Archive for the 'American Art' Category

America the Beautiful

Yesterday, the DMA had the honor of hosting 49 individuals from 18 countries during the second annual naturalization ceremony in the Museum’s Horchow Auditorium, where they took their oath of allegiance and became the newest citizens of the United States. Akron Watson, a member of the Fortress of Solitude cast from the show’s recent debut and run at the Dallas Theater Center, capped off the event with an inspiring rendition of America the Beautiful. Following the ceremonies, candidates and their families enjoyed refreshments in the Atrium, posed for photos, had a chance to become our newest DMA Friends, and toured the Museum’s American art collection.

Art + Science = Whole Brain Fun

Remember when it was all the rage to call each other left- or right-brain dominant? While these references are still popularly used today, skepticism is growing among scientists as they learn more about the brain.

Strengths in logical, analytical, and verbal thinking have been associated with the left side of the brain, and creative and intuitive thinking have been associated with the right side. Scientific and mathematical types may be labeled “left-brainers,” while artists are considered “right-brainers.”

The reality is that there’s a bit more crisscross throughout the cranial wires. Both sides of our brains may actually tackle the same problem or idea, but each may approach a solution differently. Bottom line: Te brain aims to work efficiently and this means that most of the time the whole brain is working together. How is the health of your whole brain?

Join us for a day that engages and challenges the whole brain! On Saturday, April 12, the worlds of art and science deliberately cross over and mash up at the DMA’s first Art + Science Festival, held in partnership with the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Here are a few highlights to stimulate your neurons:

  • Stretch your mind during various 20-minute gallery talks with experts. Why might a curator use a CAT scan to learn more about an African sculpture? What can a facial recognition scientist reveal about a portrait?

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Nkisi_1996'184'FA

  • Inspect art materials and the natural world up-close using DIY digital microscopes with the DMA/Perot Teen Advisory Council.
  • Sit in the Perot’s Portable Universe (only the coolest movable planetarium in town) for one of two featured presentations, The Sky at Night and The Search for Water. After the Portable Universe, marvel at the connections your brain makes as you gaze upon masterworks in two DMA exhibitions. Encounter the realm of the stars in Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World, which includes a collection of astrolabes (early astronomical computers), a celestial globe, and an astrological album. Alexandre Hogue: The Erosion Series takes an in-depth look at Hogue’s powerful images confronting the tragedies and environmental issues of the Dust Bowl era.

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  • Practice your mind-hand-eye coordination by making some art. Explore lines, shapes, and patterns through the creation of a string art installation with artist Amy Adelman.

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All of these experiences and more await you for FREE at the DMA’s Art + Science Festival on Saturday, April 12. Come for a visit and challenge your whole brain! All ages are invited.

Nicole Stutzman Forbes is Chair of Learning Initiatives and Dallas Museum of Art League Director of Education at the DMA.

Images:
George W. Bellows, Emma in a Purple Dress, 1920-1923, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase; Standing power figure (nkisi nkondi), late 19th-early 20th century, wood, iron, raffia, ceramic, pigment, kaolin, red camwood, resin, dirt, leaves, animal skin, and cowrie shell, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the McDermott Foundation; Alexandre Hogue, Drouth-Stricken Area, 1934, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, (c) Olivia Hogue Marino & Amalia Hogue

Rauschenberg’s President

In honor of Presidents’ Day, we’re  highlighting the one who watches over the Atrium and greets visitors as they enter the Museum. President John F. Kennedy is featured in the DMA’s Robert Rauschenberg painting Skyway, along with other elements of American history in the 1960s.

Robert Rauschenberg, Skyway, 1964, oil and silkscreen on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Roberta Coke Camp Fund, The 500, Inc., Mr. and Mrs. Mark Shepherd, Jr. and General Acquisitions Fund

Robert Rauschenberg, Skyway, 1964, oil and silkscreen on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Roberta Coke Camp Fund, The 500, Inc., Mr. and Mrs. Mark Shepherd, Jr. and General Acquisitions Fund, (c) Rauschenberg Estate/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Kimberly Daniell is the manager of communications and public affairs at the DMA.

Hocus Pocus

Halloween is just around the corner and it has us seeing haunting references in works at the DMA and treats throughout the Museum’s galleries. Tell us which works cause you to have a hair-raising Museum visit.

All Dolled Up

Our 30,000 (and counting!) DMA Friends have some fun and unique rewards to choose from, one of which was the Art Beauty Shoppe Reward. Our lucky DMA Friend Lacey recently redeemed this special reward, which allowed her and three friends to get their hair and makeup styled in 1930s fashion (courtesy of Pouf) and then have a photo shoot with Isaac Soyer’s Art Beauty Shoppe (1934) in the American Art Galleries. The ladies came prepared with vintage outfits and props, including a 1934 Ladies Home Companion. Check out the scene below and stay tuned for an upcoming blog post from Lacey about her experience.

