Quick Visit to the Baltimore Museum of Art
Thomas Wilmer Dewing. Lady with a Fan, oil, 1911
My wife Alice and I took a break yesterday and spent an hour at our Baltimore Museum of Art. I hadn't been to the BMA's galleries in months as last winter and spring I was busy in my studio finishing up paintings for Burchfield Penney Art Center's current exhibition of my work in Buffalo, NY (thru July 29). As our time was limited we headed to see some of our old friends.
Above is one of those distinctive and ever so slightly weird painters who I love. Thomas Dewing delighted in painting languorous women in expensive gowns. They seem wraith-like and lost in a world a bit removed from our own. Fortunately Dewing was a master at posing his sitters and their gowns to generate fascinating silhouetted forms. I always get a sense that there's a mist in the rooms he painted, but it heightens the pensive mood he creates.
Speaking of mist and atmosphere, how about this John Kennett painting below.
John Frederick Kennett, View of the Hudson, 1865
I fell in love with Kennett when I was in graduate school getting my MFA in painting at Indiana University. The art museum there was kind enough to let me copy the Kennett in their collection in oil with my easel set up right in their gallery.
Kennett could paint air that was crisp and clear. Often his paintings have a brightness and lightness that's a little unusual among his 19th century peers. This painting uses the artist's exceptional sensitivity to create a mist-filled atmosphere. It's a little more somber than many of his paintings but does a marvelous job knitting together the land and the sky.
Surely one of the oddest paintings in the Museum's collection is this Walt Kuhn oil.
Walt Kuhn, Three Cornered Hat, oil, 1943.
Kuhn usually has a more straightforward and empathetic response to his sitters. To me this painting suggests he also had a sense of humor.
My wife Alice always does backflips when she sees this one. Vedder had a love of the unusual and mystical themes.
Elihu Vedder, The Sorrowing Soul Between Doubt and Faith,
I always give the Baltimore Museum credit for getting their hands on some powerful Rockwell Kent paintings and showing them often. This is a self portrait Kent made of himself and his sled dogs painting outside in frozen Greenland. It's one of Kent's most exuberant paintings and in my opinion one of his best.
Me with Rockwell Kent, Artist in Greenland, oil, 1935-60
In other news:
I just brought two new oils in to my framer this week. The white color of the sands of Cape Cod's dunes is fascinating. It's fun to paint it again. Both paintings will be headed up to Cape Cod to Addison Art Gallery in Orleans, MA.
Philip Koch, Dunes: Early Fall, oil on panel, 14 x 21 inches, 2018
Philip Koch, Cape Dunes, oil on canvas, 16 x 32 inches, 2018
Addison Art Gallery has organized several events around my paintings for this summer:
- Wed. Aug. 15, 6:30 - 8;30 p.m. Wine and Dine with Philip Koch, a ticketed dinner, art and music event at Truro Vineyards
-Fri. Aug. 17, 7-8 p.m. Edward Hopper's Legacy on Cape Cod: An Illustrated Talk by Philip Koch, Wellfleet Public Library
-Sat. Aug. 18, 4-5 p.m. Philip Koch painting demonstration at Addison Art Gallery