Tag Archives: Art History

Secret Lives Tour: One Wall Street, Manhattan


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The Historic Districts Council is presenting a series of tours highlighting some of the most original and rarely-seen spaces in New York. The Secret Lives Tours take attendees inside some of the most unique and spectacular landmarked spaces in the city, both big and small, to learn about their history and
preservation.

On September 19, at 5 pm, the group will tour three spaces in the Art Deco tower at One Wall Street.  Built across from Trinity Church as the Irving Trust Building, the limestone skyscraper is a private wonder occupied today by The Bank of New York Mellon. 
Visitors will explore the bank’s museum, 49th floor reception room, and The Red Room,
with its red and gold mosaics. The museum’s artifacts illustrate the architectural and institutional history of Bank of New York Mellon in Lower Manhattan. On the top floor, gilded shells from the Philippines decorate the angular ceiling of the three-story reception room. The adjacent observation decks provide splendid views in four directions. 
The Red Room next to the New York Stock Exchange greets the bank’s clients. Named for an intricate mosaic design glittering along the walls and ceiling, the room was designed by artist Hildreth Meière (1892-1961) with architect Ralph Walker of Vorhees, Gmelin and Walker. She is regarded as the foremost muralist of the Art Deco style in the 1930s. Her daughter Louise Meière Dunn and granddaughter Hildreth Meière Dunn will join the tour as special guests and speak about the International Hildreth Meiere Association, the group they lead to preserve her artistic legacy.
Louise Meière Dunn is the only child of a remarkable woman – Hildreth Meière, an artist who forged a successful career in architectural art, a field then dominated by men. Louise is President of the International Hildreth Meière Association, founded to conduct activities to promote and perpetuate the
legacy of Hildreth Meière. She has been speaking on the work of her mother since 2003 at venues in New York and internationally.

Hildreth Meière Dunn, granddaughter of the artist, is the official photographer for the International Hildreth Meière Association. She was the principal photographer and photography editor for both the exhibition and catalogue Walls Speak: The Narrative Art of Hildreth Meière. She is strongly committed to the permanence of the artistic legacy of Hildreth Meière, in the preservation and re-location of decommissioned works and in maintaining the quality and accessibility of the visual record of the artist’s entire body of work through the dissemination of photographs to numerous publications.

Christine McKay, historian of BNY Mellon, will guide visitors through the historic building. Price: $100 Friends of HDC, $125 for Guests Location and directions for this tour will be provided upon registration. Business or business casual attire is requested. To purchase tickets, call 212-614-9107, ext. 14 or e-mail ashedd@hdc.org. Advance reservations are required and space is limited to 25.

New Crowd-Sourced Exhibition at Brooklyn Museum


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Each voter may nominate as many as three artists for inclusion in the GO exhibition, which will be on view at the Brooklyn Museum from December 1, 2012, through February 24, 2013.

The ten artists with the most voter nominations will receive studio visits from Brooklyn Museum curators Sharon Matt Atkins, Managing Curator of Exhibitions, and Eugenie Tsai, John and Barbara Vogelstein Curator of Contemporary Art, who will make the final selection of works to be included in the exhibition.

Members of the public will nominate the artists whose work will be considered for GO: a community-curated open studio project, an upcoming exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, by registering online to vote and by visiting artist studios during the GO open studio weekend on September 8-9, 2012. 1861 Brooklyn-based artists will open their studio doors in 46 of Brooklyn’s 67 neighborhoods, covering Brooklyn’s 73 square miles.

Today marks the launch of a new phase of the GO website, which showcases participating artists and allows voters to register. By visiting www.gobooklynart.org, voters can create and share itineraries of artist studios they plan to visit on September 8 and 9. Itineraries can be accessed on the GO iPhone application, so voters may take their plans with them as they travel around Brooklyn during the open studio weekend.

On September 8 and 9, artists will open their studio doors to the public from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Voters must check in using either the GO iPhone app or SMS text messaging using a unique number assigned to each artist and posted on a sign in their studio. Voters can also write down artist numbers and enter them later at the GO website. To be eligible to vote, registrants must check in at a minimum of five studios. After the close of the open studio weekend, eligible voters will receive an email from the GOteam with nomination instructions.

