Saturday, October 18, 2008


I adore museums. I have vivid memories of the Philadelphia Museum of Art when I was a child, wandering among the mummies and Greek vases and statues of Egyptians, wondering how these things got to Philadelphia and who brought them here. I have never been a fan of mummies and feel creepy whenever I see them in dusty corridors of various museums around the Western World. But further on there are so many things to see and enjoy!

As a teen-ager I would borrow my mother's car and cut school and spend the day at the Philadelphia art museum wandering aimlessly through the collections: from the mummies, to the Renaissance, to contemporary paintings, to sculpture, to furniture and silver, back to paintings from the Baroque, to miniature portraits, and on to textiles, then onto art scrolls from China. A day like this is a very heady affair!

I was in Cincinnati, Ohio last week for an exhausting 3 day meeting for the non-profit I run (in my spare time!). I had hoped to have time to visit the museum before I had to leave for the airport and I had just enough time to visit the galleries. I saw there some wonderful "old friends" which is how I feel about certain paintings by favorite artists.

A Wyeth Egg Tempera was in very bad shape and I had a chance to look carefully at the surface that had bubbled and cracked. It was not one of his better paintings, in my opinion, but it is always a shame to see a painting that has not fared well.

There was a gorgeous little Egg Tempera painting by Botticelli that I looked at for a long time, and a huge painting by Corot (I think - after awhile these things tend to blend in the mind a bit!), which I asked permission to photograph for my students. It was unfinished and I always get a lot more out of the unfinished paintings than I do from the finished ones.

Here is a partial list of some other standout museums that I have visited....some a very long time ago, some more recently. They are not in any particular order...just a list of the one's I like.

Nelson Atkins Museum (Kansas City)
St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts (St. Pete, Florida)
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (Philadelphia)
Ringling Museum of Art (Sarasota, Florida)
The Louvre (Paris, France)
The Dali Museum (St. Petersburg, Florida)
The Brandywine River Museum (Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania)
The High Museum (Atlanta, Georgia)
The Lyman Allyn Museum (New London, Connecticut)
National Cowboy Hall of Fame (Oklahoma City)
The Wheelwright Museum (Santa Fe, NM)
The Victoria and Albert Museum (London, UK)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
Whitney Gallery of Western Art (Cody, Wyoming)
The Göteborg Museum of Art (Gothenburg, Sweden)
Heard Museum, (Phoenix, Arizona)

to name only a few......

10/21/08 Here are a few more I love

The Brooklyn Museum of Art (New York)
The National Academy of Design Archives (New York City) (This was not open to the public and I was allowed in here to look at the work of Robert Brackman and while there browsed through many other academicians who are housed there)
The Barnes Foundation Museum (Merion, Pennsylvania)
Mystic Seaport Gallery of Maritime Art

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Rape of Europa

I heard about this 2006 film an ordered it from Blockbuster. We watched it tonight. The film was extremely well done, I thought even though I tend to avoid Nazi films and documentary accounts of the war and accounts of Nazi genocide. Done in documentary style with interviews and scholars as well as film clips from the war, it focused on the horrifying sub-plot of the Nazi's to not only acquire for the Third Reich, and their own personal art collections, the best of the best of the Culture of Europe and Russia, but the systematic plundering of the homes and apartments of Jews who had been deported. The trucks and train loads of furniture, artifacts, silver, and religious items shown in the film defy description. I knew nothing about this aspect of the Holocaust, although I did know that the Nazis stole artwork, and Hitler and Goering's art collections were legendary, the scale of the theft and plunder is unbelievable.

Of particular interest to me personally, had to do with the United States Army's "Monument Men" and film clips and interviews about Deane Keller, who was a professor of art at Yale University. He was assigned to help protect and recover as much art and treasure as he could from Italy and the cities that the allies were forced to bomb. He documented his activities and his writings are in the Yale Library where I found references online. His activities in Italy, and the return of thousands of artworks to cheering crowds in Florence did bring on a few tears.

His son, Deane G. Keller taught me to draw, or rather taught me to love to draw. I took several of his classes at Lyme Academy of Fine Arts and his teaching style was so low-key I barely remember his classes. In a most subtle way Deane Keller's incredible knowledge of anatomy and ability to draw seemed to come to me by osmosis.

This is a drawing I did in Deane Keller's Lyme Academy Class in 1990. I was very sad to learn tonight that he had passed away in 2005.