Tag Archives: Philadelphia Fine Art

Different

Installation view of Designs for Different Futures (Bodies), featuring Seated Design: Sleeves and Shirt, 2016, by Lucy Jones; TiLite Wheelchair for FFORA Attachment System, 2019, by Numotion; Wheelchair Wheels for FFORA Attachment System, 2019, by Sinergy, Inc.; Photo by Juan Arce, courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.

Designs for Different Futures

Philadelphia Museum of Art: October 22, 2019–March 8, 2020

Walker Art Center: September 12, 2020–January 3, 2021

Art Institute of Chicago: February 6 –May 16, 2021

The role of designers in shaping how we think about the future is the subject of a major exhibition that will premiere at the Philadelphia Museum of Art this fall. Designs for Different Futures brings together some 80 works that address the challenges and opportunities that humans may encounter in the years, decades, and centuries ahead. Organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and the Art Institute of Chicago, Designs for Different Futures will be presented at the Walker and the Art Institute of Chicago following its presentation in Philadelphia.

Among the questions today’s designers seek to answer are:  What role can technology play in augmenting or replacing a broad range of human activities?  Can intimacy be maintained at a distance? How can we negotiate privacy in a world in which the sharing and use of personal information has blurred traditional boundaries? How might we use design to help heal or transform ourselves, bodily and psychologically? How will we feed an ever-growing population?

While no one can precisely predict the shape of things to come, the works in the exhibition are firmly fixed on the future, providing design solutions for a number of speculative scenarios. In some instances, these proposals are borne of a sense of anxiety, and in others of a sense of excitement over the possibilities that can be created through the use of innovative materials, new technologies, and, most importantly, fresh ideas.

Timothy Rub, the George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, stated: “We often think of art museums as places that foster a dialogue between the past and the present, but they also can and should be places that inspire us to think about the future and to ask how artists and designers can help us think creatively about it. We are delighted to be able to collaborate with the Walker Art Center and the Art Institute of Chicago on this engaging project, which will offer our visitors an opportunity to understand not only how designers are imagining—and responding to—different visions of the future, but also to understand just how profoundly forward-looking design contributes in our own time to shaping the world that we occupy and will bequeath as a legacy to future generations.”

Thinking about the future has always been part of the human condition. It has also been a perennial field of inquiry for designers and architects whose speculations on this subject—ranging from the concrete to the whimsical—can profoundly affect how we imagine what is to come. Among the many forward-looking projects on view, visitors to Designs for Different Futures will encounter lab-grown food, robotic companions, family leave policy proposals, and textiles made of seaweed. 

“Some of these possibilities will come to fruition, while others will remain dreams or even threats,” said Kathryn Hiesinger, The J. Mahlon Buck, Jr. Family Senior Curator of European Decorative Arts after 1700, who coordinated the exhibition in Philadelphia with former assistant curator Michelle Millar Fisher. “We’d like visitors to join us as we present designs that consider the possible, debate the inevitable, and weigh the alternatives. This exhibition explores how design—understood expansively—can help us all grapple with what might be on the horizon and allows our imaginations to take flight.”

Installation view of Designs for Different Futures (Resources), featuring Another Generosity, designed 2018 by Eero Lundén, Ron Aasholm, and Carmen Lee of Lundén Architecture Company in collaboration with Bergent, BuroHappold Engineering, and Aalto University (Courtesy of the designers). Photo by Juan Arce, courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.

The exhibition is divided into 11 thematic sections. In Resources, visitors will encounter an inflatable pod measuring 15 feet in diameter, part of the work Another Generosity first created in 2018 by Finnish architect Eero Lundén and designed in this incarnation in collaboration with Ron Aasholm and Carmen Lee. The pod slowly expands and contracts in the space, responding to changing levels of carbon dioxide as visitors exhale around it, and provoking questions about the ongoing effect of the human footprint on the environment. The section titled Generations will explore ways in which the choices we make today may contribute to the well-being or suffering of those who come after us. Here, visitors will find a model of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a repository that stores the world’s largest collection of crop seeds. Located within a mountain on a remote island near the Arctic Circle, the facility is designed to withstand natural or human-made disasters. The Earths section of the exhibition speculates on the challenges of extra-terrestrial communication in Lisa Moura’s Alien Nations installation and showcases typeface from the 2016 science-fiction film Arrival

In Bodies, designers grapple with choices about how our physical and psychological selves might look, feel, and function in different future scenarios. Featured here is one of the world’s lightest and most advanced exoskeletons, designed to help people with mobility challenges remain upright and active. Also notable is the CRISPR Kit, an affordable and accessible gene-editing toolbox, which has the potential to revolutionize biomedical research and open opportunities for gene therapy and genetic engineering.