GO studio map
The public nomination period will begin on September 12 and end on September 18. During that time, voters will have the option to comment on the artist studios they visited. The comments will be publicly available on the GO website and may be selected for inclusion in the exhibition GO: a community-curated open studio project.

The GO project launched in May with the goal of transforming how communities in Brooklyn, and beyond, engage with the arts by providing the public with the opportunity to discover artistic talent and get involved in the exhibition process at a grassroots level.

The project is co-organized by Atkins and Shelley Bernstein, Chief of Technology. GO: a communitycurated open studio project is inspired by two established programs: ArtPrize, an annual, publicly juried art competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the long tradition of open studio weekends held each year in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Williamsburg, Greenpoint, DUMBO, Gowanus, Red Hook, and Bushwick.

The Champlain Memorial Lighthouse Centennial


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What follows is a guest essay by Thomas Hughes, Director of the Crown Point State Historic Site on Lake Champlain in Essex County, NY. The site includes two National Historic Landmarks: the ruins of French-built Fort St. Frédéric (1734-59) and the ruins of Crown Point’s British fort (1759-73).

Dedicated 100 years ago this month on July 5, 1912, and located at a prominent site that is steeped in history, the Champlain Memorial Lighthouse serves as a monument to the 1609 voyage on Lake Champlain by French explorer Samuel Champlain. Continue reading

Walt Whitman Portrait at The Hyde Collection


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The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls (Warren County) is offering visitors an unprecedented opportunity to see the remarkable Portrait of Walt Whitman (1887-1888) by Thomas Eakins (1844-1914).

The Whitman portrait is considered one of Eakins’s finest paintings, and only rarely leaves Philadelphia, where it is a featured work in the collection of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA). The image of one of America’s most influential poets, by one of the nation’s greatest artists, will be in Glens Falls for six months, as a second exchange for the year-long loan of The Hyde Collection’s Portrait of Henry Ossawa Tanner (ca. 1897) by Eakins. Continue reading

Seneca Ray Stoddard Exhibit Opens at NYS Museum


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A new exhibition has opened at the New York State Museum showcasing the works of Adirondack photographer and conservationist Seneca Ray Stoddard.

Seneca Ray Stoddard: Capturing the Adirondacks is open through February 24, 2013 in Crossroads Gallery and includes over 100 of Stoddard’s photographs, an Adirondack guideboat, freight boat, camera, copies of Stoddard’s books and several of his paintings.

There also are several Stoddard photos of the Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island. These and other items come from the State Museum’s collection of more than 500 Stoddard prints and also from the collections of the New York State Library and the Chapman Historical Museum in Glens Falls.

Born in Wilton, Saratoga County in 1844, Stoddard was no doubt inspired by the Adirondacks at an early age. A self-taught painter, he was first employed as an ornamental painter at a railroad car manufacturer in Green Island, across the Hudson River from Troy in Albany County. He moved to Glens Falls (Warren County) in 1864, where he worked with sketches and paintings until his death there in 1917.

Early on he sought to preserve the beauty of the Adirondacks through his paintings but then became attracted to photography’s unique ability to capture the environment. He was one of the first to capture the Adirondacks through photographs. He used the then recently introduced wet-plate process of photography. Though extremely cumbersome by today’s standards, the technique was the first practical way to record distant scenes. It required Stoddard to bring his entire darkroom with him into the Adirondack wilderness.

His renown as a photographer quickly grew once he settled in Glens Falls, which also became his base camp for his explorations of the Adirondacks. He studied the Adirondacks intensely over a 50-year period.

Stoddard’s photos showed the challenges travelers faced in getting to the still undeveloped wilderness, along with their enjoyment of finally reaching their destination. His writings and photographs indicate that he was especially skilled at working with people from diverse economic backgrounds in a variety of settings. This was especially important as he used his photos to capture the changing Adirondack landscape as railroads were introduced and the area became an increasingly important destination for the burgeoning middle-class tourist, but also for the newly wealthy during the “Gilded Age.”

