Archive for the 'Collections' Category

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 to be a mouthful, it’s because it is actually three titles.  This painting, completed in 1898, appeared in two magazines, The 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 that they would appear under the original title.  So, in these cases, 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 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 Nov. 1899]: n.p. Illustrated London News. Web. 24 Sept. 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.

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Stop by to view this newly installed painting and participate in the rename it 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.

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: Gateway to the DMA

When the DMA moved downtown, the new museum included a dedicated education space called the Gateway Gallery. The gallery was named Gateway Gallery to indicate that it was to be a gateway to understanding art and the Museum’s collection.

Director Harry S. Parker III with children in the Gateway Gallery, 1984 [Photographer: Tim Mickelson]

Director Harry S. Parker III with children in the Gateway Gallery, 1984 [Photographer: Tim Mickelson]

The first installation for the Gateway Gallery in January 1984, designed by Paul Rogers Harris, allowed visitors to explore the basic elements of art and discover how artists use those elements to create artworks.

"The Gateway Gallery Guide to The Elements of Art" brochure cover

“The Gateway Gallery Guide to The Elements of Art” brochure cover

There were activities to discover line, form, and color. Also texture:

Child exploring texture through sample materials in the Gateway Gallery, 1984

Child exploring texture through sample materials in the Gateway Gallery, 1984

And perspective:

Children explore a mirrored Room of Infinity to understand perspective [Dallas Morning News]

Children explore a mirrored Room of Infinity to understand perspective [Dallas Morning News]

The Gateway Gallery had many different installations, held special exhibitions, and put on an uncountable number of programs for a variety of audiences, a Museum tradition maintained by the Center for Creative Connections.

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

Gourds Gone Wild

The always creative DMA Education Department celebrated Halloween with a Museum-inspired pumpkin decorating contest. Staff members paired off and created a patch of pumpkins disguised like works in the DMA’s collection and special exhibitions. The pumpkins were judged by a team from the Exhibitions and Curatorial departments. An Isa Genzken re-creation took home the coveted Great Pumpkin Prize. We hope everyone has a safe and happy Halloween!

 

photo 4

The pumpkin prize winners, Rhiannon and Betsy, with their pumpkin inspired by Isa Genzken’s Empire/Vampire III

Pride in the DMA: Celebrating LGBTQ Artists in the Collection

In honor of LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) History Month, I’ve researched some of the LGBTQ artists whose work can be found in the DMA’s collection to bring to light a piece of their lives that isn’t commonly referenced.

First, a quick side note: There is a lot of debate concerning how to historically categorize people who did not classify themselves as part of the LGBTQ community, either because they were living in a society that didn’t accept their identity or because the words simply did not exist. Below I’ll be including artists who had same-sex relationships, who identified as gay, bisexual, etc., or whose actions in today’s world would categorize them as LGBTQ.

Anne Whitney (1821–1915)

"Find A Grave - Anne Whitney." Find A Grave.  (accessed September 23, 2014).

“Find A Grave – Anne Whitney.” Find A Grave (accessed September 23, 2014).

Born in 1821, Whitney fought to become an artist in a society that did not readily accept female sculptors; it was considered masculine, as opposed to more “feminine” artistic mediums like watercolor or drawing. She was also an avid abolitionist and advocate of gender equality.

Whitney’s relationship with Abby Adeline Manning, which lasted for over forty years, is frequently termed a “Boston Marriage.” These were characterized by two women—often with their own careers—living together and supporting themselves financially. Manning and Whitney were so close that they were buried next to one another under the same headstone.

Anne Whitney, Lady Godiva, c. 1861-1864, marble, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Dr. Alessandra Comini in memory of Dr. Eleanor Tufts, who discovered the Massachusetts-backyard whereabouts of this long-forgotten statue and brought it to Dallas

Anne Whitney, Lady Godiva, c. 1861-1864, marble, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Dr. Alessandra Comini in memory of Dr. Eleanor Tufts, who discovered the Massachusetts-backyard whereabouts of this long-forgotten statue and brought it to Dallas

Whitney’s sculpture of Lady Godiva depicts the moment when she is about to remove her clothing before her famous ride through the streets. It was gifted to the DMA by Dr. Alessandra Comini in memory of Dr. Eleanor Tufts, who discovered the forgotten statue in a backyard in Massachusetts.

Marsden Hartley (1877–1943)

"SFMOMA | Marsden Hartley." San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. (accessed September 24, 2014).

“SFMOMA | Marsden Hartley.” San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (accessed September 24, 2014).

Hartley’s life was marred by periodic tragedies that informed much of his work. Losses included his siblings, mother, and numerous close family friends. Primarily a painter, Hartley spent much of his career wavering on the brink of financial insecurity.

During Hartley’s first trip to Europe in 1912, he was introduced to Karl von Freyburg, his cousin and rumored lover. After von Freyburg, a German soldier, was killed during battle in WWI, Hartley sank into a depression that would spur his work featuring German officers.

Marsden Hartley, Mountains, no. 19, 1930, oil on board, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

Marsden Hartley, Mountains, no. 19, 1930, oil on board, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc.

Mountains, no. 19 hangs in the DMA’s American Art Gallery. Its Cézanne-influenced shapes are coupled with the rich colors of an autumn day in New England.

Berenice Abbott (1898–1991)

“Berenice Abbott.” Time of the Moment. (accessed September 22, 2014).

Born in Springfield, Ohio, in 1898, Abbott traveled the world throughout her artistic career. She is most noted for her portraits of LGBTQ community members in 1920s Paris and photographs of 1930s-1960s New York. Abbott was very open about her lesbian love affairs in her early years, and was, at one time, involved with silverpoint artist Thelma Wood; however, given the increasingly conservative culture of America following the Great Depression, Abbott kept her love life a secret in her later years.

Berenice Abbott, City Arabesque, 1938, print 1983, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Morton and Marlene Meyerson

Berenice Abbott, City Arabesque, 1938, print 1983, gelatin silver print, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Morton and Marlene Meyerson, © date Estate of Berenice Abbott

The DMA is fortunate to have a large number of Abbott’s photographic prints, most of them detailing her work in urban architecture. This picture is notable for the curved lines juxtaposed against the rigid, harsh structures of the cityscape.

Other artists in the DMA’s collection who are also members of the LGBTQ community include:
Jasper Johns
Charles Demuth (who was a friend of Marsden Hartley)
David Hockney
Robert Mapplethorpe
Catherine Opie

While we know the month is nearing an end, you can celebrate these artists and more throughout the year in the DMA galleries.

Taylor Jeromos is the McDermott Education Intern for Adult Programming and Arts & Letters Live at the DMA.

Dead Art Walking

Visitors to the Museum this Friday will have the chance to experience not only fantastic works of art but a Halloween performance treat as well. For the second year in a row, our gallery attendants will be in costume to greet visitors in all their glittery, and sometimes grisly, glory. This will mark the second time in the past few months that monsters have stalked the hallways.
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In August, the DMA hosted a week-long zombie camp for teens. This STEAM-based camp not only connected students with artists, scientists, and film industry professionals but also sneakily cultivated 21st-century skills such as design thinking, collaboration, and creative problem solving. Click here to read more about the program and enjoy these great images taken by photographer Teresa Rafidi!

For more information on upcoming teen programs like our T-shirt design contest and monthly workshops, visit the DMA website .

Juan Bigornia is the C3 Program Coordinator at the DMA.


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