Intimacies is a section that explores how technologies and online interfaces may affect love, family, and community. Here, urban experiences of sex and love are the focus of Andrés Jaque’s Intimate Strangers, an audio-visual installation focusing on the gay dating app. Through internet-enabled devices, designers explore the possibility of digitally mediated love and sex,  suggesting what advanced digital networks hold for human sexuality. 

Foods contains projects that explore the future of the human diet. Among them is a modular edible-insect farm, Cricket Shelter, by Terreform ONE, which offers a ready source of protein for impending food crises. A kitchen installation suggests how technology and design may contribute to new modes of food production, including an Ouroboros Steak made from human cells. 

Additional sections of the exhibition will focus on the future of Jobs and how Cities will function and look 100 years from now—with robotic baby feeders, driverless cars, and other developments—affording a glimpse at how we might navigate living beyond this planet. Shoes grown from sweat are among the innovations visitors will find in a section devoted to Materials, while Power willlook at how design may affect our citizenship and help us retain agency over such essentials as our DNA, our voices, and our electronic communications in a future where the lines between record-keeping, communication, and surveillance blur. Data acknowledges and questions the different ways that information might be collected and used, with all its inherent biases and asymmetries, to shape different futures. 

Future Library, 2014–2114, designed by Katie Paterson (Exhibition display gift of the Future Library Trust, 2018 and purchased with the European Decorative Arts Revolving Fund, 2018). Photograph © Bjørvika Utvikling by Kristin von Hirsch, 2017. Image courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.

Futures Therapy Lab

As part of the exhibition, visitors to the Philadelphia Museum of Art galleries will also encounter a space for community meetups, public programs, school visits, and self-directed activities. The Futures Therapy Lab will weave personal connections between visitors and the exhibition as part of a collaboration between the museum’s Education Department and the curatorial team. Weekly programs, many of which will occur on Pay-What-You-Wish Wednesday Nights, will connect visitors with designers, artists, and locally based creatives. The Futures Therapy Lab will contain a crowdsourced Futures Library that includes everything from science-fiction books to the exhibition catalogue. “Thinking about possible futures is both exhilarating and anxiety-provoking,” said Emily Schreiner, the Zoë and Dean Pappas Curator of Education, Public Programs. “The Futures Therapy Lab is a place for conversation, critique, and creativity in which visitors can imagine their own hopes, fears and solutions for the future through reflection, discussion, and art making.” 

Support

Designs for Different Futures is organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center, and the Art Institute of Chicago. 

In Philadelphia, this exhibition is generously supported by the Annenberg Foundation Fund for Major Exhibitions, the Robert Montgomery Scott Endowment for Exhibitions, the Kathleen C. and John J. F. Sherrerd Fund for Exhibitions, Lisa Roberts and David Seltzer in honor of Collab’s 50th Anniversary, the Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Laura and William C. Buck Endowment for Exhibitions, the Harriet and Ronald Lassin Fund for Special Exhibitions, the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Exhibition Fund, and an anonymous donor.

Publication

Centered on the innovative contemporary design objects, projects, and speculations of the exhibition’s checklist, the accompanying volume proposes design as a means through which to understand, question, and negotiate individual and collective futures, giving provocative voice to the most urgent issues of today. It asks readers to contemplate the design context within broader historical, social, political, and aesthetic spectrums. Designs for Different Futures addresses futures near and far, exploring such issues as human-digital interaction, climate change, political and social inequality, resource scarcity, transportation, and infrastructure.

The primary authors are Kathryn B. Hiesinger, Michelle Millar Fisher, Emmet Byrne, Maite Borjabad López-Pastor, and Zoë Ryan, with Andrew Blauvelt, Colin Fanning, Orkan Telhan, Juliana Rowen Barton, and Maude de Schauensee. Additional contributions include texts by V. Michael Bove Jr. and Nora Jackson, Christina Cogdell, Marina Gorbis, Srećko Horvat, Bruno Latour, Marisol LeBrón, Ezio Manzini, Chris Rapley, Danielle Wood, LinYee Yuan, and Emma Yann Zhang; and interviews with Gabriella Coleman, Formafantasma (Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin), Aimi Hamraie and Jillian Mercado, Francis Kéré, David Kirby, Helen Kirkum, Alexandra Midal, Neri Oxman, and Eyal Weizman.

