A Dallas December

Edward G. Eisenlohr, December, Dallas, 1938, pencil on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Gertrude Helmle, the estate of E. G. Eisenlohr

Edward G. Eisenlohr, December, Dallas, 1938, pencil on paper, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Gertrude Helmle, the estate of E. G. Eisenlohr

This drawing of a Texas meadow in December by Edward Gustav Eisenlohr from the DMA’s collection of early Texas art seems simple in its portrayal, yet subtle details add texture and depth to the page. Notice the hatching on the rock formation in the foreground or the care given to the hundreds of individual leaves and petals throughout—a departure from the idea of a Texas landscape as an endless desert or barren prairie.

The temperature in Dallas in December 1938 averaged 48 degrees, but interestingly a record high of  84˚ was set on December 10 of that year. Therefore, despite being a winter month, the white patches to the left are  likely not snow. Eisenlohr often represented bare spots in the ground, a common occurrence on the prairie, with colorless patches.

Eisenlohr was a Dallas painter, printmaker, and teacher. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1872 of German descent, he died in Dallas in 1961 and is buried in Oak Cliff. Eisenlohr initially moved to Dallas as a child with his family, and later the area would become his inspiration and artistic base. He studied in the early 1900s with Texas art legends Robert J. Onderdonk and Frank Reaugh, which included lessons during outdoor trips. Eisenlohr would continue to make sketching trips to sites all over Dallas, so the above work was most likely done en plein air, or created outside from life. He was involved in establishing the Dallas Art Association, forerunner of the Dallas Museum of Arts, in 1903, which, as you know, became the DMA.

Rae Pleasant is the Research Associate for Early Texas Art at the DMA.

What’s in a Name?

Last week, Hard Pressed (Any Port in a Storm/Late for School) by Arthur John Elsley was installed in the Center for Creative Connections (C3). If the title seems like a mouthful, it’s because it is actually three titles. This painting, completed in 1898, appeared in two magazines, Illustrated London News and Pears Annual, under the aliases Late for School and Any Port in a Storm, respectively. When I think of works of art appearing in magazines today, I assume they would appear under the original title. So, in this case, why the name change? In researching this work of art, we found a digital copy of the 1899 Illustrated London News edition in which Hard Pressed appeared, and we noticed some small differences between the painting in our collection and the image that appeared in the magazine. Perhaps these small differences warranted a title change. What differences can you find in the two images?

Images (left to right): Arthur John Elsley, Hard Pressed (Any Port in a Storm/Late for School), 1898, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Kim Jordan; "Late for School." Illustrated London News [London, England] [27 Nov. 1899]: n.p. Illustrated London News. Web. 24 Sept. 2014.

Images (left to right): Arthur John Elsley, Hard Pressed (Any Port in a Storm/Late for School), 1898, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Kim Jordan; “Late for School.” Illustrated London News [London, England] [27 November 1899]: n.p. Illustrated London News. Web. 24 September 2014. Gale Digital Collections

In the Center for Creative Connections, we focus on learning by doing. In planning for this installation, we designed an activity to build on this painting’s history of multiple titles. We are posing a simple question to our visitors. “What would you title this painting if you could rename it?”

Peruse these title suggestions from the Education team.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Stop by to view this newly installed painting and participate in the renaming activity.

Jessica Fuentes is the Center for Creative Connections Gallery Coordinator at the DMA.

Festival of Lights

In honor of Hanukkah, we pulled together a selection of lights in the DMA’s collection to celebrate the Festival of Lights.

Spend time this holiday season exploring the DMA’s collection, included in free general admission, and our special exhibition Bouquets: French Still-Life Painting from Chardin to Matisse, with a special half-price partnership with the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.

Open Book

A&LL_24thSeason
The 24th Arts & Letters Live season promises to be varied and exciting, with a celebrated lineup of award-winning authors, artists, and performers. When we were creating this season, several themes kept rising to the surface:

