Sep 19, 2013
07:51 AM
Arts & Entertainment

Connecticut Impressionists & Much More in Exciting Show at University of Saint Joseph

Connecticut Impressionists & Much More in Exciting Show at University of Saint Joseph

Bruce Crane (1875-1937) A Day in June. Oil on canvas. Lent by James B. Lyon. Art Gallery, University of Saint Joseph, West Hartford, Connecticut.

What promises to be one of the best exhibits of the fall season for art lovers longing to see images that are fresh to the eye, and works by big talents next to works by big names (not short on talent), opened Thursday evening with a reception at the Art Gallery at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford.

The show, which runs through Dec. 15, is entitled “Objects of Our Affection II,” and it gathers together 61 works—mostly paintings and works on paper but also some small sculptures—that come from the private collections of members of the Saint Joseph community.

Those patrons range widely from artists themselves to faculty and staff members, donors to the gallery, and those who are part of the gallery’s membership organization, or the gallery’s advisory committee, including a couple of university trustees.

As a result, the works in the show also range widely in terms of period, scale and style—but all share a hallmark that will make this show so compelling; while the works are as distinguished as anything curated by a major metropolitan museum, they are not pieces that feel too familiar because you’ve seen them (exhibited or reproduced) so often.

This show, as a release explains, includes the delicate portrait miniatures on ivory painted by Elsie Dodge Pattee and also a monumental watercolor on paper by Richard Yarde. It also includes among its etchings and lithographs landscapes by James Abbott McNeill Whistler and Louis Lozowick, as well as contemporary artist Miriam Schapiro’s homage to Frida Kahlo, who is also represented in the exhibition with a striking surrealist drawing.

That latter pairing is one cited by art gallery Director and Curator Ann H. Sievers when she mentions that “there are some interesting groupings” in the show. Schapiro did a number of works in which she re-presents an artist who inspired her, Sievers said in citing one artistic dialogue embodied by the show—an element that makes it perfect in an academic setting, where visual and intellectual interplay goes to one core issue of learning.

Miriam Schapiro (b. 1923) Frida and Me, 1990.  Lithograph, photolithograph, chine collé. Lent by Sonja Hansard-Weiner and Andrew D. Weiner, Spaightwood Galleries, Upton, MA. Art Gallery, University of Saint Joseph, West Hartford, Connecticut.

A number of portraits of artists are included, which creates another type of dialogue, and, Sievers said, several of the contemporary works, including those of Richard Yarde, Ann McCoy and Robert J. Kirschbaum, have a unifying “element of spirituality,” though stylistically they are very different.

While visitors to the exhibit will see a number of works that will surely be unfamiliar, the show will also delight viewers with the familiar scenes favored by the Connecticut Impressionist and Tonalist painters, and the works on display include paintings by John Henry Twachtman, Bruce Crane and Henry Ward Ranger.

Another highlight of the show is a series of Ashcan School paintings that come from the collection of artist Ken Ratner, culled from works that are on long-term loan to the gallery.

In terms of more contemporary artists whose names are widely known, the exhibit includes works by Elaine De Kooning, Sol LeWitt, Joan Mitchell, Sylvia Plimack Mangold and Cleve Gray.

The title of the exhibit, “Objects of Our Affection II,” indicates that the show is a sequel, and the initial show was presented in 2004. The new exhibit includes works lent by a number of new donors and collectors who have become affiliated with the gallery since then, and while it incorporates collectors who participated in the first show, none of the works presented is a repeat.

“We’re still scratching the surface of what’s out there,” said Sievers, suggesting it’s possible that there will be an “Objects of Our Affection III” in a few years.

Meanwhile, make sure to enjoy this show.

To learn more or make plans to visit the art gallery see the website. The phone number is 860-231-5399.

Below, Cleve Gray (1918-2004) Demeter, 1966. Oil on canvas. Lent by George Lechner. Art Gallery, University of Saint Joseph, West Hartford, Connecticut.

As for more details on the gallery, Sievers’ welcome message on the website says:

“The Art Gallery at University of Saint Joseph was opened in 2001 to house the University's distinguished collection of fine art. The nucleus of this collection was donated to the University on the occasion of its fifth anniversary, in 1937, by the Reverend Andrew J. Kelly, and was augmented by a major bequest from the Reverend John J. Kelley in 1966. Since then, the collection has grown to over 2,000 objects with particular strength in American paintings of the early 20th century, including works by Thomas Hart Benton, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Milton Avery, and European and American prints from the 15th century to the present, including works by Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt, George Bellows, and Childe Hassam.”

And the note on the collection says:

The Art Gallery at University of Saint Joseph was opened in 2001 to house the University's distinguished collection of fine art. The nucleus of this collection was donated to the University on the occasion of its fifth anniversary, in 1937, by the Reverend Andrew J. Kelly, and was augmented by a major bequest from the Reverend John J. Kelley in 1966. Since then, the collection has grown to over 2,000 objects with particular strength in American paintings of the early 20th century, including works by Thomas Hart Benton, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Milton Avery, and European and American prints from the 15th century to the present, including works by Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt, George Bellows, and Childe Hassam.

Connecticut Impressionists & Much More in Exciting Show at University of Saint Joseph

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