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Archive for the ‘Connecticut Ties’ Category

This post comes to us from artist and NBMAA docent Ronald Abbe.

Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2, 1912 by Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) was among the most radical works exhibited at the 1913 Armory Show. Oil on canvas, 57 7/8 x 35 1/8 in. Philadelphia Museum of Art.

One hundred years ago New Yorkers reacted with shock and awe to the Armory Show of 1913. This was their first encounter with European modernism as represented most notably by Picasso and Matisse.  When the show moved on to Boston and Chicago the reception slipped to actual dismay.  Students at the Art Institute of Chicago burned paintings by Matisse (in effigy).

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This post comes to us from Carolyn Nims, Education Assistant. 

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Brown Gillespie (b. 1953), Milky Way, 2011, Wood, custom programmed LEDs, acrylic on canvas, 53 x 50 in. New Britain Museum of American Art, Gift of Mary Gillespie.

Brown Gillespie (b. 1953), Milky Way, 2011, Wood, custom programmed LEDs, acrylic on canvas, 53 x 50 in. New Britain Museum of American Art, Gift of Mary Gillespie.

Milky Way (2010) is part of Brown Gillespie’s ongoing project, Light Visions. This cutting edge contemporary artwork consists of an abstract acrylic painting on canvas recessed in a frame set with light emitting diode (LED) lights all along the inside. The LED lights are a continuous alternating series of red, green, and blue, which are programmed to fade in and out in varying patterns and combinations. The effects are visually and intellectually stimulating. As the lighting color combinations change, so do the colors of the acrylic painting. Usually, when viewing a painting under white light, the color of the paint is static. We assume that once a pigment is set, so is the color. We consider color as a constant within a work of art, while other aspects are more subjective. However, the LED lights play with color mixing principles to show how mutable color can be, in relation to light and other colors. The viewer may wonder, Why do these colors change? This artwork bids us to question the rules that govern color, making it worthwhile to be at least familiar with some color theory, in particular the color mixing principles that Gillespie plays with.

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This post comes to us from Gina Ciralli, Curatorial Intern.

Church at Old Lyme, 1905. Frederick Childe Hassam (1859-1935). Oil on canvas, 35 1/2 x 32 1/4 in. Abright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY.

“What he loved best were the pastures of Southern New England in the later autumn after the deciduous trees had shed their leaves and great white oaks and graceful birches stood singly or in groups on gently rolling meadows or moorlands with here and there a glacial boulder or granite ledge out-cropping above the soil.” – Artist Nelson C. White about his father Henry C. White, 1954

Nelson Holbrook White’s (b. 1932) survey exhibition Scenic Spirit is currently on display at the New Britain Museum of American Art.  Nelson’s grandfather, Henry Cooke White (1861-1952) was an acclaimed American painter and member of one of America’s most distinguished art colonies in Old Lyme, Connecticut.  From Frederick Childe Hassam (1859-1935) to Willard L. Metcalf (1858-1925), the colony comprised upwards of 200 artists during its three decades of creating nature-based scenes in oils and pastels.  Inspired by French artists Claude Monet (1840-1926) and Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), the colony defined American Impressionism by commemorating the tranquil aspects of rural New England life through use of vibrant palettes and broken strokes on wood and canvas.

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This post comes to us from Gina Ciralli, Curatorial Intern.

Self-Portrait, 2011. Nelson H. White (b.1932) Oil on canvas, 12” x 16”. Collection of the artist.

Nelson Holbrook White, contemporary realist and Connecticut native, has built his career on painting majestic landscapes.  Inspired by a life of travel, White is best known for his beach and shore oil paintings.  His survey exhibition, Scenic Spirit, is on view in the Davis gallery.

Born in New London, Connecticut in 1932 to a family of successful American artists, Nelson first studied art with his father, Nelson Cooke White (1900-1989), and grandfather, Henry Cooke White (1861-1952).  Carefully coached on aesthetics, young Nelson learned the significance of half-tones, which characterize the work his grandfather’s mentor, Dwight W. Tryon (1849-1925).  He was additionally introduced to an array of classical realists including R. H. Ives Gammell (1893-1981) and Richard Lack (1928-2009) through his family connections.  In 1954, a visit to Florence, Italy prompted a friendship and mentorship that would forever impact White’s emerging style.

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The New Britain Museum of American Art offers members and guests the opportunity to sign up for an “Art Pass” for the Connecticut Art Trail, which provides admission to 15 prominent Connecticut museums for only $25. It includes museums from all over Connecticut such as the Yale University Art Gallery, Bruce Museum, Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, and the Wadsworth Atheneum, among others. For guests who like to travel and who, presumably, love art, this would be a great way to spend a vacation. Along with surveying a number of exceptional museums, pass holders also get a chance to explore all the different regions of Connecticut. The Connecticut Art Trail website also offers several other packages for museums in each separate region, covering meals and transportation as well. (more…)

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The William Benton Museum of Art at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, has placed on long term loan to the New Britain Museum of American Art 30 masterpieces by American artists from the early 19th century to the present. These paintings, which are seldom seen at Storrs because of lack of gallery space, include such significant artists as Benjamin West, Rembrandt Peale, Dwight Tryon, Robert Henri, George Bellows, Walt Kuhn, Max Weber and Jimmy Ernst. Also included is a major triptych by the leading woman illustrator of the 20th century Violet Oakley.

Venus Admonishing Cupid, n.d. Benjamin West (1738-1820). Oil on Canvas, 37 ½ x 32 ¼ in. The William Benton Museum of Art, Gift of Helen Benton Boley, 1971.17.

The paintings are located in 10 galleries throughout the NBMAA and are identified by a “Best of the Benton” icon on their object labels. The Oakley for example is located in the Museum’s Low Illustration Gallery. An explanatory guide will be available to visitors at the front desk as well.

Over the next year, programs will be developed incorporating this significant loan in the public activities of the Museum. A reception will be held in honor of President Michael J. Hogan, Dean David G. Woods, School of Fine Arts and the director of the Benton Museum, Dr. Thomas Bruhn, date to be determined. (more…)

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