  • ARTPeter Mendelsund on the art of book jacket design and on what we see when we read; illustrator and New Yorker cartoonist Harry Bliss; Sue Roe on Matisse, Picasso, and other artists working in the Montmartre area of Paris in the early 1900s—a group portrait of men and women on the cusp of fame who profoundly changed the arts of painting, sculpture, dance, music, literature, and fashion.
  • MEMOIRCandice Bergen, Roz Chast, Gail Sheehy, Rebecca Alexander, Lynsey Addario, and Huan Hsu will all share their recent memoirs this season.
  • MULTICULTURALISM AND GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES – MacArthur Genius Grant–winner and photojournalist Lynsey Addario, who has captured war and human crises around the globe; Oral Fixation, back by popular demand with “Destination America,” featuring seven new personal stories told by immigrants to North Texas.
  • FOOD AND COCKTAILS – Emmy Award–winning host of the Barefoot Contessa television show Ina Garten, James Beard Award–winning chef Marcus Samuelsson, and Tim Federle, author of the whimsical and witty Tequila Mockingbird and Hickory, Daiquiri, Dock, which serve up a blend of literary commentary, puns, and drink recipes.
  • IDENTITY – editors of the Women in Clothes anthology (Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton) as well as fashion designer Lela Rose; Rabih Alameddine exploring identity both in writing and painting; Jacqueline Woodson, award-winning young adult author on Brown Girl Dreaming, a collection of poems depicting her childhood, which won the 2014 National Book Award for young adult literature; rising literary novelists Jacob Rubin and Rebecca Scherm
  • TEXASPhilipp Meyer and Grace Pettis (“Texas Tales in Story, Song, and Art”—involves commissioning Pettis to write a new song inspired by a work of art of her choice in the DMA’s collection); Texas Bound this year features star actors Doris Roberts (Everybody Loves Raymond), Glenn Morshower (24), and G. W. Bailey (Major Crimes) as well as many members of the Dallas Theater Center’s Brierley Resident Acting Company.
  • LOVE – Selected Shorts presents “Surprised by Love,” featuring award-winning actors Jane Kaczmarek, Mary Kay Place, and James Naughton; Graeme Simsion, bestselling author of The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect, about a brilliant but socially inept scientist who crafts a scientific survey to find a wife.
  • WAR IN FICTION AND NONFICTION – a look back at the meaning of the Vietnam War with Pulitzer Prize-winner Fredrik Logevall; Anthony Doerr and Jim Shepard on their novels, both featuring teenage protagonists in World War II; and Elliot Ackerman, a decorated veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars whose debut novel, Green on Blue, told from the perspective of an Afghan orphan recruited by a US-funded militia, is garnering high praise.
  • CREATIVE COLLABORATION – Award-winning poet Billy Collins and Oscar- and Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Aimee Mann team up for a rare evening of poetry, acoustic music, collaboration, and conversation; Joshua Wolf Shenk‘s book Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs examines the creative collaboration found in iconic pairs such as Matisse and Picasso, the Beatles, and many more.

Don’t miss out on your favorite authors this year. Tickets, and the entire season schedule, are available online starting today!

Carolyn Bess is the Director of Programming and Arts & Letters Live at the DMA.

Artful Blooming

IMG_7912

Visitors to Bouquets: French Still-Life Painting from Chardin to Matisse have the opportunity to walk in the shoes of the exhibition’s artists. In the central gallery, they can draw their own still life from a real bouquet inspired by paintings in the exhibition and arranged by the DMA League’s Floral Committee. Check out some examples of these visitor-created masterpieces!

 

Andrea Vargas Severin is the Interpretation Manager at the DMA.

Bird Watching

The Wittgenstein Vitrine, designed by Carl Otto Czeschka and executed by the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshops) for the 1908 Kunstschau (Art Show), is the focus of the exhibition Modern Opulence in Vienna: The Wittgenstein Vitrine, now on view in the Conservation Gallery. Upon entering the gallery, you will notice the vitrine’s enormous scale, its reflective silver surface, and its dark Macassar ebony veneered base. As you approach the vitrine, you will discern a multitude of details, most notably the fretwork that wraps the vitrine and forms an ecosystem teeming with plant and animal life.

The Wittgenstein Vitrine on view in Modern Opulence in Vienna: The Wittgenstein Vitrine

The Wittgenstein Vitrine on view in Modern Opulence in Vienna: The Wittgenstein Vitrine

Flora and fauna motifs, inspired by Central European folk art and Arts and Crafts design, reoccur throughout Czeschka’s designs in a variety of media—metal, lacquer, and textile, among others; however, the detail, diversity, and dynamism of the animals on the Wittgenstein Vitrine’s fretwork are unprecedented in the designer’s oeuvre. Birds of various sizes, shapes, and patterns perch amidst dense foliage, while squirrels, weasels, mice, and lizards scamper across scrolling vines in search of baroque pearl “fruits.”

These critters so captivated curators and conservators that the DMA turned to Dr. Marcy Brown Marsden, ornithologist and Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Dallas, in order to identify the avian, as well as mammal and reptile, species represented on the vitrine. Identification of birds in nature involves five qualities—shape, size, color, song, and behavior. Because the birds on the vitrine are monochromatic, static, and silent, their identifications as Central European species were based on physical features—such as bills, tails, crests, and feathers—and behavioral characteristics. Dr. Brown Marsden and University of Dallas undergraduate students Allison Rodgers and Nicole Stevens identified a total of twenty-four species, including a few of my favorites listed below!

detail of Wittgenstein Vitrine; Juan Lacruz Martín, Eurasian Hoopoe, photograph. The Internet Bird Collection, Web. November 24, 2014.

Detail of Wittgenstein Vitrine; Juan Lacruz Martín, Eurasian Hoopoe, photograph. The Internet Bird Collection

The Eurasian Hoopoe (Upapa epops) is characterized by a prominent crest, a long tail, and a distinctive pattern on its feathers.

Detail of Wittgenstein Vitrine; Andreas Trepte, Common Kingfisher, photograph. Wikipedia, web. November 24, 2014.

Detail of Wittgenstein Vitrine; Andreas Trepte, Common Kingfisher, photograph. Wikipedia

With its plump body, short tail, and extended bill, the Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) on the vitrine is nearly identical to its counterpart in nature.

