September 7, 2013 |
Horace Pippin deserved better. That's all librarian Christina McCawley and her husband, Dwight, could think of as they pushed away the branches. The West Chester couple had gone in search of the grave site of the self-taught artist whose work hangs on the walls of major museums. On their second visit to Chestnut Grove Annex Cemetery in West Goshen Township, they found Pippin's resting place. It was buried, the couple said, beneath the branches of a tree-size bush that dwarfed McCawley and her husband.
March 3, 1996
A month ago, the Editorial Board inaugurated a new feature, "Working It Out," aimed at resolving knotty community disputes that raise issues resonating far beyond their borders. The ongoing dispute pitting the Barnes Foundation, home of a world-class art collection, against neighbors and the township, couldn't be knottier. The issues raised - How tightly can a township regulate property use? Who decides when public safety is endangered? Who owns great art? - certainly resonate beyond Lower Merion.
June 13, 1993 |
Augustus Vincent Tack (1870-1949) made a distinctive contribution to American art that probably would be forgotten today were it not for the Phillips Collection here. Because founder Duncan Phillips was such a loyal and enthusiastic patron, the Phillips owns the mother lode of Tack's production - 79 paintings and studies for murals in its permanent collection. If you have ever seen one of Tack's visionary abstractions, you almost certainly saw it at the Phillips, the only museum I know that regularly exhibits his paintings.
November 20, 1990 |
Elsie Driggs was painting with the big boys when still lifes and flowers were considered proper subject matter for a girl at the academy. Packing a sketch pad and pencil, she prowled Pittsburgh's gritty steel mills and Henry Ford's River Rouge factory outside Detroit, hunting for images of the new industrial America. She went to Rome, where the art collector Leo Stein, brother of Gertrude, took her under his wing; later, Willem de Kooning tried to draw her into his New York circle. Driggs and Georgia O'Keeffe were contemporaries, rivals for the applause of New York critics after World War I. But while O'Keeffe's reputation continued to blossom, Driggs' wilted, a function of bad luck, a difficult marriage and fickle art collectors who refused to allow her best work to be exhibited.
July 1, 1990 |
Any painter can capture an audience's attention with unconventional subject matter or a radical attack, but it takes an exceptional painter to transform the most ordinary subject matter into singular, compelling pictorial events. In his subject matter, no painter was more ordinary than Edouard Vuillard (1868 to 1940), whose work is currently on view at the Brooklyn Museum. The purview of his art was largely confined to his family home and those of his closest friends; it was an insular, introspective art, populated mainly by women and dominated by his mother.
September 21, 1989 |
A major exhibition of paintings and carvings by Australian aborigines brought this ancient art to public attention last year. Most of the paintings in that show at the Asia Society in New York were on sheets of bark, although some were in a totally contemporary medium, acrylic on canvas. Like the Eskimos, the aborigines learned to make art readily adaptable to Western markets. The Janet Fleisher Gallery has mounted an exhibition of 14 aborigine paintings on canvas, works that convey some of the symbolism and flavor of the culture.
February 5, 1989 |
The paintings of Paul Cezanne have long been considered the foundation of modern art. When we think of Cezanne as the fountainhead of cubism, we think first of his late landscapes, portraits and still lifes, whose intricate structure so readily prefigures that revolutionary aesthetic. On the other hand, Cezanne's early work appears less "modern" because its subject matter is so traditional and eclectic. It includes religious themes, pastoral idylls, expressionistic portraits, Provencal landscapes, and pictures with mythological overtones.
October 2, 1988 |
Alberto Giacometti was 64 years and three months old when he died in a Swiss hospital on Jan. 11, 1966. Had he not chosen to live a life of abnegation, he might have lasted longer. During the 44 years he lived in Paris, the Swiss-born Giacometti never occupied anything that might be considered a home. For more than 38 years, he camped in a tiny studio with outdoor plumbing - little more than a dank, dim hovel, really - where he created some of the most profound sculpture of the 20th century.
July 7, 1988 |
While Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington's new biography of Picasso has been generating media fireworks, a retrospective for Picasso's partner in cubism, Georges Braque, has slipped into town at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Braque may not have been the protean creative force that Picasso was, and his personal life was a model of bourgeois rectitude compared with Picasso's. As a painter, though - that is, as someone whose work embodied painting's loftiest ideals and who remained steadfast in his quest for aesthetic enlightenment - Braque needn't concede Picasso an inch.
March 27, 1988 |
Museum exhibitions are intended to enhance an artist's reputation, but sometimes they inadvertently have exactly the opposite effect. When that happens, one is reminded of the vulnerability of reputations to shifting aesthetic trends and critical values. Take Lee Gatch, for instance. Gatch, who died in 1968 at age 66, reached the pinnacle of his career during the 1950s and early '60s. He was included in the Venice Biennales in 1950 and 1956 and won first prize in the Corcoran Gallery of Art Biennial in 1961.