Designs for Different Futures will be distributed by Yale University Press. The book was overseen by Philadelphia Museum of Art publishing director Katie Reilly and editors Katie Brennan and Kathleen Krattenmaker. It is designed by Ryan Gerald Nelson, Senior Graphic Designer at the Walker Art Center, under the direction of Walker design director Emmet Byrne.

It is available in the museum store ($40) or via the museum website.  

Designs for Different Futures 

ISBN 9780876332900 

Petit Pli—Clothes That Grow, designed 2017 by Ryan Mario Yasin (Courtesy of the designer). Photograph © Ryan Mario Yasin. Image courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.

Related Program

The Futures Therapy Lab will host a series of weekly happenings:

Artists in the Lab
Artists and designers share their work through talks, demonstrations, and workshops. Wednesday Nights, 5:00–8:45 p.m.

The Designer is In
Talk it out. One-on-one sessions with local designers offer new perspectives on your everyday life. Thursdays & Saturdays, 2:00–4:00 p.m.

Sci-Fi Sundays
Drop-in readings that explore narratives of the future. Select Sundays, 2:00–3:00pm

See Full Schedule of Related Public Programs 

Curatorial Team

The curatorial team is comprised of: at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Kathryn B. Hiesinger, The J. Mahlon Buck, Jr. Family Senior Curator of European Decorative Arts after 1700, and Michelle Millar Fisher, formerly The Louis C. Madeira IV Assistant Curator of European Decorative Arts after 1700; at the Walker Art Center, Emmet Byrne, Design Director and Associate Curator of Design; and at the Art Institute of Chicago, Maite Borjabad López-Pastor, Neville Bryan Assistant Curator of Architecture and Design, and Zoë Ryan, the John H. Bryan Chair and Curator of Architecture and Design. Consulting curators are Andrew Blauvelt, Director, Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and Curator-at-Large, Museum of Arts and Design, New York; Colin Fanning, Independent Scholar, Bard Graduate Center, New York; and Orkan Telhan, Associate Professor of Fine Arts (Emerging Design Practices), University of Pennsylvania School of Design, Philadelphia.

Kathryn B. Hiesinger is The J. Mahlon Buck, Jr. Family Senior Curator of European Decorative Arts after 1700 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Her work focuses on decorative arts and design from the mid-nineteenth century to the present and includes the exhibitions and publications Zaha Hadid: Form in Motion (2011), Out of the Ordinary: The Architecture and Design of Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Associates (2001), Japanese Design: A Survey since 1950 (1994) and Design since 1945 (1983). 

Michelle Millar Fisher is the Ronald C. and Anita L Wornick Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She is a graduate of the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and is currently completing her doctorate in architectural history at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is the co-author, with Paola Antonelli, of Items: Is Fashion Modern? (2017). 

Emmet Byrne is the Design Director and Associate Curator of Design at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. He provides creative leadership and strategic direction for the Walker in all areas of visual communication, branding, publishing, while overseeing the award-winning in-house design studio. He was one of the founders of the Task Newsletter in 2009 and is the creator of the Walker’s Intangibles platform.

Maite Borjabad López-Pastor is the Neville Bryan Assistant Curator of Architecture and Design at the Art Institute of Chicago. She is an architect and curator educated at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and Columbia University, New York. She is the author and curator of Scenographies of Power: From the State of Exception to the Spaces of Exception (2017). Her work revolves around diverse forms of critical spatial practices, operating across architecture, art, and performance.

Zoë Ryan is the John H. Bryan Chair and Curator of Architecture and Design at the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the editor of As Seen: Exhibitions That Made Architecture and Design History (2017) and curator of In a Cloud, in a Wall, in a Chair: Six Modernists in Mexico at Midcentury (2019) and the 2014 Istanbul Design Biennial, The Future is Not What it Used to Be. Her projects explore the impact of architecture and design on society. 

