870 Oil on canvas

The National Gallery, London


Claude Monet (1840 – 1926)

The Beach at Trouville La Plage à Trouville 1870 Oil on canvas

Private collection, courtesy of Sotheby’s

Claude Monet (1840 – 1926)

The Beach at Trouville La Plage à Trouville 1870 Oil on canvas Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT. The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund

Claude Monet (1840 – 1926)

Boats on the Beach, Etretat Bateaux sur la plage d’Etretat 1885 Oil on canvas

The Art Institute of Chicago. Charles H. and Mary F. S. Worcester Collection

Claude Monet (1840 – 1926)

The Chemin de la Cavée, Pourville Le Chemin de la Cavée, Pourville 1882 Oil on canvas

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Bequest of Mrs. Susan Mason Loring

Claude Monet (1840 – 1926)

The Coast at Sainte-Adresse Bord de la mer à Sainte-Adresse 1864 Oil on canvas Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Bennett

Claude Monet (1840 – 1926)

The Cottage at Trouville, Low Tide La Cabane à Trouville, marée basse 1881 Oil on canvas

Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. On loan at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid


Claude Monet (1840 – 1926)

Etretat, Rough Sea Etretat, mer agitée 1883 Oil on canvas Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon

Claude Monet (1840 – 1926)

Path in the Wheatfields, Pourville Chemin dans les Blés Pourville 1882 Oil on canvas

Collection of Frederic C. Hamilton

Claude Monet (1840 – 1926)

Regatta at Sainte-Adresse Régates à Sainte-Adresse 1867 Oil on canvas

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Bequest of William Church Osborn, 1951 Claude Monet (1840 – 1926) Rocks at Low Tide Rochers à marée basse

1882 Oil on canvas Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, New York. Gift of Emily Sibley Watson

Claude Monet (1840 – 1926)

The Sea at Fécamp La Mer à Fécamp 1881 Oil on canvas Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart

Claude Monet (1840 – 1926)

Shadows on the Sea, Pourville Ombres sur la mer, Pourville 1882 Oil on canvas

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen


Claude Monet (1840 – 1926)

Sunset at Pourville Coucher du soleil à Pourville 1882 Oil on canvas Courtesy of The Kreeger Museum, Washington, DC

Claude Monet (1840 – 1926)

Val-Saint-Nicolas, near Dieppe (Morning)

1897 Oil on canvas The Phillips Collection, Acquired 1959

Berthe Morisot (1841 – 1895)

At the Beach A la Plage 1885 Watercolor Private collection, Washington, DC

Léon Germain Pelouse (1838 – 1891)

Grandcamp, Low Tide Grandcamp, marée basse 1884 Oil on canvas

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Carcassonne

Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841 – 1919)

By the Seashore Au bord de la mer 1883 Oil on canvas The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. H. O. Havemeyer Collection. Bequest of Mrs H. O. Havemeyer, 1929

Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841 – 1919)

Children on the Seashore, Guernsey Enfants au bord de la mer à Guernsey c. 1883 Oil on canvas

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Bequest of John T. Spaulding


Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841 – 1919)

Low Tide, Yport Marée basse, Yport 1883 Oil on canvas Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA

Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841 – 1919)

Sea and Cliffs Mer et falaises c.1884/5 Oil on canvas The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Robert Lehman Collection, 1975

John Singer Sargent (1856 – 1925)

Oyster Gatherers of Cancale

1878 Oil on canvas Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Museum Purchase, Gallery Fund

Constant Troyon (1810 - 1865)

The Coast near Villers La Côte près de Villers c. 1860 Oil on canvas

The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834 - 1903)

Alone with the Tide Seule 1861 Oil on canvas Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT. In memory of William Arnold Healy, given by his daughter, Susie Healy Camp

James Abbott McNeil Whistler (1834 - 1903)

The Sea

c. 1865 Oil on canvas Montclair Art Museum, New Jersey. Museum purchase; Acquisition Fund

James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834 - 1903)

Sea and Rain

1865 Oil on canvas The University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor. Bequest of Margaret Watson Parker

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Mattatuck Museum Presents The Federal Art Project in Connecticut

George Earle, Bridgeport Parking Lot, courtesy of Southbury Training School

The Mattatuck Museum of Waterbury, CT celebrates the opening of its exhibition Art for Everyone: The Federal Art Project in Connecticut with a panel discussion of the art and socio-historical context of the presented works on Thursday, September 13, 2012 from 4:00-7:00 p.m. The exhibition is supported by the Connecticut Humanities Council and the Connecticut Community Foundation.

