Tag Archives: cummer

Museum Hopping

7 Jun

Though our time in the cities we visited on our cross-country tour was short, we managed to hit a couple of wonderful, yet very different museums along the way.  In Tulsa, we spent a few hours exploring the Philbrook Museum of Art.

Front facade of the Philbrook Museum of Art

My Jacksonville readers will be familiar with the Cummer Museum of Art in Jax.  The Philbrook is, to me, like the Cummer on steroids.  Like the Cummer, the Philbrook was once a private residence, which was donated to the city of Tulsa by its owners, oilman Waite Phillips and his wife Genevieve.  Once we entered the museum doors, we found ourselves in a gorgeous, domed center hall, light streaming through the oculus in the center of the dome.

Center hall at the Philbrook

Philbrook oculus

Just walking the halls of this Renaissance style villa, built in 1927 and designed by architect Edward Buehler Delk for the Phillips as “a place where there two children could entertain friends” ( Imagine the sleepovers you could have! ), is a pleasure in itself.

Corridor at the Philbrook

The museum houses a varied and extensive permanent collection of art, ranging from African & Asian collections, Native American art to Italian Renaissance and a surprising and delightful modern collection.

Bougereau at the Philbrook, a favorite artist of the Frenz's

Lovely little Picasso at the Philbrook

Fabulous modern design collection at the Philbrook

While the museum collections are enjoyable, it is the museum grounds that really steal the show.  Though we visited on a gray and rainy day, it didn’t stop us from exploring the extensive gardens behind the museum.  The original formal gardens extend from the rear colonnade of the museum down to the tempietto.  Let’s take a little walking tour..

Rear collonade at the Philbrook

View from the colonnade down to the tempietto

Wonderful stepped fountain

Beautiful, naturalistic water feature

No formal garden is complete without a koi pond!

View from the tempietto back toward the museum

Yours truly in the tempietto ( wouldn't this be a romantic spot to pop the question? )

Contemporary sculpture walk beyond the formal gardens

Let’s switch gears now, fast-forward through another 12 hour day on the road and pay a little visit to Denver.  While in the mile-high city, we spent some time downtown including a tour through the Denver Art Museum.  While the Philbrook is classically ornate, the DAM’s Hamilton Building, where we spent our time, is splendidly contemporary.  Designed by Daniel Lubeskind, the structure represents the Rocky Mountain peaks surrounding Denver.

Denver Art Museum

We started at the top and worked our way down, discovering lots of fun & interesting contemporary work along the way.

Noguchi sculpture and Motherwell painting **Sidenote: Motherwell was born in Aberdeen, WA, the town where we are living for the summer.

Ceramics at DAM

Did you notice in the pictures above how the walls are slanted?  The angled walls created a very interesting visual space, especially in the 4th floor gallery where they were prominent.   They were a bit disconcerting when walking down the main stairs, though!

Artist: Mark Tansey

We were all fascinated by the piece above, by Mark Tansey.   Another highlight was the Fox Games installation by Sandy Skoglund.  I first saw Skoglund’s work in Jacksonville and am always fascinated by the environments she creates.

Fox Games by Sandy Skoglund

And there was just something about “Minotaur with Brushstrokes” that appealed to us.  What can I say, we like work that makes us smile.

Minotaur With Brushstrokes by Richard Patterson

Speaking of making us smile, George & I also loved the piece below, although I’m sad to report that I don’t recall the name of the artist.  But it reminded me of spring in the Northwest.

Kicking myself for not writing down the title & artist for this piece! Anyone have any clues?

The museum also boasts an impressive Western American Art Collection, as well as African, American Indian, Oceanic, Pre-Columbian and Spanish Colonial Collections.  We toured through the current special exhibition, Cities of Splendor: A Journey Through Renaissance Italy, but alas, no photography allowed in the exhibit, so you’ll have to check out the DAM website for a taste.  As you can see, our art experiences on this trip were widely varied and we are looking forward to more such experiences here in the Northwest.

Masterworks Monday: Jack the Dripper

9 May

A polarizing persona in the art world, Jackson Pollock, called “Jack the Dripper” by some, figured largely in the Abstract Expressionist movement in America.  His work  is such of the “love it” or “hate it” variety and it can often strike a chord with those who least expect it. 

Untitled, No. 3 by Jackson Pollock

I remember taking a basic Art Appreciation class early on in college, with a good friend from high school.  Said friend was very conservative in most aspects and usually preferred the more realistic artwork we studied– but she loved Pollock’s work.  There was just something about it that she responded to.

Untitled, No. 8 by Jackson Pollock

Pollock’s process, referred to as “action painting”, involved several aspects that were innovative at the time– Pollock laid his canvases unstretched out on the floor, instead of stretched on an easel, utilizing household paints instead of more traditional oils and instead of brushing the paint on, dipped whatever was on hand into the paint and then slashed  & dripped it onto the canvas.

Green Silver by Jackson Pollock

I remember being intrigued by Pollock and his work, but it wasn’t until I saw one of his pieces up close & personal, in an Abstract Expressionist exhibition at the Cummer Museum in Jacksonville, that I truly became a fan.  Seeing the monumental scale of the work, the depth of the paint and being able to recognize that yes, there truly was a method to his madness in all those drips and splatters, sealed the deal for me.

Blue Poles by Jackson Pollock

I realize we don’t all share the same aesthetic tastes.  How about you?  Are you a fan of “the Dripper”?

First ( Art ) Love

21 Mar

We all remember our first love, the intensity, the drama, it stays with us forever.   How a certain song or place will always remind you of those precious feelings.  But what about your first ART love?   That one painting or sculpture or photograph that drew you in and made you long for more?

My hubby George & I took advantage of the Free Family Day at the Cummer Museum of Art in Jacksonville on Saturday and walking through its beautiful rooms & gardens reminded me  that the Cummer is where my real appreciation for art first blossomed.

Image of the Cummer Gardens via Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens

The stately, elegant rooms and gardens seemed alive with history and mystery.  To me, there is something so lovely and enchanting about old stone, brick and iron in a garden.   The Cummer Garden paths lead me down a lane of memories that aren’t my own.. memories of others who have walked these gardens before, of Ninah Cummer lovingly attending her flowers, of characters in novels who walked similar garden paths, of lovers declaring themselves forever.

Inside the Cummer, the beauty of the architecture draws me in but it is the artwork that keeps me coming back again and again.   As a young girl, my first memory of visiting the Cummer is the enchantment I discovered there, focused upon one particular piece of artwork, “Before Her Appearance” by Frederick Carl Frieseke.

Image via Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens

I’m sure it is no surprise that this Impressionistic painting would be the early favorite of a young girl who loved the romance of dancing and all things girly.   I wanted to BE her, to be the talented beauty preparing to take center stage.  When I look back at this piece as an adult, I still love the feminine glory of it all.  The pink toe-shoes, ruffled dressing gown, floral vanity skirt and draperies.. In an age where showing this kind of feminitity seems sometimes verboten,  it is lovely to think back to a time when it was truly celebrated.  ( Not that I would want to go back to other aspects of being a woman in that age! )

Each time I revisit the Cummer, I am drawn back in time to my younger days, of sitting and gazing upon this lovely piece, waiting for her to stand up from her stool and begin pirouetting around the room.   As with any first love, there are others who have come behind, touched me in different ways, but that first passion will stay with me always.

Do you remember your first ( ART ) love?  Please share in the comments, I adore a good ( ART ) love story!

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