Social Media
Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/Tumblr/YouTube: @philamuseum

We are Philadelphia’s art museum. A world-renowned collection. A landmark building. A place that welcomes everyone. We bring the arts to life, inspiring visitors—through scholarly study and creative play—to discover the spirit of imagination that lies in everyone. We connect people with the arts in rich and varied ways, making the experience of the Museum surprising, lively, and always memorable. We are committed to inviting visitors to see the world—and themselves—anew through the beauty and expressive power of the arts.

Thank you to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the content of this post.

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What do you want the future to look like?

Together

All Together Now, 3rd Street Gallery
All Together Now, 3rd Street Gallery, POST20
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3rd Street Gallery 610 S. 3rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

www.3rdstreetgallery.com 

267-768-6691

POST: All Together Now

3rd Street Gallery Members’ Exhibition

September 26 – October 20, 2019

The 3rd Street Gallery is pleased to present POST: All Together Now, an annual members exhibition featuring painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, collage, mixed media, ceramic and fiber art. This group exhibition coincides with the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours: POST 2019, a program of the Center for Emerging Visual Artists and one of the premier open studio tour events in the country. As a Community Partner with POST 2019, 3rd Street Gallery increases awareness of the arts in the wider community and strengthens bonds with fellow artists, local businesses, and neighborhood organizations.

South Galleries POST Tour 2019: Saturday October 12, 12-6pm

Gallery Hours: Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, 12 – 6 pm

About 3rd Street Gallery: The Gallery has been in existence since 1978, opening in its first space on the corner of 3rd and Bainbridge in South Philadelphia. As one of the oldest artist-run, fine art galleries in the City it has been home to thousands of Philadelphia artists. The members are a diverse group of artists of all ages and backgrounds. They are multigenerational, have advanced degrees in the arts as well as the sciences, work in diverse media from the traditional to the digital, range from the classically trained to the self-taught and include arts educators, award-winners, and artists whose work is collected by museums as well as by corporate and private collectors.

About the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours: Each October, the Tours span 20 unique Philadelphia neighborhoods, feature over 300 participants, engage audiences topping 30,000, and literally put Philadelphia’s professional artists “on the map” for locals and tourists alike. As an annual Fall festival of visual art, the Philadelphia Open Studio Tours includes self guided tours of artist studios and related creative workspaces, gallery exhibitions, demonstrations and workshops, artist talks, receptions, and guided tours.

Contact: Nancy Lloyd pr@3rdstreetgallery.com

Thank you to Nancy Lloyd for the content of this post.

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Doll

Elaine M. Erne, Lanie Doll and Friends, Drawings and Prints, House Gallery

Elaine M. Erne, Lanie Doll and Friends, Drawings and Prints, House Gallery
  Lanie Doll, graphite pencil on paper, 72″ x 126″

HOUSE Gallery, 1816 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125

Through June 30th

Artist Talk Sunday June 23rd, 4:00 – 7:00 pm followed by potluck.

The Lives and Traumas of Stuffed Animals is a continuing series of prints and large graphite drawings of Lanie Doll and her friends that represent individuals and their emotional relationships with themselves and others. In recurring distressful situations, people often become like dolls, putting forward a cheerful personae no matter what is happening.  The dolls encapsulate the personality of an individual and allows me to explore the inner workings of painful relationships without being immersed in the reality of difficult interactions. Although there is a playful side, the underlining theme is fear, cruelty, isolation, and survival. Though the situations represented are far from real, no stuffed animals were hurt in the making of the work, they capture the aura that surround people who on the outside appear happy while actually experiencing deep sorrow, loneliness, and tension in their daily lives.   

ABOUT E. M. Erne

E. M. Erne, co-founder and co-director of Star Wheel Printers, received a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA and a MFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University in Philadelphia, PA.  Erne’s drawings and prints have been featured in numerous invitational and juried national exhibitions.  Erne has had six solo exhibitions in the past ten years: ‘Mr. Bunny Misses His Friends’, Nexus, Foundation for Today’s Arts, Philadelphia PA; ‘E. M. Erne: Drawing and Prints’, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ; ‘Mr. Bunny and Friends’, Nexus, Foundation for Today’s Arts, Philadelphia PA; ‘The Lives and Traumas of Stuffed Animals’, BahdeeBahdu Gallery, Philadelphia, PA; a ‘Wind Challenge Exhibition’, Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia, PA; and a ‘Community Gallery Solo Exhibition’, Abington Art Center, Abington, PA.  Erne is a recipient of a Dene M. Louchheim Faculty Fellowship, Fleisher Art Memorial, Philadelphia, PA, and a Career Development Fellowship with The Center for Emerging Visual Artist, Philadelphia, PA.  Erne was one of 25 artists selected by the Center of Emerging Visual Artist to represent them in their 25th Year Anniversary Exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In 2015 Erne won the Jane Friend Purchase Award in the Brand Associates’ 43rd Annual Works On Paper National Juried Exhibition in Glendale, CA. She is currently on the faculty at Drexel University, Moore College of Art and Design, and the Fleisher Art Memorial all in Philadelphia, PA.

