Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Yankee Spirit Art Exhibit

West Rock, New Haven - Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900)

If you can't go to the art, let the art come to you!  I thoroughly enjoyed "The Yankee Spirit" art exhibit at BYU's Museum of Art.  This exhibit features paintings from the New Britain Museum of American Art in New Britain, Connecticut, and has selections from many artists you may be familiar with, and probably a few that you aren't.  Sprinkled among the works of the widely known Norman Rockwell, Georgia O'Keefe, Thomas Moran, and John Singer Sargent are some less recognizable treasures.

This exhibit contains both art information and history lessons.  For example, did you know that before he invented the telegraph and Morse code, Samuel F.B. Morse (1791-1872) was an artist?  One of his paintings is in this exhibit.  Also of interest are works by painters who are notable for their circumstances and place on the historical timeline.  Lily Martin Spencer (1822-1902), the exhibit tag informs you, was the mother of 13, and the principle breadwinner for her family.  This was definitely unusual for the time!  Her painting "This Little Pig Went to Market" captures an intimate moment between mother and child, and was also unusual subject matter for the era.

African-American artist Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937) was more accepted outside of his home country.  As you look at his "Wynkoop House, Old Haarlem," notice his quote about America featured beside the painting.
I love it and am sometimes sad that I cannot live where my heart is.
Rockwell Kent's "Toilers at Sea" brings to mind a Winslow Homer painting, while the Winslow Homer in this exhibit is of a different subject matter altogether.  His "Butterfly Girl" is a fairly straight forward picture of a young woman.

Toilers At Sea - Rockwell Kent

Butterfly Girl - Winslow Homer

James Whistler's (1834-1903) spare "The Beach at Selsey Bill" contrasts vividly with Ernest Lawson's (1873-1939) vibrant "Spring Tapestry."  The bright colors and movement of this piece bring to life the energy and rebirth of spring.
Spring Tapestry - Ernest Lawson

John Haberle's (185601933) trompe l'oeil "Time and Eternity" is so well executed that at first I thought he had used actual cards in a collage-style.  But no!  This is an actual "flat" painting.

Time and Eternity - John Haberle

Christopher Gallegos' "Interior With Three Rooms" is so inviting that it is roped off so people won't walk into it.  One of my sons loved Peter Blume's (1906-1992) "Boulders of Avila."  Blume mixed marble dust with his paint and applied it with a palette knife to create the texture on the rocks.  Another of my boys' favorites was Maxfield Parrish's (1870-1966) snug cottage in "Dusk."

Dusk - Maxfield Parrish

So, if you are in the Provo area, take some time and rest your eyes on the translucent green wave curling toward "Seal Rock" (Albert Bierstadt), or stop a minute to watch the sunset over the "Ipswich Marshes" (Martin Johnson Heade 1819-1904).

Seal Rock - Albert Bierstadt

Celebrate the Yankee Spirit and take in this wonderful exhibit while you can.  It runs through October 29, 2011, and it's FREE.

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