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Sarah Coffey is assistant to the chair of learning initiatives at the DMA.

Iceberg, Straight Ahead!

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This week we celebrate a homecoming at the DMA. Frederic Church’s The Icebergs is now back on view after almost a year on tour with the exhibition The Civil War and American Art. Watch the painting’s journey from its travel crate back to the DMA’s American Art Galleries in the video below, and join us for our free lunchtime Gallery Talk at 12:15 p.m. on  Wednesday, September 18, with DMA curator Sue Canterbury to welcome home The Icebergs!

Kimberly Daniell is the PR manager at the DMA.

From Sea to Shining Sea

In celebration of the Fourth of July, we thought it might be fun to spotlight some of the great American artworks in our collection that have been created in the 237 years since our nation’s founding.

Rembrandt Peale, George Washington, c. 1850, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Karl and Esther Hoblitzelle Collection, gift of the Hoblitzelle Foundation

Rembrandt Peale, George Washington, c. 1850, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Karl and Esther Hoblitzelle Collection, gift of the Hoblitzelle Foundation

What better way to start than with the Father of Our Country? This portrait, completed fifty-one years after Washington’s death, was created by an artist who had met George Washington on several occasions. His first encounter with the president occurred when Rembrandt Peale was just seventeen years old. He painted a portrait of the president that would serve as the inspiration for countless additional portraits over the years. Peale shows Washington in his later years, perhaps reflecting back on his time as a surveyor, general, and president. When you visit the galleries, you might compare this painting with Jean-Antoine Houdon’s bust of George Washington, which is located right around the corner. Which one do you think is a more accurate likeness?

Crawford Riddell, Bed, c. 1844, Brazilian rosewood, tulip poplar, and yellow pine, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of three anonymous donors, Friends of the Decorative Arts Fund, General Acquisitions Fund, Discretionary Decorative Arts Fund, and the Boshell Family Foundation

Crawford Riddell, Bedstead, c. 1844, Brazilian rosewood, tulip poplar, yellow pine, and polychromed textile, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of three anonymous donors, Friends of the Decorative Arts Fund, General Acquisitions Fund, Discretionary Decorative Arts Fund, and the Boshell Family Foundation

It’s impossible to lead a tour through our galleries without stopping at the Gothic bedstead. As beautiful as this work of art is, I think its history is even more fascinating. This bed was commissioned by a group of Whig party supporters who were convinced that Henry Clay was finally going to win an election and become President of the United States. Unfortunately for those eager supporters, Clay lost the 1844 election to James K. Polk, and the bed never made its way into the White House. It’s always fun to hear from our visitors who they think might have slept in a bed this grand.

Thomas Moran, An Indian Paradise (Green River, Wyoming), 1911, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Munger Fund

Thomas Moran, An Indian Paradise (Green River, Wyoming), 1911, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Munger Fund

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, American artists headed West to explore new territories in the United States. Many of them were captivated by the natural beauty of the landscape—especially areas like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Yosemite Parks. These artists began to think of such awe-inspiring locations as our cathedrals and monuments. By capturing their beauty and grandeur on canvas, they celebrated the landscapes that make our country unique. What natural wonders are your favorite American landscapes?

Our collection provides many wonderful primary sources that relate to key events in American history. We hope that you’ll come visit them in person on July 4—the DMA will be open (with FREE general admission) from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Shannon Karol is the Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs at the DMA.

DMA’s Cinderella Inspires New Show

In honor of Thomas Sully’s birthday on June 19, we sat down with William Keyse Rudolph, the DMA’s former Associate Curator of American Art. Now the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Dudley J. Godfrey, Jr. Curator of American Art and Decorative Arts, William is currently organizing a retrospective exhibition of the artist. Sully (1783–1872) was born into a theatrical family in England but made a career in America, capturing in paint many of the leading actors and actresses of the time. The exhibition will feature many of these portraits as well as his “fancy pictures”–paintings made for mass appeal, with literary, artistic, and/or imaginary subjects. While at the DMA, William acquired Cinderella at the Kitchen Fire for the collection; the painting will be featured in the traveling exhibition and accompanying catalogue.

Thomas Sully, Cinderella at the Kitchen Fire, 1843, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation

Thomas Sully, Cinderella at the Kitchen Fire, 1843, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation

1. You were quoted in Art and Antiques magazine as saying that the DMA’s Cinderella at the Kitchen Fire took your breath away the first time you saw it. Why is this? Why do you consider this work Sully’s “finest fancy picture”?