His work stimulated even further interest as he promoted the Adirondacks through his photographs and writings on the beauty, people and hotels of the region. Stoddard’s photographs showed the constancy of the natural beauty of the Adirondacks along with the changes that resulted from logging and mining, to hotels and railroads. As unregulated mining and logging devastated much of the pristine Adirondack scenery, Stoddard documented the loss and used those images to foster a new ethic of responsibility for the landscape. His work was instrumental in shaping public opinion about tourism, leading in part to the 1892 “Forever Wild” clause in the New York State Constitution.

The State Museum purchased over 500 historic Stoddard prints in 1972 in the process of acquiring historic resources for the Museum’s Adirondack Hall. They included albumen prints from Stoddard’s own working files, many with penciled notes. Nearly all are of the landscapes, buildings and people of the Adirondacks taken primarily in the 1870s and 1880s.

An online version of the exhibition is also available on the State Museum website at http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/virtual/exhibits/SRS/ .

The State Museum will present several programs in conjunction with the Stoddard exhibition. There will be guided tours of the exhibition on September 8 and December 8 from 1-2 p.m. Stoddard will also be the focus of Family Fun Day on September 15 from1-4 p.m.

Established in 1836, the New York State Museum is a program of the State Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education. Located on Madison Avenue in Albany, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission is free. Further information can be obtained by calling (518) 474-5877 or visiting the Museum website at www.nysm.nysed.gov.

Photo: Stoddard’s “Indian Encampment, Lake George, 1872″.

Adirondack Museum Monday Evening Lecture Series Set


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The Adirondack Museum has announced the presenters and lecture topics for the annual Monday Evening Lecture Series. Join the museum for the lecture series Monday nights at 7:30 p.m. in July and August.

The first evening, July 9, will be spent with Wildlife Conservation Society senior conservationist Bill Weber. Weber will present “Out of Africa and Into the Adirondacks: A Conservation Journey” lecture.

Lectures continue on July 16 with Charles Yaple and “Foxey Brown: The Story of an Adirondack Outlaw, Hermit, and Guide” lecture; July 23 with photographer Eric Dresser and “Capturing Adirondack Wildlife in Pictures;” July 30 with Environmental Historian Phil Terrie and “Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and A Land Ethic for our Time” a film, commentary and discussion.

August begins with author Harvey Kaiser and “Great Camps of the Adirondacks: Second Edition” on August 6; August 13 with senior art historian Caroline M. Welsh and “A.F. Tait: Artist of the Adirondacks;” and will end on August 20 with rustic furniture artisan and painter, Barney Bellinger’s “Art, Furniture and Sculpture: Influenced by Nature” lecture.

The presentations will be offered at no charge to museum members; the fee for non-members is $5.00. For full descriptions of the lectures, visit www.adirondackmuseum.org.

The Adirondack Museum is open 7 days a week, from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., through October 14. The museum will close at 3 p.m. on August 10 and September 7 for special event preparations.

Hyde Lectures Begin with Tiffany Glass Expert


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On Sunday, June 17, 2012, The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls, NY will present Lindsy R. Parrott, director and curator of The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass, New York City. Beginning at 2pm in the Froehlich Auditorium, Parrott will speak about The Hyde’s new exhibition, Tiffany Glass: Painting with Color and Light, which was organized by the Neustadt Collection.  

Tiffany Glass: Painting with Color and Light is part of the Museum’s “Summer of Light” which also includes Stephen Knapp: New Light in the Wood Gallery. Both exhibitions open June 17, 2012 and run through September 16, 2012. Continue reading

First Exhibit Devoted Solely to William Matthew Prior


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Artist and Visionary: William Matthew Prior Revealed, the first exhibition devoted solely to this American folk artist, has opened at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York. The exhibition includes over 40 oil paintings spanning his lifelong career from 1824 to 1856 and will be on view through December 31.

“Of the many 19th century folk portrait painters, William Matthew Prior is one of the most accomplished and interesting,” said Fenimore Art Museum President and CEO, Dr. Paul S. D’Ambrosio. “The exhibition, expertly curated by Jacquelyn Oak, explores the blurry line between folk art and academic art in the early 19th century, and the intersection of folk art and the myriad reform and religious movements of the era.”
Continue reading

Native Artisans at the Fenimore Art Museum


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The Fenimore Art Museum welcomes five Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) artists this summer to spend three days in the museum galleries and outdoors at our Native American interpretive site, Otsego: A Meeting Place. Engaging conversations with these artists offer a delightful, insightful way to learn about traditional Native American art skills that have been handed down for generations.