Location: 1816 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125

Hours: by appointment

Michelle Marcuse, Co Director, HOUSE Gallery, 1816 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19125, 215-901-7190


www.housegallery1816.com

www.michellemarcuse.com

www.henrybermudezart.com

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Stories

Stories to Tell

Stories Told in Pictures at The Plastic Club

April will be a time for story-telling at The Plastic Club, as the historic art club invites visual artists to show how they retell the world’s stories, whether drawn from holy books or comic books or the depths of their own imaginations.

The prospectus explains that works can be representational or abstract, based perhaps on literature or perhaps on popular genres or even current events. “It is your story to tell, using your special way of doing art.”

The prospectus quotes the poet Wallace Stevens for inspiration:
“They said, ‘You have a blue guitar, you do not play things as they are.’ The man replied, ‘Things as they are are changed upon the blue guitar.'”

Stories to Tell at The Plastic Club

Stories to Tell Opening Reception Sunday, April 7th, 2:00 and 5:00 PM, with juror’s awards and announcement at 3:30 PM. The work can also be viewed by appointment or at The Plastic Club‘s special Third Sunday Open Gallery on Sunday, April 21 from 1 to 4 PM.

The Plastic Club. 247 South Camac Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107, (215) 545-9324
info@plasticclub.org

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Eye


Seated Woman (Study for “La Grande Jatte”), c. 1884-1885, by Georges Seurat. Conte crayon on laid paper, Sheet: 11 13/16 × 6 1/2 inches. The Louis E. Stern Collection, 1963. Image courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.

The Impressionist’s Eye

Philadelphia Museum of Art to present the most extensive exhibition of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism ever to be assembled from its collection

April 16 – August 18, 2019

This spring the Philadelphia Museum of Art will present a broad survey of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. Drawn almost entirely from its renowned collection, this exhibition will bring together more than 80 works in a variety of media—painting, sculpture, prints, drawings, and pastels— to illuminate the achievements of some of history’s most beloved artists. The Impressionist’s Eye will feature many of the museum’s most celebrated paintings—among them Claude Monet’s Japanese Footbridge and the Water Lily Pool, Mary Cassatt’s In the Loge, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s At the Moulin Rouge: The Dance, and Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers—offering fresh insights into these works and placing them in conversation with other major examples by these artists and their contemporaries. For example, Renoir’s ambitious Great Bathers, newly conserved on the centenary of the artist’s death, will be shown alongside treatments of the same theme by Edgar Degas and Paul Cézanne.

The Impressionist’s Eye will include a number of important works on paper (shown in two rotations to avoid overexposing them to light) that have not been on view in the galleries for a decade or more, emphasizing the importance that the artists of these movements attached to working in a variety of media. Among these will be exquisite renderings in pen and ink by Van Gogh, sheets from Cézanne’s sketchbooks that were last exhibited at the museum in 1989, a drawing by Lautrec last shown at this museum in 1956, and one by Berthe Morisot that will be placed on view for the first time.

Timothy Rub, the George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer, said: “The Philadelphia Museum of Art contains one of the country’s most acclaimed collections of 19th century art, but rarely have we had the opportunity to show our Impressionist and Post-Impressionist holdings as comprehensively as we are able to do in this exhibition. Assembling them in The Impressionist’s Eye will enable us to convey the innovative and often boldly experimental character of the work of these artists as well as how fluidly they moved from one medium to another. The presentation of this exhibition in the Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries is accompanied by a beautiful new publication devoted to the collection. It also comes as the consequence of the comprehensive renovation—the first in nearly 25 years—that we are undertaking this spring of the galleries in which we show our collection of later 19th-century European painting, sculpture, and the decorative arts. They will be closing temporarily as we proceed with much-needed improvements in tandem with the construction of the next phase—entitled the Core Project—of our facilities master plan designed by Frank Gehry.”