For one thing, the picture is bigger than you expect. It’s nearly four feet by five feet. It was hanging on the wall of an art dealer’s office, surrounded by books, clutter, papers–and it just jumped out at me, even with all that distraction. It’s a beautifully painted, delicate picture, full of all sorts of grays and pinks that never reproduce well, but that are knock-out in person. And to be honest, it has this great big wonderful orange and white cat frolicking with Cinderella almost right at front and center. At that time, I had an orange and white cat, so the die was cast. I had to love it! And to be fair, former DMA director Jack Lane’s first words upon seeing an image of the painting were “Look at that cat!” He’s a cat person, too. We were also very fortunate that Mrs. Pauline Gill Sullivan, who had been a great benefactor of the DMA, saw the painting when we brought it to the Museum on approval and very graciously agreed to fund its acquisition. Besides having her own fine collection of European and American art, Mrs. Sullivan had a wonderful track record of making acquisitions available to the Museum, such as the commanding 18th-century portrait by Ralph Earl and a really dreamy late 19th-century Frank Duveneck painting of a woman in a red hat, so I was grateful that she responded so well to a big fairytale scene, which was out of her comfort zone in terms of the artist, size, and subject matter.

2. Did you have an interest in Sully and his paintings prior to this acquisition?

Yes. I had lived, worked, and gone to graduate school in Philadelphia for ten years before coming to the DMA, so I was well aware of Sully. He is so closely linked with the city of Philadelphia, where he worked for about sixty years, that it is almost impossible to spend time in Philly and not run into his work in virtually every cultural institution, from museums to libraries and hospitals.

3. How does it make you feel knowing that a key acquisition you made while working at the DMA will now be featured in Milwaukee’s exhibition and catalogue? Was it difficult to leave Cinderella behind?

I am, of course, thrilled! Cinderella at the Kitchen Fire actually gave birth to the show. After I acquired the work, my colleague Carol Eaton Soltis (a curator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art) and I began to talk about why this work was so interesting, which led to us proposing a show at the DMA that examined Sully’s total career: portraits as well as fancy pictures like this one. That show, which we began working on in 2005, was originally scheduled for 2009-2010 but ultimately didn’t happen due to timing and other issues. So we are really happy that years later the idea for the show was able to travel with me to Milwaukee and can now finally be seen here and then at the San Antonio Museum of Art. And yes, it was very difficult to leave Cinderella behind. You never, ever forget your first acquisition, and she was mine. I have missed her every day since I left the DMA, and I’m ridiculously excited to have her back with me for a brief time. If you ask gallery attendants at the DMA who remember me, they will tell you I used to go talk to her in the galleries. So my team here has been warned about that! I will probably burst into tears when she comes out of her crate and I see her again.

4. Since Sully also specialized in portraiture, is there any evidence that the figure of Cinderella was based on a real person?

Carol Soltis and I are convinced that the model for Sully was his daughter Rosalie, who posed for many of his works, several of which will also be in the show. She was a very talented painter herself, who died young.

5. Cinderella was painted when Sully was 60 years old. In your opinion, did it bring him the success and attention he hoped for in his later years? Did it help him attract new clients?

Yes and no. Sully hoped to sell the painting much faster than he did. He exhibited it several times in the Northeast and it was made into an engraving, but it took a few years to actually sell to a collector. One of the fascinating stories of this exhibition is how the fancy pictures like Cinderella functioned for Sully as a way to try to counteract the effects of economic crises on the portraiture market. Works like Cinderella were attempts to keep himself in front of the public, which he hoped would both result in sales of the subject pictures and remind clients that he could still turn it on when he wanted to.

6. A later version of Cinderella was (at least at one time) in the collection of Thomas Sully, Jr., of Naples, Florida. Is he a descendant of the painter? Did you ever track down this painting and will it be part of the exhibition and/or catalogue?

He is a descendant. I’ve seen an old reproduction of this picture, and I actually suspect it was the work of one of Sully’s grown children, whom he trained as artists. For that reason, I’ve never really worried about tracing it, as the DMA has the best one. What I’d be curious to see someday is another version of Cinderella done later that apparently shows her with the fairy godmother, but that one is completely obscure and only listed in Sully’s register. If anyone knows where it is, I would love to see it!

7. Do you know yet which works in the exhibition will be installed near the DMA’s Cinderella?

I don’t know exactly where the painting will go in the gallery, but it will be part of a section devoted to Sully’s fancy pictures. So she will live near an amazing picture of Little Nell Asleep in the Curiosity Shop from the Free Library of Philadelphia, which is based on Charles Dickens; and a gigantic, dramatic painting based on a scene from the early American novel The Pilot by James Fenimore Cooper that we’re borrowing from the Birmingham Museum of Art in Alabama. All three of them will be stunning together, and all were painted around the same time.