The exhibition opens with a panel discussion featuring State Archivist Dr. Mark Jones, Connecticut River Museum curator Amy Trout, Researcher Deborah Edwards and Mattatuck Museum curator Dr. Cynthia Roznoy. Panelists will describe the evolution and many aspects of this program of which the exhibition is just one part. These speakers have significant experience and knowledge of the Federal Arts Project - have researched the time period, catalogued works and curated exhibitions.

Ralph Boyer, Westport WPA Art Committee

The exhibition, Art for Everyone, will be on display until February 5, 2013. During the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt and his administration set up the Federal Arts Project to create jobs. As a result of this project, 173 Connecticut artists created over 5,000 works of art many of which disappeared. The Mattatuck Museum and the Connecticut State Library have been working together to collect and catalogue both known and unknown works. Art for Everyone, examines art produced for the Federal Art Project in Connecticut. Ralph Boyer, Beatrice Cuming, James Daugherty, George Marinko, Spencer Baird Nichols, Joseph Schork and Cornelia Vetter are among the artists represented in this exhibit of more than 80 works. This exhibition is the culmination of a multi-year, multi-part project that was instigated in 2007 by the work of Amy Trout, Connecticut River Museum, and draws upon the archives and data base of the Works Progress Administration artists at the Connecticut State Library. This exhibition places the art and artist in the broader context of American artists during the Depression Era.

Beatrice Cuming, Saturday Night, New London, 1938, Collection of the Lyman Allyn Museum

Admission to the opening reception of this exhibition is free and open to the public. Join the museum to immediately qualify for member benefits. Please register in advance at or by calling (203) 753-0381 ext. 10.

Visit or call (203) 753-0381 for more information on all of the museum’s adult and children’s programs, events and exhibits. The Mattatuck Museum is operated with support from the Department of Economic and Community Development/Connecticut Office of the Arts, and is a member of the Connecticut Art Trail, a group of sixteen world-class museums and historic sites ( Located at 144 West Main Street, Waterbury, the museum is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Free parking is located behind the building on Park Place.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Dorothea Lange's America

© Dorothea Lange: Migrant Mother, 1936

"You force yourself to watch and wait. You accept all the discomfort and the disharmony. Being out of your depth is a very uncomfortable thing. You force yourself onto strange streets, among strangers. It may be very hot. It may be painfully cold. It may be sandy and windy and you say, ‘What am I doing here? What drives me to do this hard thing?’"

Dorothea Lange's America is a focused exhibition of original lifetime prints by the legendary documentary photographer Dorothea Lange. Highlighting this show are oversized exhibition prints of her seminal portraits from the Great Depression, including White Angel Breadline, Migratory Farm Worker, and, most famously, Migrant Mother – an emblematic picture that came to personify pride and resilience in the face of abject poverty in 1930s America.

Lange herself had known adversity early in life. At age 7 she was stricken with polio, which left her with a lifetime limp. And at age 12 her father disappeared from the scene, leaving an impoverished household behind. Every day she would ride the ferry with her mother from Hoboken to lower Manhattan, to a roiling working-class neighborhood teeming with immigrants. During that period Lange talked her way into photo courses with a range of teachers as diverse as Arnold Genthe and Clarence White.

In 1918 she moved to San Francisco where she befriended the photographers Ansel Adams and Imogen Cunningham, and, through them, the celebrated Western painter Maynard Dixon, who became her first husband. She soon opened a thriving portrait studio that catered to San Francisco’s professional class and monied elite. But with the crash of 1929 she found her true calling, as a peripatetic chronicler of the many faces of America, old and young, urban and rural, native-born and immigrant, as they dealt with unprecedented hardship, sometimes with resilience, often with despondence. Her immortal portraits seared these faces of the Depression era into America’s consciousness.

More Images


December- April 2012 Hunter Museum of American Art, TN

June - August 2012 Taubman Museum of Art, VA

August- October, 2012 University of Richmond Museums, VA

February - May 2013 Longmont Museum & Cultural Center, CO

June- August 2013 Edward Hopper House Art Center, NY

September 18- December 31, 2013 Fenimore Art Museum and The Farmers’ Museum, NY

February - May 2014 Bell County Museum, TX

June- August 2014 Alexandria Museum of Art, LA

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

PICASSO AND AMERICAN ARTISTS: Stuart Davis, Willem de Kooning, Arshile Gorky, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Jackson Pollock

Exhibition placed Picasso masterworks alongside art by Stuart Davis, Willem de Kooning, Arshile Gorky, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Jackson Pollock, David Smith, Max Weber, and others

Pablo Picasso Seated Woman with Wrist Watch, 1932 Roy Lichtenstein Girl with Beach Ball III, 1977

A landmark exhibition, ten years in the planning, Picasso and American Art celebrated Picasso’s dramatic impact on the course of 20th-century American art. Although Picasso never set foot in America, many of this country’s most important artists saw him as the central figure of modern art and defined their own achievements through their absorption or critique of his example.

