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NBMAA Caption Contest

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This August, we’re challenging our visitors and readers to submit a creative caption

for Lulu Delacre’s illustration for Senor Cat’s Romance. Fill out a caption card and drop it in the box hanging in the gallery or simply write in the comment section below. Don’t forget to leave us your contact information so we can send you a free 

year-long family membership if you are the winner. Take a look below to see who you’re up against!

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The Blasted Tree

This post comes to us from Rena Tobey, Curatorial Intern.

The long summer days are here, and your thoughts may have turned to spending some time in nature, sketchbook in hand.  Another alternative is to visit the Henry & Sharon Martin Gallery at the Museum.  Here, you can immerse in nature as close by as New Haven and as far away as the California.

In the 1800s, the Hudson River School artists traveled to their favorite scenic spots in the Catskill, Adirondack Mountains and beyond, seeking out the same scenery we enjoy today.  Over the winter months in their studios, they transformed their sketches into luminous landscapes that had come to represent America and its abundant natural resources.

Thomas Cole, the founding father of the Hudson River School, imbues the land with even more power.  He inserted symbols and figures that represented philosophical ideas he hoped would sway his viewers’ beliefs and actions.

Cole came to the United States at 17 from industrialized England.  He knew first-hand how modernization and urbanization could devastate open space and pollute cities.  When he made his first trip up New York’s Hudson River in 1825, he was awed by the vast beauty of the land that was on the cusp of change.  He believed Americans were at a decision-point.  What would the future be like in this land?

What the artist actually saw and what he chose to paint present the different choices.  In 1807, the steamboat was invented, changing the navigation of rivers.  Now, timetables, not the wind and tides, dictated travel.  Maybe you’ve taken a daytrip during the weekend to break the routine of your life.  Two hundred years ago, people were no different.  They seized the opportunity to get out of New York City and into nature—for a picnic, a stroll in the woods—and still get back home the same day.

The Clove, Catskills, 1826.  Thomas Cole (1801-1848).  Oil on canvas, 25 ¼ x 35 1/8 in.  Charles F. Smith Fund, 1945.22.

Thomas Cole (1801-1848), The Clove, Catskills, 1826, Oil on canvas, 25 ¼ x 35 1/8 in. Charles F. Smith Fund, 1945.22.

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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 Sarah Solberg, Curatorial Intern

“Everything vanishes, falls apart doesn’t it? Nature is always the same but nothing in her that appears to us lasts. Our art must render the thrill of her permanence, along with her elements, the appearance of all her changes. It must give us a taste of her eternity.”

– Paul Cézanne

Jane Bunker (b. 1945) Illumination, ca. 2012. Oil on canvas, 72 in. x 60 in. Collection of the artist

Jane Bunker (b. 1945)
Illumination, ca. 2012. Oil on canvas, 72 in. x 60 in.
Collection of the artist

When viewing Jane Bunker’s work, you are given the opportunity to share in the way that she and many others experience the world around them. Bunker was diagnosed as a child with myopia, or (plainly) extreme nearsightedness. Although her vision has been corrected, it still deeply influences her work and the way that she sees her surroundings. Having personal experience with myopia, I can attest that she has captured the distorted world where I find myself every time that I remove my glasses. Sharing in her experience, I immediately connected with her work. Continue Reading »

NBMAA Caption Contest

NC WyethThis July, we’re challenging our visitors and readers to submit a creative caption for N.C. Wyeth’s illustration for Treasure Island. Fill out a caption card and drop it in the box hanging next to the painting or simply write in the comment section below. Don’t forget to leave us your contact information so we can send you a free year-long family membership if you are the winner. Take a look below to see who you’re up against!

Continue Reading »

This post comes to us from Emily Sesko, Curatorial Intern

Down comes Norman Rockwell, and up goes Pinocchio.

Walt Disney, Scene from Pinocchio, 1939, for the film Pinocchio, 1940, Celluloid painting (animation cel), Bequest of Helen Vibberts, 2008.88 LIC

Walt Disney, Scene from Pinocchio, 1939, for the film Pinocchio, 1940, Celluloid painting (animation cel), Bequest of Helen Vibberts, 2008.88 LIC

Beginning this week, kids rule! Visitors have a chance to catch a glimpse of an original animation cel from Disney’s 1940 film with our newly-installed show from the Low Illustration Collection, featuring illustrations, covers, and much, much more from publications intended for young readers. Gracing the walls in the Low Illustration Gallery now are some old favorites (like Mickey and Minnie, and a photograph from Walter Wick’s I Spy series) and some new friends, including seven illustrations by Nicholas Napoletano for a children’s book in the works by our very own Director Douglas Hyland. Continue Reading »

An Abundant Nation

This post comes to us from Rena Tobey, Curatorial Intern.