Thomas Sully: Painted Performance will be on view at the Milwaukee Art Museum October 11, 2013-January 5, 2014, and then at the San Antonio Museum of Art February 7-May 11, 2014. I hope some of the DMA’s visitors who love this painting will come see the show in one of these places to help celebrate this important painter and this really beautiful picture that the DMA family has been so quick to adopt as a favorite. And thank you to Sue Canterbury, Maxwell L.  Anderson, and all the DMA family for making her available for loan.

Reagan Duplisea is the Associate Registrar, Exhibitions at the DMA.

An American Art Education

Two of our talented McDermott Interns have been busy working on some new projects, both involving our collection of American art.

Alexandra Vargo: As the McDermott Education Intern for Gallery Teaching, I work with school tours, adult tours, teachers, and the volunteer docent corps. Currently, I’m working on a Docent Guide for the Museum’s collection of colonial to modern American art. The guide focuses on creating interactive and versatile experiences that can be presented with any number of objects and age groups. I have been testing these activities with school tours ranging from 3rd graders to high school art students throughout my internship.

The “Make Your Own Profile” exercise has been one of the most fun to create. It is based on Facebook and asks students to think creatively about a portrait of their choice within the American collection. Students use close looking and visual evidence to draw conclusions about the personality and backstory of the subject. Check out some of the examples below:

Pilar Wong: As the McDermott Education Intern for Community Teaching, I work with Go van Gogh®, our art education outreach program. I am currently working on revamping our 5th and 6th grade program titled Picturing American History. The program focuses on artworks in the DMA’s collection that reflect important moments in American history.

Piero Fornasetti, Richard Ginori Porcelain, Le retour (The Return) plate from the "Man in Space" series, designed 1966, porcelain, transfer-printed, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Michael L. Rosenberg

The Return plate from the Man in Space series, Piero Fornasetti, designer, Richard Ginori Porcelain, manufacturer, designed 1966, porcelain, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Michael L. Rosenberg

After discussing the five artworks, students make commemorative plates that capture a modern-day current event or social issue. This activity is based on The Return, a plate from the Man in Space series that commemorates the Space Race between the United States and the former USSR. Check out some of the kids’ responses below:

Projects like these provide valuable contributions to our ongoing educational work at the Museum and remain in use long after our McDermott Interns have left the DMA.

Alexandra Vargo is the McDermott Education Intern for Gallery Teaching and Pilar Wong is the McDermott Education Intern for Community Teaching at the DMA.

Deep in the Heart of Texas

Saturday is the 177th anniversary of the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836. Celebrate Texas Independence Day this year by viewing newly installed works by Texas artists in the American Art Galleries on Level 4 or visiting the new exhibition Loren Mozley: Structural Integrity.

Otis Dozier, Cotton Boll, 1936, oil on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Eleanor and C. Thomas May, Jr.

Otis Dozier, Cotton Boll, 1936, oil on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Eleanor and C. Thomas May, Jr.

Alexandre Hogue, Drouth Stricken Area, 1934, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase

Alexandre Hogue, Drouth Stricken Area, 1934, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase

Florence E. McClung, Squaw Creek Valley, 1937, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Florence E. McClung

Florence E. McClung, Squaw Creek Valley, 1937, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Florence E. McClung

Charles T. Bowling, Mason County Landscape, 1938, egg tempera on composition board, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Eleanor and C. Thomas May, Jr.

Charles T. Bowling, Mason County Landscape, 1938, egg tempera on composition board, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Eleanor and C. Thomas May, Jr.

Jerry Bywaters, Share Cropper, 1937, oil on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, Allied Arts Civic Prize, Eighth Annual Dallas Allied Arts Exhibition, 1937

Jerry Bywaters, Share Cropper, 1937, oil on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, Allied Arts Civic Prize, Eighth Annual Dallas Allied Arts Exhibition, 1937

Merritt Mauzey, Neighbors, 1938, oil on masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, Arthur Kramer and Fred Florence Purchase Prize, Ninth Annual Dallas Allied Arts Exhibition, 1938 1938

Merritt Mauzey, Neighbors, 1938, oil on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, Arthur Kramer and Fred Florence Purchase Prize, Ninth Annual Dallas Allied Arts Exhibition, 1938 1938

Kimberly Daniell is the Public Relations Manager at the Dallas Museum of Art and Elizabeth Donnelly is the Exhibitions Assistant at the Dallas Museum of Art.


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