AT LAST THE MONK MAKES AN APPEARANCE AT THE ADDISON
Signed American Oil O/C Winter Landscape Painting (<<< please click here to see it framed)
See Tonalist exhibit ending 1/4/15 update below...
Exactly a year to the date, this agoraphobic winter germaphobe made another attempt to visit with the elusive: The Monk (1873) on exhibit at The Addison Gallery of American Art on the grounds of nearby Phillips Academy Andover.
This time it was not a gloomy New England day (see blog below dated March 8, 2013), but a glorious, sunny, balmy 48 degree day that brought New Englanders out in droves, some in bermuda shorts and eating ice cream no less, during a momentary reprieve from the multi feet snow days we have endured this winter.
Unable to wait and feast my eyes, after years of waiting to view the aforementioned George Inness's moody painting...the "Whistler - An American in London" exhibit downstairs was skipped for later viewing. The Monk was waiting!
The trip upstairs seemed to take forever. After the elevator doors opened, standing there in the hall, The Monk could be seen holding court on the far back wall. While standing there taking in the view from afar, it was as if Etta James suddenly strolled into my chochlea and began belting out: "At Last..."! Not being fully familiar with the lyrics, it was the first two words and the last few that made sense to me.
Thank you, thank you, thank you Dr. Allen, what a parting gift you left us all. While this was a thoroughly joyful visit, I was sorry to hear that he is no longer the Director at The Addison. What a loss for MA. He is now the VP at New York City's Historical Society Museum. Lucky NYC!
I was extremely fortunate to have sat in on a lecture of his two years ago, which "transported" me to the art lecture halls and gave me "a taste of what could have been", had a BFA been the choice instead of becoming a registered nurse so long ago. Although there are no regrets, as the natural sciences continue to hold my interest, an art degree program might have been a kinder way for me to pursue the business of art instead of the daily struggle of attempting to teach myself about painting...
BACK TO THE MONK: This painting is the reason the American painters of the 19th century became known to me. Without the benefit of a formal art education, the content of my self-learned body of art knowledge was woefully thin. After reading about this painter, his works, and those of his American predecessors and contemporaries, my quest was to learn more about our American painters. I have been "in love" with them since, foresaking all Europeans except for a handful of Romantics.
Although The Addison has owned The Monk since 1956, this is probably the first time in many years that he has been on exhibit for this length of time. Alas, although it was known to me that he was upstairs since September, my infrequent outings just made it impossible until this last week-end. Worth the wait.
This is a large oil painting that exudes emotion and is all "seelenvoll" in its depiction of a mysterious lone figure in a white robe amidst a dark green foreground that encompasses almost two thirds of the canvas. The dark umbrella shape trees, at the Italian Villa shown, seem to stand guard just in front of the fabulously warm, yellow, hopeful distance. Some could say, 'it is so darrrk'. Yes...but wait...beyond, the light awaits...
This juxataposition with the four other "light and dark" paintings on the same wall is spellbinding. Again, thank you Dr. Allen and curators.
To the left hangs another Inness tonalist painting titled The Coming Storm 1879, delicious warm greens, yellows and browns. Immediately to the left of it hangs the large Washington Allston's Italian Landscape (1805). This too depicting large dark green trees set instead against a dazzling display of white clouds and blue sky. Ohhh and then to the immediate right of the somber Monk, hangs the jubilant Alvan Fisher's Covered Wagons in the Rockies (1837) with the sublime peachy sky, the perfect balance as if yes, there is still something out there. To the right of that Alex Helwig Wyant's Landscape (1880).
What a bountiful balance of light and not so light, all assembled there to enlighten the visitor. On the wall to the left of those five fabulous paintings, thankfully Homer's The West Wind (1891) remains with the whitest white surf set against the dark dunes surrounding the waiting lady with the billowing skirt. It was all about "The light" in that gallery. While in another gallery R A Blakelock's (there is a sad tale) Sunsent Evening Silence (1892) for more light against darkness, as could be found in his paintings and personal life.
This exhibit also includes fabulous large Thayers (another sad fellow whose bio moves me), including works by Bellows, Benton, Bierstadt, Chase, Church, Copley, Durand (one of his works positively moved me to tears while on display in Salem MA a few years back), a couple of Eakins, Heade, more Homers (I admire his time spent painting), a couple of Hoppers, to name just a few. There is also a collection of ARTFUL POSES on the same floor. All belonging to this fine gallery of American art that we here in MA are so lucky to find in our own backyard.
