Posts Tagged 'American art'

30-Minute Dash: Eric Zeidler

Because we offer free general admission, visitors often pop in for a few minutes when they are in the Dallas Arts District. Our Visitor Services team is frequently asked this question: “What would you recommend seeing if you only had thirty minutes to visit the Museum?” We thought it would be fun to pose this tough question to DMA staffers from different departments to see what they consider to be among the highlights. First up is Eric Zeidler, our Publications Manager:

If a visitor had thirty minutes and accepted me as a guide, I would take them to many galleries to highlight multiple works in the collection, starting with the African galleries on Level 3.


My favorite stops include the Fang reliquary guardian figure. It is so riveting and perfectly carved, I can never get my fill of looking at it. Another work to visit is the Songye female power figure with her sheen (she exudes the oil with which she has been anointed down through the years) and that unnerving grin. I can well imagine her exerting a beneficent or malefic power, depending on the inner qualities of those who come into contact with her. Last stop in this gallery would have to be the Djennenke/Soninke figure, with her protuberant eyes and spare, almost angular, elegance.


Continuing our tour on Level 3 in the Arts of Asia gallery includes time to take in the serene Buddha Muchalinda. I love his canopy of naga heads and the fascinating expressiveness of his lips. The Vajrabhairava, with its horns and fangs and union of ecstatic abandon with higher truth, is always a must see, as is the sensuously provocative celestial female with that scorpion on her thigh. And finally we would visit the Vishnu as Varaha, with its diagonal lines and the redoubtable tusks and snout.


We would then dash downstairs to the European galleries on Level 2 to look at a large selection of some of my favorite works, starting with Paul Signac’s neoimpressionist masterpiece Comblat-le-Château, the Meadow (Le Pré), Opus 161. We would then continue on to Paul Sérusier’s Celtic Tale, which partly reminds me of Paul Gauguin but also has symbolist elements reminiscent of Javanese-Dutch artist Jan Toorop, with whom (for me) its imagery has luminous affinities. Next would be Piet Mondrian’s Farm Near Duivendrecht, in the Evening, with its low light, reminds me of Dahl’s Frederiksborg Castle, on view around the corner (it makes me wish that we could acquire some Atkinson Grimshaw canvases), and a quick look at Hans Hofmann’s expressive masterpiece Untitled (Yellow Table on Green).


Going down the other side of the European galleries, I would point out the nice little Still-life with Fruit by Emilie Preyer; Sir Joshua Reynolds’ commanding Portrait of Miss Mary Pelham (she has such a penetrating stare, which for me suggests a certain formidable willfulness); the gorgeous still-life Basket of Flowers by Beert the Elder, with its petals lying strewn on a tabletop; and my beloved College of Animals by Cornelis Saftleven. I think this work, beyond its allegorical subtleties and its charm for all those who love animals, is a beautifully painted canvas, and I love studying its various striking details.


I would also take a quick trip to the Level 4 to see the Dust Bowl and other Texas paintings, which show that beauty can be found amidst stark desolation, and the Navajo eye-dazzler blanket, which is a pleasure to gaze upon. We would end our whirlwind tour with the fascinating little painting by Roberto Montenegro, The Shell, one of my favorite works in the entire collection.

Follow Uncrated to catch the next DMA Dash and more behind-the-scenes scoops. Visit our collection online anytime here.

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

DMA Snapshot: American Portraits

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Sometimes visitors will ask me what they should see if they don’t have much time to spend in the galleries. Generally, I like to tailor my suggestions to the visitors’ preference for a particular style of art, but sometimes I just really like to show off a few of my favorites. One of the sections that I like to visit is the wonderful (and impressive) portrait collection on Level 4 in the American Art Galleries. During a quick visit  you can see celebrities such as George Washington, whose portrait was painted in 1795 by Rembrandt Peale when the artist was only seventeen years old. It wasn’t until 1823 that Peale decided to improve on the original painting.

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

The sitter in John Singer Sargent’s Dorothy was the granddaughter of one of Sargent’s first American patrons, George Millar Williamson. Dorothy was selected to be a part of the Art Everywhere US campaign to celebrate American history and culture nationwide. Be on the lookout for her on outdoor displays this August.

John Singer Sargent, Dorothy, 1900, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Leland Fikes Foundation, Inc.

John Singer Sargent, Dorothy, 1900, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Leland Fikes Foundation, Inc.

You don’t want to miss the beautiful portrait of Theodore Roosevelt’s first cousin, Miss Dorothy Quincy Roosevelt (later Mrs. Langdon Geer).This portrait is stunning and perfectly exemplifies the practices of John White Alexander that put him on the map, not just as a portrait artists but also as a muralist and illustrator.

John White Alexander, Miss Dorothy Quincy Roosevelt (later Mrs. Langdon Geer), 1901-1902, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation in memory of Pauline Gill Sullivan

John White Alexander, Miss Dorothy Quincy Roosevelt (later Mrs. Langdon Geer), 1901-1902, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation in memory of Pauline Gill Sullivan

The American Art Gallery features the finest portraits and decorative arts from the 18th and 19th centuries that America had to offer and is a definite must-see. If you’re yearning for more information, visit the DMA.mobi tour to learn interesting facts about more works in the collection, like John Singleton Copley’s portraits Woodbury Langdon and Sarah Sherburne Langdon. Then don’t forget to check in to the DMA Friends program to get your points!

Maegan Hoffman is Assistant Manager of the DMA Partners Program at the DMA.

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.

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 Athletes in Training

One of my favorite parts of my job is that I get to spend one morning every month talking with our fantastic Gallery Attendants about works in the collection. So far, we have discussed European art, shared Personal Responses to works in the collection, written Facebook profiles for photos in the Cindy Sherman exhibition, and compared three vastly different works in our American collection. Last week, we spent time in The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece: Masterworks from the British Museum.

After looking at the discus thrower, the Gallery Attendants were asked to divide into teams of two. Each team had to select a sport and strike a pose that epitomizes an athlete participating in that sport. The rest of us had to guess which sporting event they were re-creating. Their poses were creative, clever, and funny, and we couldn’t resist sharing them with you!

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Shannon Karol is the Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs 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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