The development of Impressionism began in France in the 1870s in the work of artists such as Monet, Renoir, and Pissarro, and set the stage for the bold experiments with color, line, and form that would follow over the next several decades and radically alter the course of modern painting. The exhibition will include a number of works that were presented in the several Impressionist exhibitions held in the 1870s and 1880s, as well as informal sketches and studies that could be considered more experimental or personal in nature.

The Impressionist’s Eye will offer visitors new perspectives on the inventiveness and vision that the artists of this movement brought to their subjects. The choice of bold cropping and unusual points of view, their flattening of space and use of vibrant color and vigorous brushwork imbued their work with a bracing sense of modernity which startled contemporary audiences. Their radically way of painting also reflected a broad fascination with photography and with Japanese (Ukiyo-e) woodblock prints. Visitors will also see a significant number of works by many of the key figures of Post-Impressionism such as George Seurat, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, and Paul Cézanne, each of whom took the innovations of the Impressionists as their point of departure and then evolved in new and often dramatically different directions.

The exhibition has been organized around a series of themes that highlight the shared interest of these artists in certain subjects. Among these are Nature, The Modern City, Everyday Objects (or still life), People, and Bathers.

The introduction of commercially produced paint in tubes and the convenience of portable easels and paint sets, combined with the greater mobility afforded by the development of railroads, fostered the growing popularity of painting en plein air, or out-of-doors. The opening section of the exhibition demonstrates how firmly the artists associated with Impressionism were committed to recording their direct observations of nature and making the variability of light, color, and atmosphere a central element of their work. Among the highlights of this section are Camille Pissarro’s Railroad to Dieppe (1886), Monet’s Bend in the Epte River near Giverny (1888), Cézanne’s Mont Sainte-Victoire (1902-04), as well as a lively pen and ink drawing executed in 1888 by Van Gogh titled Haystacks, which is remarkable for its swirling lines, bold dashes, and lively dots.

Paris provides the main inspiration for the next section of the exhibition, The Modern City. Some artists concentrated on the architecture of the French capital, capturing scenes of its grand boulevards or popular urban entertainments such as cabaret, ballet, and the theater. Artists such as Renoir, Pissarro, Edgar Degas, and Mary Cassatt captured many different aspects of the urban experience—the kinetic energy of great crowds traveling to and fro or a single figure caught at a moment of quiet reverie. A Woman and Girl Driving, by Cassatt, shows a modern woman—the artists’ elder sister—boldly taking the reins of a horse-drawn carriage in Paris alongside the niece of Degas. Toulouse-Lautrec’s At the Moulin-Rouge (1889-90) captures the demi-monde at play, with a dancer kicking up her skirts as she performs the can-can amid a crowd of top-hatted men. At the Paris Opera, Degas’s The Ballet Class, conveys the rigor of young girls learning their craft as a stage mother slumps with fatigue into a chair. Among the group of conté crayon drawings by Georges Seurat included in the exhibition, is a rare rendition of a woman, seated on the bank of an island in the Seine, which served as a study for the artist’s masterpiece, La Grande Jatte.

Another section focuses upon the different ways in which artists such as Edouard Manet and Paul Cézanne reanimated the traditional theme of still life painting, imbuing it with a new spirit and sense of ambition, aptly characterized by the latter when he said, “I want to astonish Paris with an apple.” Flower-filled vases (Renoir), artisanal cakes (Caillebotte), or a woven basket (Manet) were convenient subjects for the artists’ experimentation. “A painter can say all he wants to with fruit and flowers,” observed Manet, who focused on this familiar genre in nearly a fifth of his canvases. In these works, visitors are invited to witness everyday objects transformed through color, texture, and line.

Many of these artists were also keen observers of people. As Van Gogh noted in 1885, “Painted portraits have a life of their own that comes from deep in the soul of the painter and where the machine [the camera] can’t go.” His treatment of the postman Roulin’s wife clutching her baby Marcelle, created in 1888, possesses a luminous, almost otherworldly glow. In this section of the exhibition, works in clay, graphite, pastel, and paint reveal just how thoroughly the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists up-ended longstanding traditions of rendering the human figure. Drawings such as Cézanne’s Peasant Girl Wearing a Fichu and such sculptures as Degas’s Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen, (modeled in wax, 1878-81 and cast in bronze, about 1922) reflect the unique qualities that different media offered to these artists to enable them to capture the unique character and vivacity of their subjects. Responding to the recent advent of photography, artists sought to convey the character of the sitter in ways that seem both direct and spontaneous, as demonstrated in Bethe Morisot’s Young Woman with Brown Hair, 1894.

