March 8, 2011 |
Maybe it shouldn't be a surprise that a masterpiece in the basement goes unnoticed for more than half a century. It is a wonder, however, when a neglected nothing, a dirty ragamuffin of a painting, is suddenly noticed amid a quarter-million stored confreres - is pulled out, looked at, looked at more closely, and finally recognized for what it really is beneath the soot, the grime, the clouded varnish: a treasure. This is precisely what happened with George Inness' 1851 landscape Twilight on the Campagna , acquired by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1945 as part of a bequest from Judge Alex Simpson Jr., then shipped to storage Siberia in the early 1950s.
October 24, 2010 |
Visitors to the Barnes Foundation eventually discover that there's much more to its extraordinary display than its renowned groups of impressionist, postimpressionist, and early modern paintings. There is, for instance, a sizable body of American art that accounts for about a quarter of the works installed in the Merion galleries. One room, Gallery 12, is devoted entirely to the American artists Albert C. Barnes knew and collected in depth. Despite this, and the fact that at least two American works hang in each gallery, in the public's perception the American artists continue to be eclipsed by European stars such as Renoir, Cezanne, Picasso, and Matisse.
March 12, 2010 |
An oil painting by the leader of the Scalp Level School, a southwestern Pennsylvania art colony that predated the Brandywine and Bucks County impressionists, will be for sale this afternoon. Alderfer Auction and Appraisal's sale in Hatfield will offer 200 lots of American and European paintings, including the oil by George Hetzel, probably the best-known artist southwestern Pennsylvania had produced until the advent of Andy Warhol. The Scalp Level School took its name from its location, a once bucolic town southeast of Johnstown where around 1830 an art gallery opened that became a nucleus for area artists.
February 14, 2010 |
John Walker McCoubrey, 86, an emeritus professor in the department of art history at the University of Pennsylvania, died of kidney failure Tuesday at his home in University City. Dr. McCoubrey was awarded a Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching just four years after joining Penn's faculty in 1964. That same year he received a Guggenheim Fellowship to study in London. He had previously studied in Paris on a Fulbright Fellowship. He was also recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
February 5, 2010 |
Black History Month will be marked Feb. 23 in New York with a major sale of works by African American artists, including several with Philadelphia ties. But earlier there will be another auction of local historic significance: the liquidation of Richman's Ice Cream in South Jersey's Salem County. The company's huge white art deco building near the intersection of Route 40 and Kings Highway, a few miles east of the Delaware Memorial Bridge, had long been not only a landmark but also a mecca for motorists who would go there to get the freshly produced ice cream that was distributed throughout the region.
November 14, 2009 |
Si Lewen begins his paintings as he sleeps. Images crowd his dreams until one rises above the rest to wake him and beg to be put on canvas. Lewen always obliges. "My art is my life, my world," he said from the Foulkeways at Gwynedd apartment he shares with his wife, Rennie. They moved there from New Paltz, N.Y., two years ago to be near their daughter, Nina Kardon, and her family, who live in Ambler. Lewen - whose work once was exhibited in the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and galleries in New York and around the country - has been painting for most of his 91 years.
October 2, 2009 |
While Freeman's will be busy next week with a two-day catalog sale of fine English and Continental furniture, silver, and decorative arts, a catalog sale in New York will focus on an African American painter who developed his skills in Philadelphia, Barkley L. Hendricks. Hendricks will be represented Thursday in Swann Auction Galleries' sale of African American fine art. Born here in 1945, Hendricks is an alumnus of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Yale University, and is a professor of art at Connecticut College.
September 21, 2009 |
The spirit of Thomas Eakins spoke of his evolution as an artist at a lecture yesterday at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The great Philadelphia artist, who died in 1916, spoke through historian and actor Christian Johnson, who presented a dramatic reading of a selection of Eakins' letters for an enthusiastic audience 100-strong. "I would like to thank the Woodlands Cemetery Association for letting me come here," Johnson-Eakins joked, referring to the cemetery in West Philly where the artist is buried.
June 19, 2009 |
This review originally appeared in March during coverage of the Philadelphia Film Festival and Philadelphia Cinefest 09. During the 1960s and 1970s, when American art was, for many, indecipherable, an unassuming New York couple named Herb and Dorothy Vogel cracked the code. The postal clerk (Herb) and librarian (Dorothy) were after-hours artists, admirers of abstract expressionists and color-field painters. On their modest salaries, they couldn't afford to buy works by Jackson Pollock or Helen Frankenthaler.