After standing for as long as I could while staring at "The Light" paintings, then promising myself to return before this exhibit ends next month, a trip downstairs to view nearby Lowell's own son Whistler was in order.
On the wall you can read the following: "AN AMERICAN IN LONDON: WHISTLER AND THE THAMES was organised by the Addison Gallery of American Art, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, and the Freer Gallery of Art /Arthur M Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.
Through generous support provided by Edward P Bass (Phillips class of 1963) on his 50th reunion, in honor of Brian T Allen (by the Bass Foundation); Thomas C Foley (Class of 1971) and Leslie Fahrenkopf Foley; Leslie G Callahan III (Class 1968) and Barbara Keenan Callahan; David Carter (Class of 1941) and Louise Carter; The David L Older Fund, the Keamy Family Foundation; The Lunder Foundation and others".
We thank them all for their generosity in bringing such art exhibits to the Merrimack Valley, as if to our own backyard.
The house of his birth still stands as a museum in nearby Lowell MA. I must say that he pretty much clicked his heels, left MA and never looked back, living most of his life in England where he went broke after suing Ruskin the critic who did not speak well of Whistler's work. Aaah those pesky critics. ...those who can, do, those who can't, criticize...? This bit of gossip, however, is not included in the info shared by The Addison.
There is however a copy of a letter Whistler wrote to someone describing a painting he was finishing, which was giving him trouble while attempting to paint his golden haired mistress (one of a few). Many, many lines ended in an exclamation point! That ole boy liked those "!!!" There is so much to see and enjoy, so go visit and make new memories.
ABOUT THIS BACKYARD PAINTING: A year ago, while disappointed in not finding the aforementioned tonalist ...(please read blog below Mar 8, 2013), I painted Fallen Birches, a colorful attempt to console myself...
Two months ago while visiting an elderly lady whose house was being prepared for sale, a visit to her backyard became my muse for this painting. It was in the single digits not counting wind chill with two feet of backyard snow, therefore notes, photos, & sketches were made from a higher window. Using a very limited palette of three, this warm and cool toned winter backyard woods scene is of that freezing cold cloudy day: when suddenly the sun, as it was making a fleeting appearance under the cloud cover, shot a few golden - russet rays onto the mid section of some trees for a short minute at most. It soon got quite dark. Then the last visitors could be seen...a cardinal and a pair of doves taking their last bite before the roost...
After viewing The Monk, I was able to continue working on this painting...
All images design concept content text are original and solely owned by Mimi Dee and may not be reproduced in any form. March 8, 2014
...and yes, I went to see "him" one more time before the exhibit ended.
Winter - Dec 2014 TONALIST UPDATE: Hurry, as this Addison Gallery of Amercian Art exhibit ends Jan 4, 2015...
There is a fabulous, fabulous Tonalist exhibit which includes The MONK. More Inness works, a Blakelock, an Alex Wyant, some Twachtmans and several limited palette oils by Dwight Tyron who painted in South Dartmouth MA for 40 summers, which can be viewed at The Addison. This all thanks to the new director, Judith F. Dolkart along with curators Keith Kauppila and Susan Faxon. What a brilliant start for Ms. Dolkart as new director!
The Addison Gallery of American Art exhibit: Dwight Tryon and American Tonalism, curated by the independent scholar Keith Kaupplia, is an eye opener for those of us without an iota of an art education. I am sorry that I missed his lecture this past September.
To read about this painter, his art and those who brought his work to us, please visit: http://www.phillipian.net/articles/2014/09/18/new-addison-exhibition-studies-serenity-and-simplicity to learn more about the passion it takes in bringing important American paintings to enlighten those of us who may have never otherwise had such an opportunity to experience.
No question that my love affair continues with Inness, my first tonalist, but Stilly Night - 1917 by Tryon was a small vision to behold! Here Tryon indulged in some red "greenery"; and oh that glow that warms the viewer from across the gallery! Although the Tryons are on loan for just a short while, The Addison's permanent collection is always a comforting friend to visit again and again...
Exhibition History of the oil featured above: The original oil snow landscape painting titled: Backyard Winter Glow, was shown at the North Shore Arts Association Gallery Exhibit I and can now be viewed by visiting www.mimideeartwer.com and searching # : 1242270.
All text content is original and solely owned by Mimi Dee and may not be reproduced in any form - December 1, 2014