June 18-20: In addition to traditional pottery, Natasha Smoke Santiago, a self-taught artist, casts the bellies of pregnant women and then forms the casts into sculptural objects incorporating Haudenosaunee craft techniques. She will be creating pottery on site and sharing its relationship to Haudenosaunee tradition and stories.

July 17-19: Penelope S. Minner is a fourth-generation traditional artist making black ash splint baskets and cornhusk dolls. Working in the customary Seneca way, Penny uses no forms for basket shapes and sizes.

August 5-7: Karen Ann Hoffman creates beautiful decorative pieces following the traditions of Iroquois raised beadwork and embodying Iroquoisworldviews.

August 21-23: Ken Maracle creates beads from quahog shells and has been making reproduction wampum belts for more than 25 years. He also makes condolence canes, horn rattles, water drums, and traditional headdresses. He speaks the Cayuga language and is knowledgable about the history of wampum and his people.

August 30-September 1: Iroquois sculptor Vincent Bomberry carves images of Iroquois life in stone.

Artisans will be in the museum galleries and at Otsego: AMeeting Place from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. During the Artisan Series, visitors can explore the extraordinary Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection of American Indian Art, a collection of over 800 objects representative of a broad geographic range of North American Indian cultures. Tours of Otsego: A Meeting Place and its Seneca Log House and Mohawk Bark House are also available.

Admission: adults and juniors (13-64) is $12.00; seniors (65+): $10.50; and free for children (12 and under). Admission is always free for NYSHA members, active military, and retired career military personnel. Members enjoy free admission all year.

For more information, visit FenimoreArtMuseum.org.

New Crowd-Sourced Exhibition at Brooklyn Museum


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The Brooklyn Museum is launching a borough-wide initiative in which Brooklyn-based artists will be invited to open their studios, allowing community members to visit and nominate artists for inclusion in a group exhibition to be held at the Museum.

Brooklyn Museum curators will visit the studios of top nominated artists to select works for the exhibition. The open studio weekend for GO: a community-curated open studio project will be held September 8 and 9. The exhibition will open during First Saturday on December 1, 2012, and will be on view through February 24, 2013.
Web and mobile technology will be a central component bringing artists and community together to share information and perspectives on art. All participants (artists, voters, and volunteers) will be able to create a personal online profile at the project’s website, www.gobrooklynart.org. Artist profiles will include photos of each artist and their studio, along with images and descriptions of their work. Volunteers will be connected with their respective neighborhoods online, and voters will have profiles that track their activity during the open studio weekend and provide a platform on which to share their perspectives.

“GO is a wide-ranging and unique project that will transform how Brooklyn communities engage in the arts by providing everyone with the chance to discover artistic talent and to be involved in the exhibition process on a grassroots level. Through the use of innovative technology, GO provides every Brooklyn resident with an extraordinary opportunity to participate in the visual arts in an unprecedented way,” says Brooklyn Museum Director Arnold L. Lehman.

The project launched on May 18th with volunteer registration. Volunteers will identify and work with local groups and businesses within specific neighborhoods to engage artists and potential studio visitors. The Brooklyn Museum will also partner with the Brooklyn Arts Council, open studio organizations, the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office, and Heart of Brooklyn to promote participation in GO. The New York City Housing Authority will also play an important role in engaging residents living in public housing developments in Brooklyn.

Artists will have an opportunity to register their studios at www.gobrooklynart.org in June. Artist registration will be followed by voter registration in August and early September. In October, Sharon Matt Atkins and Eugenie Tsai, John and Barbara Vogelstein Curator of Contemporary Art, will make studio visits to the top nominated artists to select the work for the exhibition. Curators and community members will engage in a public dialogue about the selection of work.

