Sunday, February 09, 2014

Springfield Museums: Sargeant, Seuss and Snow

Having learned the limits of our walking and viewing attention spans, after a full day of Model Railroad Expo, we explored a bit more of Springfield.

The street lights on Memorial Bridge still seemed to have illuminated celestial  halos. They were very attractive.

It took us a while to find the Springfield Museums quad, even with the GPS. Springfield is the second largest city in Massachusetts after Boston.  One of its founding family had a strong sense of community and civic pride and deeded a large parcel of land for cultural organizations:  The Museum of Springfield History, an Art Museum, A Seuss memorial plaza and another building for special exhibits.

We enjoyed the art exhibit called "Intent to Deceive."  There were forgeries and side by side examples of "real" and "fake" works by Matisse, Modigliani, Raphael and others.  Most forgers seemed to start forging because they couldn't sell their own works.  One fellow who was actually honest about painting "copies" was quite successful (especially after having gotten caught, served time in a London prison, and then going straight).  The ones who tried fooling auction houses and collectors didn't fare so well.
The Art Museum's collection represented many very well known artists.  The poster of the peasant girl above (and the painting itself) was larger than life. 
It was overcast and the light was bland, but I did like the patterns of the column, brick arch and wrought iron gate.

A contemporary sculpture by Phillip Kitchens.
A nifty marquetry bench by the elevator.
If you click on the image below and embiggen it, you can get a brief history of the museum.  I'm glad I took this picture BEFORE I went in to look at the forgeries because it was all covered with snow by the time I came out.

Theodore Geisel was one of several well known artists who spent a long time in Springfield.  Below is a bronze statue of The Lorax. Horton, the Who, the Cat in the Hat and Thing One and Thing Two were nearby..

I don't remember which book the fanciful shrine/pagoda represented.
Each room had a theme.  There were American Paintings, Impressionist Paintings, and so on.  I wasn't famiiar with Dwight Tryon, but I liked his impression of an October Sunset.
I couldn't decide whether the Lady or the Cat looked crabbier.  The overall image struck me funny.
There was quite an impressive collection of relatively modern work.  The room is apparently often used for lectures and demonstrations.  Some of the artists were "old favorites" even if I wasn't familiar with these particular paintings, and others were new.
I was quite taken with John Grillo's Odalisques.  He was apparently associated with the Pioneer Valley and influenced by the Fauvists... (no wonder I liked this!)
Seeing paintings is person is SO informative.  Below is Helen Frankenthaler's "Cave."  It was HUGE.  Even if you see it in a giant coffee table book, it's not the same as having it fill your entire field of vision.
There were some mischievous construction paper dogs cut out by Keith Haring.
And a classic oil painting by John Singer Sargent... While his portraits are probably best known and most loved, after seeing his water colors of European rock quarries, I realized I had learned to appreciate his skill at defining three dimensional space on a flat surface.
There was also an inviting atmospheric pastoral landscape by George Inness.

1 comment:

winna said...

I don't live too far away from there but don't get over there any more---I was glad to see you did and wrote about it. It used to be a day trip to go there, then to Johnson's bookstore and do lunch---long ago...