Abundance of Fruit, 1860.  Severin Roesen (ca. 1815-ca. 1872).  Oil on panel.  Long-term loan from the Jack and Susan Warner Collection, 2011.115LTL.

Abundance of Fruit, 1860. Severin Roesen (ca. 1815-ca. 1872). Oil on panel. Long-term loan from the Jack and Susan Warner Collection, 2011.115LTL.

Severin Roesen gives us a wonderful July 4th holiday gift with Abundance of Fruit, as beautiful, succulent, and enticing today as it was in 1860 when it was painted.

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This post comes to us from Rena Tobey, Curatorial Intern.

Who wouldn’t want to know what the future holds?

Reading Tea Leaves, 1906.  Harry Herman Roseland (c.1867—1950).  Oil on canvas, 10 1/8 x 14 ¼ in.  Gift of Mrs. Valentine B. Chamberlain, 2000.87.

Reading Tea Leaves, 1906. Harry Herman Roseland (c.1867—1950). Oil on canvas, 10 1/8 x 14 ¼ in. Gift of Mrs. Valentine B. Chamberlain, 2000.87.

Over one hundred years ago, artist Harry Roseland tapped into that same yearning with a series of works he painted from 1890 to 1910 of tea leaf and palm readers.  Reading Tea Leaves from 1906, a gem in the NBMAA collection, represents this series perfectly.  You’ll find the painting in the Johnson gallery on the first floor.  Even though it’s a small work, we think you’ll be drawn right in to its story. Continue Reading »

This post comes to us from Pat Hickox, Docent.

Clara Driscoll in work room at Tiffany Studios with Joseph Briggs, 1901. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. (Thanks to Ms. Vreeland’s website above)

Clara Driscoll in work room at Tiffany Studios with Joseph Briggs, 1901. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. (Thanks to Ms. Vreeland’s website above)

I write to you as a woman, lover of art, and a docent @ NBMAA.  With the May 24th opening of “The Brilliance of Louis Comfort Tiffany: Painter and Craftsman” in the NBMAA McKernan Gallery, I will be eager to see Mr. Tiffany’s work.  However, I will also be interested to see if there is any reference to the women who worked within his studio in the late 1800’s.

Months ago anticipating this incoming exhibition, the Arts and Literature program @ NBMAA read a novel by author Susan Vreeland titled Clara and Mr. Tiffany (ask for it at the NBMAA gift shop).  Working with Heather Whitehouse, Associate Curator of Education, I developed a power point presentation regarding this interesting relationship to complement her discussion.

Thanks to Ms. Vreeland’s book and extensive web site www.svreeland.com/tiff.html, I was led into the fascinating world of women  in New York City  in the late 1900’s , as well as the newly emerging field of women in the industrial arts.  Her novel came about after much research and contacts with the New York Historical Society (www.nyhistory.org). Continue Reading »

Skylar Hughes, Hem and Leaf and Branch and Bone, Oil on Canvas, 14 x 14 in, 2012, Collection of the artist

Skylar Hughes, Hem and Leaf and Branch and Bone, Oil on Canvas, 14 x 14 in, 2012, Collection of the artist

For the purpose of these interrogations, the Museum has developed a series of questions for exhibiting contemporary artists in an attempt to enliven and explore the discourse between the artist and the institution – with specific focus on site, interpretation, relevance, process, and sources.

Skylar Hughes investigates relationships, associations, and the artistic process in the paintings and collages on display in One Big Gust of Wind. The works hover on the edge between abstraction and representation, the familiar and the unrecognizable, and conscious and unconscious painterly gesture. One Big Gust of Wind will be exhibited from June 15 through September 15, 2013 at the New Britain Museum. Please join us for the opening reception on Sunday, June 16 from 3-4:30 p.m., with remarks at 3:30 p.m. Continue Reading »