GO continues the Brooklyn Museum’s long tradition of highlighting the borough’s community of artists. Since its 2004 exhibition, Open House: Working in Brooklyn, the largest survey to date of artists working in Brooklyn, the Museum has continued its commitment to Brooklyn artists with exhibitions by Fred Tomaselli, Lorna Simpson, and an upcoming exhibition by Mickalene Thomas, among others, and the current Raw/Cooked series of five exhibitions by under-the-radar Brooklyn artists.

A pioneer in crowd-sourced exhibitions, the Brooklyn Museum also presented Click! A Crowd-Curated Exhibition (2008), a photography show in which nearly 3,500 community members evaluated the work of 389 local photographers. More recently, Split Second: Indian Paintings (2011) invited the Museum’s online community to participate in the selection of works to be shown in an installation of Indian paintings.

The project organizers are Sharon Matt Atkins, Managing Curator of Exhibitions, and Shelley Bernstein, Chief of Technology. GO: a community-curated open studio project is inspired by two predecessors: ArtPrize, an annual publicly juried art competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the long tradition of open studio events that take place each year throughout Brooklyn.

The project’s website will be updated throughout the process until the exhibition’s opening in December 2012.

Wilderstein’s Contemporary Outdoor Sculpture Exhibit


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Wilderstein Historic Site will host a second exhibition of contemporary outdoor sculptures by emerging Hudson Valley artists beginning June 3. A preview party will be held on Saturday, June2, from 5 to 7 pm.

Participating artists include: Jan Abt, Benjamin Ayers, John Belardo, Andy Fennell, Sarah Haviland, Richard Heinrich, Jeremy Holmes, Steve Keltner, Malcolm MacDougall, J. Pindyck Miller and Craig Usher.

Wilderstein is a historic house museum in Rhinebeck, New York. The estate, with its exquisite Queen Anne mansion and Calvert Vaux designed landscape, is widely regarded as the Hudson Valley’s most important example of Victorian architecture. The last person to reside at Wilderstein was Margaret (Daisy) Suckley, whose relationship with Franklin Delano Roosevelt has been well-chronicled and is the subject of much interest. Gift shop, hiking trails, and spectacular Hudson River views.

The exhibition will be open daily between 9 am and 4 pm through the end of October. Sponsored by Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp.

Tickets for the preview party are $25 and reservations are encouraged. RSVP to 845.876.4818 or wilderstein@wilderstein.org

Major Exhibit of American Impressionsist Masters


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A rare grouping of paintings and sketches from American Impressionist masters will highlight the summer season at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York. American Impressionism: Paintings of Light and Life, on view May 26 – September 16, will showcase groundbreaking artists including Childe Hassam,William Merritt Chase, Mary Cassatt, Theodore Robinson, John Henry Twachtman, and others. These adaptors of the French Impressionist style revolutionized the American art scene in the late 19th century and ultimately paved the way to a uniquely American style of painting.

American Impressionism: Paintings of Light and Life features 26 paintings, dating from 1881 to 1942, representing nearly every noted American Impressionist from the period. “The paint, the color, and the light in these works separated them from anything that had been done in this country before,” said Museum President and CEO, Dr. Paul S. D’Ambrosio. “They can truly be called some of the first, modern American paintings.”

Impressionism was a painting style imported to America after the 1880s. The major catalyst was Paris-based art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel’s 1886 exhibition of French Impressionist paintings in New York. Comprising nearly 300 paintings by Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, and others, the exhibition marked the beginning of serious interest in Impressionist art on behalf not only of American collectors, but also American painters.

The artists represented in American Impressionism: Paintings of Light and Life were among the first generation of American painters to utilize the techniques of their French counterparts, such as a brighter palette and the use of broken brushwork. While using innovative techniques, they were traditional in their selection of subject matter, seeking out and painting colorful landscapes, beach scenes, urban views, and perspectives of small town life. The artists had a particular interest in the way light could be captured on canvas.

“The Impressionists believed there was a lot more going on with the play of light on various surfaces than people realized, and that’s what they wanted to express in their painting,” D’Ambrosio added.

These works are on loan from several sources, including The Arkell Museum (Canajoharie, NY), The Florence Griswold Museum (Old Lyme, CT), The Parrish Museum (Southampton, NY), and The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY). The exhibition will also feature Bridge at Dolceacqua (1884) by Claude Monet (Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA), an excellent example of French Impressionism that inspired and influenced these American artists.

