Whether you’ll be on a beach or in the air-conditioned comfort of your home, get some inspiration from works in the DMA’s collection and dive into a good book this spring and summer. In addition, don’t miss the upcoming DMA Arts & Letters Live authors appearing at the Museum through July.
(left) Miguel Cabrera, Saint Gertrude (Santa Gertrudis), 1763, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Laura and Daniel D. Boeckman in honor of Dr. William Rudolph; (right) The Sisterhood book jacket, source: Amazon.com
Saint Gertrude the Great (1256–1301 or 1302) was a German Benedictine nun and a prolific mystic writer. The artist, Miguel Cabrera, is considered one of the greatest 18th-century Mexican painters. Saint Gertrude is sure to enjoy The Sisterhood by Helen Bryan. In this beautifully written novel, a woman’s journey to finish her thesis shifts as she uncovers biblical and art historical secrets that stretch back to the Spanish Inquisition.
(left) Mary Cassatt, The Reading Lesson, c. 1901, oil on canvas, lent by the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation; (right) The Book with No Pictures book jacket, source: EmntertainmentMonthly.com
Mary Cassatt’s The Reading Lesson looks like a peaceful reading scene between a woman and a young child. Perhaps they need a little more excitement, and Arts & Letters Live alum B. J. Novak has just the book for that! The Book with No Pictures encourages the reader to read every word, even if it’s silly or loud!
(left) Vessel (itinate), Nigeria, Lower Gongola River Valley, Cham or Mwona peoples, early 20th century, terracotta, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of The Cecil and Ida Green Foundation; (right) Half of a Yellow Sun book jacket , source: Mr. Kew blog
This vessel from the early 20th century, featuring a stylized female figure, was traditionally used in divination and healing rituals among the diverse peoples in the Lower Gongola River Valley in northeast Nigeria. This figure, were she to come alive, might be interested in reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Half of a Yellow Sun, which narrates the story of five individuals whose lives were dramatically altered by the Nigerian Civil War (1967-70).
(left) Pablo Picasso, Bust, 1907-08, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of Joshua L. Logan, Loula D. Lasker, Ruth and Nathan Cummings Art Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Edward S. Marcus, Sarah Dorsey Hudson, Mrs. Alfred L. Bromberg, Henry Jacobus, and an anonymous donor, by exchange © Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; (right) Middlesex book jacket, source: Amazon.com
Picasso’s Bust, with its ambiguous gender and powerfully defined lines, would be enthralled by Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex. This bestselling novel, featuring an intersex main character, explores the theme of identity and the many forms that it can take.
(left) Fernand Léger, The Divers (Red and Black), 1942, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the James H. and Lillian Clark Foundation, © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris; (right) Mrs Dalloway book jacket, Source: penguin.com.au
Fernand Léger’s The Divers shows many different views of a body as it moves and dances throughout space. What better way to explore Léger’s modernist art theories than to enjoy Virginia Woolf’s modernist writing? Set during a single June day in London, a memorable event ties multiple characters together in this mid-20th-century masterpiece.
(left) François Auguste Biard, Seasickness on an English Corvette, 1857, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of J. E. R. Chilton; (right) Paris: The Novel book jacket, Source: Amazon.com
Seasickness on an English Corvette depicts travelers, bound for France, crossing the English Channel. The woman in the middle is clearly entranced by her book, which might be Paris, written by Edward Rutherfurd. This epic narrative of the City of Lights introduces a cast of characters whose fates have been intertwined since the Middle Ages.
Madeleine Fitzgerald is the Audience Relations Coordinator, Education, and Taylor Jeromos is the McDermott Education Intern for Adult Programming and Arts & Letters Live at the DMA.