Picasso and American Art focused on the nine American artists who have been most deeply engaged with Picasso’s work and who, in turn, have made the most significant contributions to the art of their time: Stuart Davis, Willem de Kooning, Arshile Gorky, John Graham, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Jackson Pollock, David Smith, and Max Weber. Picasso played a central role in the artistic development of each of these nine artists. In addition to these key figures, the exhibition included works by other American artists inspired by Picasso, among them Louise Bourgeois, Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, Lee Krasner, Claes Oldenburg, Man Ray, Andy Warhol, and Tom Wesselmann.

Picasso and American Art was organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, where it ran from September 28, 2006, through January 28, 2007. The exhibition was guest curated by Michael FitzGerald, Associate Professor in the Department of Fine Arts at Trinity College, Connecticut, in association with Dana Miller, Associate Curator at the Whitney.

The exhibition gathered together specific Picasso works that were studied by the nine American artists whose works were featured alongside Picasso’s, illustrating how American artists used Picasso’s example to push the boundaries of their own work. It is the precise juxtapositions of these works—often the very first pairing of significantly related objects—that reveal Picasso’s farreaching effect on American art.

“The intense involvement of American artists with Picasso’s work was at the center of a fundamental transformation in American art during the 20th century,” said guest curator Michael FitzGerald. “Picasso, more than any other artist, became the chief figure against whom Americans measured their achievements.”

Picasso and American Artt had historical links with the Whitney’s own past, going back to the years before the museum was established. In 1923, the Whitney Studio Club, a predecessor to the Whitney Museum and an important venue for the presentation of both European and American art, held one of the earliest Picasso exhibitions in the United States, Recent Paintings by Pablo Picasso and Negro Sculpture.

>Picasso and American Art reassembled many of the Picasso works from the 1923 show. The origins of Picasso and American Art lie in a 1995 Lobby Gallery exhibition at the Whitney. Entitled Picassoid, this drawing exhibition was co-organized by Michael FitzGerald and Adam D. Weinberg, then curator of the Whitney’s permanent collection, and now the Museum’s director.

The majority of the approximately 165 objects in the Whitney presentation of the exhibition were paintings and drawings. A small number of sculptures, prints, and photographs were also featured. The exhibition included nearly 40 works by Picasso. The selection of American artists was determined in part by the decision to focus only on artists who took up Picasso’s art before his death in 1973.

Rarely Seen Works

Among the works in
Picasso and American Art that had never before been exhibited publicly in this country were Picasso’s Still Life (1908); Louise Bourgeois’s Untitled (1940) and Untitled (1941); Jasper Johns’s paintings After Picasso (1998), Pyre (2003),

and Pyre II (2003),
as well as several drawings that Johns lent.

Many of the essential Picassos came from foreign collections and gave US audiences exposure to significant works that have not been seen in the US for decades. Among these are Picasso’s Bar-Table with Musical Instruments and Fruit Bowl (c. 1913), Still Life with Bunch of Grapes (1914),

Landscape with Dead and Live Trees (1919), and Minotaur Moving (1936)

Pablo Picasso, Femme Assise (Seated Woman), 1927; Collection Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, purchase, with assistance from the Women's Committee and anonymous contributions, 1964; © 2006 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; Photo: Carlo Catenazzi, Art Gallery of Ontario

Pablo Picasso, Bathers with Beach Ball, 1928,

Pablo Picasso, Bullfight, 1934 oil on canvas 13 x 16-1/8 in. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Gift of Henry P. McIlhenny, 1957 (c) 2006 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Roy Lichtenstein, Femme au Chapeau, 1962 © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein

Jackson Pollack, The Water Bull, c. 1946 oil on canvas 30-1/8 x 83-7/8 in. (76.5 x 215.6 cm) Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam © 2006 Pollock-Krasner Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS)

Jasper Johns, Summer, 1985 encaustic on canvas 75 x 50 in. (190.5 x 127 cm) The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Gift of Philip Johnson, 1998 © Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA, New York, N.Y. Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, New York More images here

Travel Following its showing at the Whitney, Picasso and American Art traveled to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art from February 25 to May 28, 2007, and to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis from June 17 to September 9, 2007.