Illustration: Provincetown, 1900, by Childe Hassam (1859-1935), oil on canvas. Owned by the Arkell Museum Collection, Gift of Bartlett Arkell.

Brooklyn Museum Acquires Rare Folding Screen


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An extremely rare mother-of-pearl-inlaid Mexican folding screen, commissioned about 1700 by the viceroy of New Spain has been purchased by the Brooklyn Museum from Salvart Limited in London.

The work was officially accessioned by the Museum’s Board of Trustees on April 19. Representing a combination of Asian, European, and American artistic traditions, this six-panel screen is encrusted with mother-of-pearl and painted with oil and tempera.


At the time it was acquired, it was the only recorded surviving shell-inlaid folding screen, or biombo enconchado, that remained in private hands. The funds for this acquisition came from the proceeds of the sale of Vasily Vereshchagin’s Crucifixion by the Romans (1887), which was sold last November at Christie’s London for nearly $2.7 million to benefit the Brooklyn Museum’s Acquisition’s Fund.

These panels constitute half of a twelve-panel screen, created after Asian models by artists working in the circle of the celebrated González family in Mexico City, where it was displayed in the state rooms of the capital’s viceregal palace. The other half of the screen is in the collection of the Museo Nacional del Virreinato in Tepotzotlán, Mexico. The complete screen was commissioned by José Sarmiento de Valladares y Aines, the count of Moctezuma y Tula, during his reign as viceroy of New Spain from 1696 to 1701. Appointed by Spain’s last Habsburg king, Charles II, Sarmiento declared his allegiance to the Habsburg dynasty in the New World by having the front of his monumental folding screen painted with a major Habsburg victory over the Ottoman Empire, a scene from the Great Turkish War (1683-87). He requested a hunting scene modeled in part after prints by the Medici court painter Johannes Stradanus for the back of the screen, which would have served as a backdrop for the women’s sitting room in the palace. Both sides of the screen are framed with a mother-of-pearl encrusted floral decorative border inspired by Japanese lacquerware created for the export market.

In 1701, only one year after Spain’s new Bourbon king, Philip V, had ascended to the throne, Sarmiento, a Habsburg-appointed viceroy, was recalled to Spain; he returned with his prized biombo enconchado in tow. The screen was later divided into two in Europe, and one half found its way to the United States by 1965, when it was recorded in a private collection in San Francisco; it entered the Museo Nacional del Virreinato by 1970. The Brooklyn Museum’s half of the screen was in England (Yoxford, Suffolk) for generations, in the collection of Cockfield Hall, until the family sold its residual contents, including the screen, at auction through Phillips East Anglia in 1996.

Japanese folding screens, which inspired the format of Mexican biombos, were introduced to the Americas in the early seventeenth century as both diplomatic gifts from Japanese embassies and as elite Asian exported goods. Asian screens found immediate favor with the viceroyalty’s prosperous elite, and by the 1630s local artists were re-creating the screens in a new world style for privileged private collectors. Paintings inlaid with mother-of-pearl (pinturas enconchadas), of which this work is also an exceptional example, developed later, about 1660, by Mexican artists who combined the European art of tempera and oil painting with Asian and Mexican lacquer and mother-of-pearl encrustation techniques.

This extraordinary six-panel screen will be the highlight of Behind Closed Doors: Power and Privilege in the Spanish American Home, 1492-1898, a traveling exhibition organized by Richard Aste, Curator of European Art at the Brooklyn Museum, where it will be on view September 20, 2013, through January 12, 2014, before continuing on to three additional U.S. venues.

Also accessioned at the same board meeting and purchased with funds from the sale of the Vereshchagin painting is Hacienda La Fortuna (1885), an Impressionist landscape of southern Puerto Rico by Francisco M. Oller (Puerto Rican, 1833-1917). As the most important Puerto Rican painter of his era, Oller was commissioned by the Barcelona émigré José Gallart Forgas to paint a series of portraits of his five Puerto Rican sugar plantations. The Museum’s new acquisition is an early morning view of Gallart’s most important plantation, La Fortuna, with rural workers gathering sugarcane before the planter’s home (seen in the distance), his warehouse at left, and his sugar mill at right. Hacienda La Fortuna was the only one of Gallart’s five hacienda painting commissions that Oller completed for his Spanish patron.

