Friday, December 25, 2009

It's Great To Have One's Painting Hanging in the Corcoran Museum




Here I am in Washington, D.C. with one of my newest oils, currently hanging in the Corcoran Museum of Art. Oh wait, that was my fantasy speaking. This is actually me with one of my all time favorite paintings, Frederick Church's oil of Niagara Falls. Church is a terrific painter but just to my eye he sometimes gets carried away with telling the viewer a little bit too much information. Not so here. He sticks to water and lots of it. What it remarkable is how solid and flowing the water seems at the same time. If nothing else, the painting is a masterpiece of how beautifully the full range of greens can be used. I am just in awe of what the guy pulled off here.


We had gone down to D.C. to see their soon to close John Singer Sargent show. We weren't disappointed though they didn't allow photography in the Sargent galleries (snarling half-starved Dobermans flanked each painting held by equally surly guards, so I didn't test their resolve on this question). But one was free to photograph the rest of the museum. Sargent it struck me was really really good at seeing things in groups. The fellow has a knack for amazing compositions and a sense of movement we can all learn from.


As they have a fabulous collection, there was lots left to shoot other than the Sargents.




Above is my wife Alice checking out her soul sister in this great Winslow Homer painting. She and I were talking about Homer today and she commented how muscular his paintings were.
She meant that in the sense of their simple bold shapes and dramatic contrasts, as well as the fact his fisherwomen were working women with real physical presence and power. Don't cross one of them or you'd likely end up face down in the wet sand. Of course as well as flexed muscle, Homer had an amazingly sensitive eye for shimmering light and the perfectly placed detail.

Below is a just over-the-top gallery of famous American paintings by some of my favorites. At the right on the bottom row is an Abbott Thayer winterscape of Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire. It's got wonderfully varied ideas about what color snow can be. Nearby are goodies by Paxton, Dewing.





And finally here she is with Oscar Bluemner. He's one of her favorite modernists and I can see why. Bluemner always has great tonal contrasts and excellent silhouetted flat shapes to contain his high intensity color. It's a good combination.





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