Detail of Wittgenstein Vitrine; Peter Trimming, Eurasian Red Squirrel, photograph. Wikipedia, web. November 24, 2014.

Detail of Wittgenstein Vitrine; Peter Trimming, Eurasian Red Squirrel, photograph. Wikipedia

The Eurasian Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), with tufted ears and a bushy tail, appears several times on the vitrine in various positions. This squirrel holds a baroque pearl “acorn” in its paws.

Detail of Wittgenstein Vitrine; Marcel de Bruin, Weasel, photogrpah. Photo-marcelloromeo. Web. November 24, 2014

Detail of Wittgenstein Vitrine; Marcel de Bruin, Weasel, photograph. Photo-marcelloromeo

 

Detail of Wittgenstein Vitrine; Josef Lubomir Hlasek, Mouse, photograph. Sci-news.com. Web. November 24, 2014.

Detail of Wittgenstein Vitrine; Josef Lubomir Hlasek, Mouse, photograph. Sci-news.com

The weasel (Mustela) is identified by the distinctive shape of its head, body, and tail. On the vitrine, it chases a mouse (Mus) with prominent ears and an elongated tail, its natural prey.

Detail of Wittgenstein Vitrine; Garth Peacock, Common Nightingale, photograph. Bird Life International. Web. November 24, 2014.

Detail of Wittgenstein Vitrine; Garth Peacock, Common Nightingale, photograph. Bird Life International

The gaping position of this bird’s bill suggests it is a Common Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos), a species renowned for its powerful and beautiful song and popular in European literature, poetry, and music.

To spot all twenty-four species represented on the Wittgenstein Vitrine, visit Modern Opulence in Vienna: The Wittgenstein Vitrine and pick up the in-gallery guide “A Birder’s Guide to the Wittgenstein Vitrine.”

Samantha Robinson is the McDermott Graduate Curatorial Intern of American and Decorative Art at the DMA.

Image: Wittgenstein Vitrine (for the 1908 Kunstschau), 1908, Carl Otto Czeschka, Austrian, 1878-1960, designer; Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshops), Vienna, Austria, 1903–1932; Josef Berger, Austrian, 1874/75-?, goldsmith; Josef Hoszfeld, Austrian, 1869–1918, Adolf Erbrich, Austrian, 1874–?, Alfred Mayer, Austrian, 1873–?, silversmiths; Josef Weber, dates unknown, cabinetmaker; Wabak, Albrech, Plasinsky, Cerhan (unidentified craftsmen), silver, moonstone, opal, lapis lazuli, mother-of-pearl, baroque pearls, onyx, ivory, enamel, glass, and ebony veneers (replaced), Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

ARTifacts – A Day Without Art 25 Years Ago

Memorial Wall in front of the Flora Court entrance for A Day Without Art, 1989

Memorial Wall in front of the Flora Court entrance for A Day Without Art, 1989

On December 1, 1989, the second annual World AIDS Day (a global public health campaign initiated by the World Health Organization), the DMA participated in A Day Without Art: A National Day of Action and Mourning in Response to the AIDS Crisis.

Visual AIDS, an organization of art professionals committed to facilitating AIDS-related exhibitions and events, conceived A Day Without Art as a call to arts organizations to recognize the effect of AIDS on the art community.

The aims of the day were to 1) commemorate losses of artists and arts professionals; 2) create greater awareness about the spread of AIDS; 3) publicize the needs of people with AIDS; and 4) call for greater funding of services and research.

Flyer for A Day Without Art activities

Flyer for A Day Without Art activities at the DMA

The DMA worked with five Dallas-area artists to determine the most appropriate program for A Day Without Art. Lead artist Greg Metz, in collaboration with Pam Dougherty, Sean Earley, Jerry Janosco, and Brian Overley, conceived the presentation as a bleak confrontational memorial to the widespread, continuing art community deaths. It consisted of three parts.

1. The artists constructed black Memorial Walls to impede direct access to the Museum’s three public entrances. The temporary walls were installed for 24 hours, from 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 30, 1989, to 4:00 p.m. on Friday, December 1, 1989. The walls displayed white ribbons with the names of those in the Dallas art community who had died or were diagnosed with AIDS. Members of the community were invited to remember loved ones, artists, and art community members by adding their own white ribbon.

2. The evening of Thursday, November 30, featured a sound installation and performance by electronic performance artist Jerry Hunt, and donations benefiting the Dallas AIDS Resource Center were accepted.

3. An electronic counter was installed in the Concourse, marking the World AIDS Death Toll, which at the time was one death every 17 minutes.

A Day Without Art Memorial Wall at Ross Plaza entrance

A Day Without Art Memorial Wall at Ross Plaza entrance

Over 400 arts institutions responded to A Day Without Art in a variety of ways, from closing, to darkening a gallery or shrouding artworks, to sponsoring educational or remembrance programs.

Hillary Bober is the Archivist at the Dallas Museum of Art.

 


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 697 other followers

Twitter Updates

Flickr Photo Stream

More Photos

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 697 other followers