Oller was born and raised in San Juan but trained in Madrid and Paris, where he quickly fell under the spell of the Realist painter Gustave Courbet and painted with his friends Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissarro. The Puerto Rican Realist and Impressionist painter exhibited at several of the Paris Salons and at the 1875 Salon des Refusés. Back home, Oller took an active role in the abolitionist movement–slavery was finally abolished in Puerto Rico in 1873–and in pedagogy, establishing several art schools in the island’s capital.

Beginning June 6, Oller’s masterpiece of Puerto Rican industrial landscape painting will be on view in the Museum’s European gallery alongside paintings by his fellow avant-garde artists Courbet, Pissarro, and Claude Monet. Hacienda La Fortuna will later join the shell-inlaid Mexican folding screen in the Behind Closed Doors exhibition.

Image: Circle of the González Family (Mexican, late 17th to early 18th century). Folding Screen with the Siege of Belgrade (front) and Hunting Scene (reverse), ca. 1697-1701. Tempera and resin on wood, shell inlay (enconchado), 90 1/2 x 108 5/8 in. (229.9 x 275.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Lilla Brown in memory of her husband John W. Brown, by exchange, 2012.21

Exec Dir David Setford to Leave Hyde Collection


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The Hyde Collection has announced that David F. Setford has informed the Board of Trustees that he intends to leave his post as Executive Director in August. A nationwide search will be conducted to identify a successor.

Setford, who has led the Hyde for four and a half years, spearheaded high-profile exhibitions including Degas and Music in 2009 and Andrew Wyeth: An American Legend in 2010 and oversaw a successful $3 million capital campaign. He has accepted a position with International Fine Art Expositions in Florida, as Managing Executive directing international art fairs in Palm Beach and Miami. Continue reading

Lecture: Using Artwork in Historical Research


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Traditional historical research draws primarily upon the written word- such as letters, journals, memorials, official documents and historical publications. Historians have shown less interest in historical visual arts that are often as important as written ones. In a lecture entitled “A Striking Likeness: Using Artwork for Historical Research and Using Research to Study Artwork,” Saratoga National Historical Park Historian Eric Schnitzer will take a brief look at artwork focusing on themes related to the American War for Independence and how careful study of the visual arts can add new dimensions to our understanding of the past.

The event will be held at Fort Montgomery State Historic Site (in Orange County) on Thursday, April 26th at 7 PM.

PLEASE NOTE: Seating is limited to 50. You may reserve seats by calling 845-446-2134. Leave your name, phone number and number of people in your party.

Illustration: The Burial of General Fraser engraved by William Nutter, after John Graham, published by John Jeffryes, May 1, 1794.

Lecture on Thomas Cole’s ‘New Studio’ Sunday


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In 1974, an Italianate building that Thomas Cole had designed and used as his painting studio in the mid-19th century was demolished. It had fallen into disrepair and the art movement that Thomas Cole had founded, the Hudson River School, had fallen out of favor. Over the years, the site was overcome with trees and shrubs, and the exact location of the former building was lost.

The site is now part of the Thomas Cole National Historic Site, and the building is in the process of being revived. This Sunday, April 15 at 2 pm, the art history professor from Warren Wilson College in North Carolina, Julie Levin Caro, will be at the Thomas Cole site to speak about this piece of history – the building that Cole designed as his “dream studio”.

The talk is the last event in the series of Sunday Salon lectures, which take place once per month from January through April at the home of Thomas Cole, where the Hudson River School began. Tickets are $8 per person, or $6 for members, and admission is first-come-first-served.

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Len Tantillo: The Edge of New Netherland


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A uniquely illustrated history of New Netherland, New Sweden, early North American fortification design, and the construction of Fort Cashmir (New Castle, Delaware) has been published for the New Netherland Institute. The Edge of New Netherland by L. F. Tantillo explores life in the Dutch colony and competition between European powers by focusing on the construction of regional forts, and the trade they engendered.

