October 29, 2015 |
It's fitting that the Philadelphia Museum of Art should open its new, gorge-your-eyes exhibit on American still life now, as America lays in for Thanksgiving. Ripe abundance and unbridled consumption are two themes in the surprisingly gorgeous feast of American plenty. Posh flowers overspill their vases, mouthwatering fruits overflow their bowls, exotic and domestic animals (including a showstopping house cat) abound. The 175-year retrospective, "Audubon to Warhol: The Art of American Still Life," even starts on a peep-show note, with Philly master Raphaelle Peale's "Venus Rising from the Sea - A Deception.
October 23, 2015 |
Earlier this year, Philadelphia Museum of Art curator Mark Mitchell called art consultant Nan Chisholm to ask a favor: that she persuade a client to lend a painting for "Audubon to Warhol: The Art of American Still Life," the major survey exhibition set to open Tuesday. To add weight to his request, he listed the impressive works he already had secured - particularly those by the Peales, America's first family of still-life painters. There was The Peale Family , a masterpiece begun in 1773 by Charles Willson Peale, patriarch of the Philadelphia clan, and iconic works by sons Rembrandt and Raphaelle.
February 24, 2014 |
Since seeing Mia Rosenthal's first show of drawings at Gallery Joe two years ago, I've occasionally wondered what she would do for her next solo exhibition there. Would she again develop an idea into one disciplined, project-like body of work, as she had done so nicely in her conceptual revisions of views depicted in well-known Hudson River School paintings? Or would she explore several directions at once, something she seemed eminently capable of doing? It's turned out to be the latter, exhilaratingly so. Rosenthal's familiar crisp, tiny renderings of flora and fauna in black ink on white paper - crowded together, yet each taking up the perfect amount of space; doodlelike, yet orderly - have been deployed in only two drawings in this large show (she has the entire gallery)
January 29, 2014 |
One hundred years ago, a bird named Martha made history with one simple, inevitable act: She died. She was the planet's lone remaining passenger pigeon. Her death on Sept. 1, 1914, marked a rare instance when the exact date of an extinction is known. (Although, in truth, some accounts put her demise a day or two earlier.) How a species that numbered in the billions - once North America's most abundant bird - can disappear in a matter of decades is a sad story of "deliberate, wanton, and direct human actions," said Joel Greenberg, a Chicago author and natural history researcher.
January 27, 2014 |
Elke M. Shihadeh, 78, of Ardmore, an expert in the art of hand bookbinding and historic-document restoration, died of pneumonia Wednesday, Jan. 15, at home. The former Elke Nissen practiced the highly specialized craft of restoring rare books with her husband, Fred H. Shihadeh, from her early 20s into her 70s. Mrs. Shihadeh had a special expertise in the restoration of damaged papers of historical significance. She personally restored the broadsides announcing the Declaration of Independence.
October 28, 2012 |
As seen in his book, Gomorrah Girl , published by Cross Editions in 2011, Valerio Spada's documentary photographs of adolescents navigating Naples' crime-ridden streets were striking enough to win him Blurb's 2011 Photography Book Now grand prize for best book of the year. As large prints displayed on the walls of the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, where Spada is exhibiting them for the first time, they're less obviously tied to the book's narrative, which makes them even more powerful.
November 30, 2011 |
At 3:15 p.m., Bridget Clancy's big moment had come. The librarian slipped on white cotton gloves and eased open the glass lid. Underneath was a massive book that is considered one of the great works of American scientific art, John James Audubon's Birds of America . At the moment, the page showed spotted sandpipers. But a new page was about to be revealed. Buckingham Palace has its changing of the guard. On weekdays, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University has its turning of the page.
November 18, 2011
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway 215-299-1000 www.ansp.org Hours: 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Audubon pages turned at 3:15 p.m. weekdays. Admission: $12; $10 ages 3-12, seniors, college students and military personnel; children under 3, free. Additional $2 for "Butterflies!" John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove 1201 Pawlings Road Audubon, Pa. 610-666-5593, http://pa.audubon.org/ centers_mill_grove.html Hours: Museum, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 1-4 p.m. Sunday.
November 18, 2011 |
IN THE SPRING of 1824, John James Audubon arrived in Philadelphia. He came from New Orleans in search of a publisher for his illustrations of America's birds. The artist found fans in the city, but no engraver willing to undertake the project. Audubon had also been nominated for membership in the Academy of Natural Sciences, the nation's pre-eminent scientific body of the time. He was rejected. What a difference 183 years make. Audubon eventually found a publisher in Europe, and the drawings he brought to Philadelphia were collected as The Birds of America . These images are now among the most famous and valuable works of American art. Today, The Birds of America , bound in five volumes, occupies a prominent place in the academy's library as one of fewer than 120 intact editions that remain from the original 200 Audubon made.
July 30, 2010 |
For more than half a century, scholars and biographers of famed bird artist and ornithologist John James Audubon had been stumped. In an 1824 diary entry, the young French immigrant, who lived for several years at Mill Grove in Montgomery County, mentioned that he had given a drawing of a running grouse to a Philadelphia engraver for use on a New Jersey banknote. It would have been a key moment - the first published illustration for the struggling artist, then 29 years old. But if so, where was it?