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Poster for the Universelle Exposition de 1889, Paris

Poster for the Exposition Universelle de 1889, Paris

Just a few days ago, the NBMAA purcahsed a full-scale, life-sized portrait of Emeline Arnold Souther (Mrs. Edmund Charles Tarbell.) Edmund Charles Tarbell painted this masterpiece early on in their relationship, in fact it was painted in the year they were married (1888) right before he became a teacher for several decades at the Boston Museum School. Mrs. T’s elegance and poise are a pristine example of Tarbell’s early career, transitioning from magazine illustrations to portraits. This painting was featured in the notable Exposition Universelle “World’s Fair” of 1889 in Paris. (more…)

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Rembrandt Peale, George Washington, 1824, Oil on canvas, 30 x 25 in.

George Washington, 1824. Rembrandt Peale (1778-1860). Oil on canvas, 30 x 25 in. New Britain Museum of American Art, Gift of Dr. Timothy McLaughlin.

Rembrandt Peale is known for his portraits of George Washington, one of which the New Britain Museum of American Art is delighted to have as a new acquisition this Presidents month. Rembrandt Peale is supposedly the last artist for whom Washington sat shortly preceding his death. Born in 1778 in Pennsylvania to the famous painter Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827), Rembrandt began drawing at age eight. His father tutored him in art and the natural sciences, and he produced his first self-portrait at age thirteen. Peale’s most talented area and source of financial mainstay was painting portraits that were solid, accurate, and straightforward. By 1795, he painted a portrait of George Washington that honestly spoke to the hero’s humanity. Peale greatly admired and was inspired by the work of Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828), who is known for his Vaughan and Athenaeum portraits of the first President. (more…)

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A Caress, 1891. Mary Cassatt (1844-1926). Pastel on paper, 29 1/4 x 23 3/4 in. New Britain Museum of AMerican Art, Harriet Rusell Stanley Fund (1948.14).

On Dec. 18 the New Britain Museum of American Art will open WomenArtists@NewBritainMuseum, a comprehensive exhibition of women artists represented in the permanent collection. This is a first in the Museum’s history and a landmark show that sets it among a group of major international museums—the Musée National d’Art Moderne at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles—that have presented large-scale exhibitions of art by women in the past four years. The Museum of Modern Art just published a 500-page catalogue of women’s work in their collection and the Jewish Museum of New York recently opened an exhibition of feminism and painting drawn primarily from their collection and featuring seven works that they have recently acquired. This sudden flurry of action signals a coming of age for women artists from the perspective of museums. After forty years of political pressure, women’s art has achieved major institutional recognition. (more…)

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Dancing with the Woman in Red, 2008. Kwabena Slaughter. Detail at inch 410. 35mm slide filmstrip on light-box. Collection of the artist.

The photography-based work of NEW/NOW artist Kwabena Slaughter is currently featured in the New Britain Museum of American Art’s Cheney Gallery from Jan. 29 to April 25, 2010.

Popular photographic images bear a strong visual similarity with western painting; Slaughter deconstructs this notion of photography, as well as the structure of the camera, by utilizing an entire roll of film to create one distorted and continuous photograph. He considers cameras and photographs cultural artifacts that reveal a great deal about the society. His work asks: “what would photography look like if it had grown out of a different aesthetic tradition?”

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Shaker Woodenware Sewing Baskets. Pine and Ash with Silk, Wax, and Poplar. 9 x 12.5 x 7 in. Miller Collection.

Inspired Innovations: A Celebration of Shaker Ingenuity is currently on view in the McKernan Gallery showcasing beautifully hand-crafted furniture, inventions and artifacts from the Shaker community.

Curated by West Hartford, Connecticut Shaker scholar and collector M.  Stephen Miller, Inspired Innovations seeks to raise awareness about the Shakers, who have successfully faced more than 220 years of challenges. Emphasis will be placed on the community that existed in Enfield, Connecticut from 1790 to 1917. (more…)

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Following a national competition for the honor, artist Lisa Hoke of New York City was commissioned to create a new installation for the NBMAA at the top of the LeWitt Staircase leading from the first to second floor of the Museum.

The Gravity of Color, New Britain, 2008. Lisa Hoke. Plastic and Paper cups, paint and hardware. Stephen B. Lawrence Fund and the Edwin Austin Abbey Mural Fund of the National Academy of Design.

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The exhibition includes approximately 20 paintings and drawings on loan from museums from across the country as well as the NBMAA’s own Haberle paintings. In addition to the works of art, the NBMAA has borrowed a myraid of Haberle’s personal effects and letters (many reproduced in the paintings themselves) from the Haberle Family. John Haberle: American Master of Illusion will travel to the Brandywine River Museum, in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, from April 17, 2010 through July 11, 2010 and the Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine from Sept. 18, 2010 through Dec. 12, 2010.

(more…)

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