Tantillo provides readers with new insight into life on “the edge of New Netherland,” where two small groups of colonists – one Dutch, the other Swedish ­– fought to control access to the Delaware River and thus the trade in Indian furs, and later, English tobacco. Decades before British forces captured this territory in a power grab that remade colonial North America, fortifications were built and re-built, deals made and settlements established.

While The Edge of New Netherland (L.F. Tantillo, 2011) examines, in beautifully illustrated detail, the broader aspects of daily life on the Dutch, Swedish, English and Indian borderlands of North America, it focuses on the history of one wood and dirt fortress. Built in 1651 by the Dutch and destroyed in 1664 by the British, Fort Casimir largely failed as a defensive bulwark, but it helped anchor the growing settlement of New Amstel, now New Castle, Delaware.

The Edge of New Netherland includes more than 100 drawings accompanied by explanatory text, a historical overview of the Delaware River by Charles T. Gehring, and commentary by Peter A. Douglas.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.

Former MWPAI President Milton Bloch Dies


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Milton J. Bloch, former president of Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute (MWPAI), died in his home in Charlotte, NC last week. He was 74.

Bloch, an artist, author, administrator, educator and philanthropist, served as president of MWPAI from January 1991 through December 2008. During his tenure he led the Institute through the largest period of growth in its more than 80-year history. By investing in excess of $25 million, he doubled the size of the campus which led to the renovation of the west side community.

MWPAI President Anthony Spiridigloizzi, who served 18 years as vice president with Bloch, said Bloch’s leadership forever changed MWPAI. “He was more than a ‘boss.’ He was a mentor and an inspiration,” he said. “He treated everyone with respect; there were no ideas that he didn’t consider valuable. He was a decent man who made a positive difference.””

Expansion and growth projects under Bloch’s tenure were numerous. Major accomplishments included: renovating the Museum of Art Interior; constructing an education wing connecting the Museum of Art building with Fountain Elms which also includes an underground storage facility to house the Museum’s collection; and revamping the former Fleet bank building on Genesee Street into a modern dance studio.

Bloch also initiated two major exhibitions, “Splendors of the New World,” which opened in 1992 and the inaugural American tour of “Soul of Africa: African Art from the Han Coray Collection” in 1998.

In 1999, he was instrumental in the creation of PrattMWP, a joint venture between MWPAI and Pratt Institute. This initiative included the construction of a new school of art studio building, student center, dormitories and library/academic building

Spiridigloizzi added that the physical changes were only a small part of Bloch’s legacy and that his greatest achievement was how he changed the working atmosphere for the Institute. “He opened everything up for the staff. He valued everyone and never turned anyone away. He loved hearing new ideas and allowed everyone to participate in decision making,” he said.

In 1998, MWPAI received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts; and in 2002, received the Outstanding Upstate Arts Organization award presented by the Alliance for NY State Arts Organizations. In 2002 Bloch received the Humanitarian of the Year award from the American Lung Association.

Upon his appointment, Bloch pledged a complete immersion in the Institute and the community-at-large. During his tenure he advised and assisted more than 50 area organizations including The Utica Symphony, Sculpture Space, JCTOD, GroWest, the City of Utica, Village of New Hartford and the Oneida County Historical Society. He has served as President of the Boards of Trustees for Faxton-St. Lukes Healthcare and The Community Foundation of Herkimer Oneida Counties.

“There are many organizations that were fortunate to benefit from his experience and willingness to devote his time to others,” Spiridigloizzi said. “He was a decent man who made a positive difference.”

Bloch was a graduate of Pratt Institute in New York City with a degree in industrial design. He also has a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Florida. After graduation, he became head of the art department in a community college in central Florida, and then director of the Pensacola Art Center in Pensacola, Florida. He has held positions as director of the Museum of Science and History in Little Rock, Arkansas, director of the Monmouth Museum in Lincroft, New Jersey, and for 14 years was executive director of the Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Bloch is survived by his wife, Mary Karen Vellines, daughters Kimberly Laakso and Farrell Hudzik, brother J. Stanley Bloch, and four grandchildren.

Donations may be made to the Mint Museum, 500 S. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC and the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute, 310 Genesee St., Utica, N.Y. 13502.