Co-published by the Whitney and Yale University Press, the 368-page exhibition catalogue includes a scholarly monograph by Michael FitzGerald and approximately 300 illustrations, as well as a thorough chronology that documents the accessibility of Picasso’s work in the United States through exhibitions, collections, and publications. Based on extensive research, the catalogue provides valuable new insights into the ways that Picasso’s art affected generations of American artists and the ways in which America helped shape Picasso’s reputation.

Monday, August 6, 2012

National Gallery of Art Acquires Important Works by Moran, Whistler, Adams,

The National Gallery of Art has announced a number of new acquisitions. These new works included a collection of 169 photographs by Robert Adams hand-selected by the artist; the Gallery's first watercolor by Thomas Moran; its first paintings by Giorgio Vasari and Hendrik Willem Mesdag; a newly attributed portrait drawing by Michael Sweerts; and a major sculpture by Barry Le Va.

"There are a good number of 'firsts' in this exciting round of acquisitions, ranging from Giorgio Vasari's larger-than-life paintings of Saint Luke and Saint Mark and Thomas Moran's extraordinary watercolor Mountain of the Holy Cross, to Barry Le Va's post-minimalist sculpture. We are also pleased to add an important group of gelatin silver prints of America's changing landscape by Robert Adams, which joins the Gallery's major holdings of works by fellow luminaries of American photography such as Alfred Stieglitz, Robert Frank, and Harry Callahan," said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art. "We are dependent on the continuing generosity of private donors to continue building the nation's art collection-now standing at nearly 127,000 works-and we are enormously grateful."

169 Gelatin Silver Prints by Robert Adams

Robert Adams, Kerstin enjoying the wind. East of Keota, Colorado, 1969, gelatin silver print, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Pepita Milmore Memorial Fund and Gift of Robert and Kerstin Adams

The department of photographs acquired 169 gelatin silver prints by Robert Adams (b. 1937), who has recorded America's changing landscape for more than 40 years, revealing both its sublime beauty and its wanton destruction. This group of photographs was carefully selected by the artist himself to complement the 25 works by him that the Gallery already holds and to represent his most important accomplishments. This extraordinary collection includes key photographs from each of his books, as well as 16 others from throughout his career. Adams made this group available to the Gallery because he believes "these photographs can tell Americans something they might want to know about their country" and because he wants these works to be in the nation's capital. These photographs were purchased from Fraenkel Gallery by the National Gallery of Art with funds from the Pepita Milmore Memorial Fund and the Ahmanson Foundation, as well as a gift from Robert and Kerstin Adams.

Thomas Moran's Mountain of the Holy Cross

The extraordinary watercolor Mountain of the Holy Cross (1890) by Thomas Moran (1837–1926) is the most important work by the artist to come to light in many years. It was unknown at the time of the Gallery's 1997 Moran retrospective and has never been exhibited publicly or published. Commissioned in 1890 by philanthropist Caroline Phelps Stokes, the painting remained with her descendants for more than 100 years. This stellar watercolor joins three oil paintings, one drawing, and 15 prints by Moran in the Gallery's collection, including an 1888 etching of the same scene. The acquisition of Mountain of the Holy Cross was made possible by the Avalon Fund, Florian Carr Fund, Barbara and Jack Kay Fund, and Gift of Max and Heidi Berry.

Drawings by Whistler and Sweerts

Other works on paper acquired include one of the greatest pastels of Venice by James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903), White and Pink (The Palace) (1879/1880). The residence has been identified as the Palazzo da Mosta; the drawing is signed with the artist's butterfly device and retains its original Whistler frame. Also remarkable is the pastel's provenance: it was purchased from Whistler between 1881 and 1904 by the distinguished American collector Louisine Havemeyer. Its acquisition by the Gallery has been made possible by the Paul Mellon Fund and the Patrons' Permanent Fund.

The Gallery has also acquired a portrait in black chalk of Jan van den Enden (c. 1651),one of the most powerful portrait drawings made in mid-baroque Rome. Based on the stylistic evidence, Gallery experts have formally attributed this work to Flemish artist Michael Sweerts (1618–1664), and it thus becomes the first drawing reasonably attributed to that important Flemish baroque painter. The acquisition of Jan van den Enden was made possible by the New Century Fund and William B. O'Neal Fund.

Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae Volume of Prints Nearly Completes Set

With its recent purchase of a volume of the Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae (Mirror of Roman Magnificence), the Gallery has doubled its holdings of this landmark of Renaissance printmaking, giving it one of the most complete sets in existence. The newly acquired volume consists of 52 engravings and etchings made between 1544 and 1572 along with three later 16th-century plates. The plates include depictions of critical ancient works as well as the earliest views of much of the celebrated architecture of the time, especially that by Michelangelo. In 2000 the Gallery acquired a volume with 55 different plates from the Speculum. Their identical 18th-century German bindings and the continuous numbering of their pages prove that the two volumes come from the same set, thus reconstructing much of the appearance of a very early collection of the Speculum. This acquisition was made possible by the Ahmanson Foundation Fund.

Paintings by Giorgio Vasari, Father of Art History

Although Giorgio Vasari (1511–1574) is best known as the author of Le vite de' più eccellenti pittori, scultori, e architettori (Lives of the Artists) published in 1550 and 1568. The so-called father of art history was also a prolific painter, draftsman, architect, and collector. Damon Mezzacappa has given the Gallery its first paintings by Vasari, Saint Luke and Saint Mark (both 1570–1571), in memory of Elizabeth Mezzacappa. These works, part of a commission for the Vatican's Torre Pioby Pope Pius V, join a sheet of drawings from Vasari's famed Libro de' Disegni and first editions of Le vite already in the Gallery's collection. Saint Luke and Saint Mark are currently undergoing conservation treatment and will be receiving new frames.

Second Major Hague School Painting

The Gallery has also acquired its first work by Dutch artist Hendrik Willem Mesdag (1831–1915)—the 1894 oil on canvas titled Sunset at Scheveningen: A Fleet of Fishing Vessels at Anchor. Currently on view in the East Building's Small French Paintings galleries, this luminous work joins the Gallery's

View of the Mill and Bridge on the Noordwest Buitensingel in The Hague (1873) by Jacob Maris (1837–1899) as its second major painting of the Hague school, expanding the 19th-century collection beyond its French confines. This acquisition was made possible by the Paul Mellon Fund and the Frank Anderson Trapp Fund.

Post-minimalist Sculpture by Barry Le Va

The Gallery gained its first sculpture by the American artist Barry Le Va (b. 1941), one of the first sculptors to work in a post-minimalist manner. An assemblage of gray felt, aluminum lengths, and steel ball bearings, Equal Quantities: Placed or Dropped In, Out, and On in Relation to Specific Boundaries (1967) is the Gallery's first example of "scatter" sculpture by one of the inventors of this form. The Gallery also owns two photo pieces by Le Va. The sculpture will be installed in the East Building Concourse galleries in the coming months. The acquisition of this sculpture was made possible by the Patrons' Permanent Fund and the Edward E. MacCrone Fund.

Important Thesaurus Painting by Mel Bochner

On the occasion of the exhibition In the Tower: Mel Bochner, on view at the National Gallery from November 6, 2011, to April 29, 2012, Anita and Burton Reiner have promised the Gallery one of Bochner's most significant thesaurus works: Master of the Universe (2010). It is the first of four large diptychs that Bochner (b. 1940) in 2010–2011 created in advance of the exhibition, where these works were placed on public view for the first time. The Gallery holds a number of works by Bochner, including the wall drawing Theory of Boundaries (1969–1970), works on paper, and three photographs. Master of the Universe is the first of the artist's paintings on canvas to enter the collection.

Contemporary Still Life by William Bailey

Another important first is the Gallery's acquisition of a painting by William Bailey (b. 1930). Mixing utilitarian and decorative vessels on an earth-toned background, Piano Scuro (2003) is a prime example of the still lifes for which this contemporary realist painter is best known. It joins 16 prints by Bailey in the Gallery's collection and will go on view this summer in the East Building Concourse galleries. This acquisition was made possible by the Charina Endowment Fund.

Works from Mrs. Paul Mellon

Mrs. Paul Mellon has released her life interest in eight works to the Gallery:

William Merritt Chase (1849–1916), Gathering Autumn Flowers (1894/1895), oil on canvas;

Winslow Homer (1836–1910), East Hampton Beach, Long Island (1874), oil on canvas, and Three Fisher Girls, Tynemouth (1881), pencil and watercolor; Eastman Johnson (1824–1926), Lambs, Nantucket (1874), oil on board; Odilon Redon (1840–1916), Village by the Sea in Brittany (c. 1880), oil on cardboard laid on masonite; Georges Seurat (1859–1891), Seascape (Gravelines) (1890), oil on panel; Eugene Boudin (1824–1898), Crinoline sur la plage de Trouville (c. 1865), watercolor; and Pablo Picasso (1881–1973), Verre, as de trèfle et poire coupée (1914), collage, charcoal and gouache.