The same observations can be made of their treatment of the timeless subject of the nude, a theme that especially fascinated Renoir, Degas, and Cézanne. Renoir’s Great Bathers, (1884-87) will be seen in The Impressionist’s Eye for the first time since the completion of a year-long conservation treatment and cleaning, a project generously supported by the Bank of America Art Conservation Project. The artist labored over this canvas, seeking to establish a new direction for his work and to create an image that would be both contemporary in spirit and rival the great masters of the Renaissance. The installation will enable visitors to appreciate it in a state that now more closely resembles how it looked when the artist completed it, and in the company of some of the greatest works of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

“For three years Renoir wrestled with this work,” notes Jennifer Thompson, the museum’s Gloria and Jack Drosdick Curator of European Painting & Sculpture & Curator of the John G. Johnson Collection, who organized the exhibition. “Just howexhaustively, we knew from notes left by Berthe Morisot, but seeing the cross-sections and x-rays taken by our specialists in Conservation has reaffirmed precisely how much he questioned himself and started over, again and again.”

The Impressionists Eye, as an exhibition drawn from the collection, also offers a record of collecting, tastes, and insight into the cultural life of Philadelphia in the 19th and 20th centuries, beginning with Mary Cassatt, the American in Paris who early on persuaded her family members in this city and others around the country to purchase the work of the Impressionists, touching off a new vogue in collecting. “Philadelphia was a vibrant center for collecting in the during this period,” Thompson notes, “and the museum’s Impressionist holdings were indelibly shaped by the taste and civic spirit of those individuals, much as today’s collectors of contemporary art collectors enrich the cultural life of our city.”

Support
The Impressionist’s Eye has been made possible by Presenting Sponsor Bank of America.

Contributions to this exhibition have been made by The Robert Montgomery Scott Endowment for Exhibitions, The Laura and William C. Buck Endowment for Exhibitions, The Gloria and Jack Drosdick Fund for Special Exhibitions, The Harriet and Ronald Lassin Fund for Special Exhibitions, Lyn M. Ross, Joan F. Thalheimer, The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Fund for Exhibitions, and an anonymous donor.

Support for both The Impressionist’s Eye exhibition and the reinstallation of the galleries of nineteenth-century European painting has been generously provided by Lois G. and Julian A. Brodsky.

Support for the reinstallation of the galleries of nineteenth-century European painting has been generously provided by Barbara B. and Theodore R. Aronson, Harriet and Ron Lassin, Martha McGeary Snider, and other donors.

Credits as of February 28, 2019

Publication
The exhibition is accompanied by Impressionism and Post-Impressionism: Highlights from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the first publication from the museum to focus on its internationally renowned Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collections ($35). Written by Jennifer A. Thompson with contributions by Joseph J. Rishel and Eileen Owens, and co-published by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Yale University Press (240 pages; 224 color, 8 black-and-white illustrations), it focuses upon one of the most significant collections of Impressionism and Post Impressionism in the country, with two hundred Cézannes, twenty-three Monets, and more than fifty Renoirs.

Thompson’s introductory essay examines the circumstances and individuals—including Mary Cassatt’s brother, the Philadelphia railroad executive Alexander J. Cassatt, depicted in a painting by his sister—that led to the formation of the collection. It provides entries on ninety highlights, including Cézanne’s The Large Bathers, Degas’s Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen, Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, Monet’s Japanese Bridge and Waterlily Pond, Toulouse-Lautrec’s Moulin Rouge, and Renoir’s Great Bathers. Paintings, sculpture, and drawings by figures such as Cassatt, Seurat, Manet, Pissarro, Alfred Sisley, Morisot, and Auguste Rodin are presented together, providing a rich and encompassing view of these artists and the innovative works they created across mediums.

The entries explore the artists’ aims and challenges, discuss conservation discoveries, and consider the works within the contexts of the art market, social history, fashion, and politics. Comparative illustrations, such as related works from Philadelphia and other collections, preparatory drawings, X-rays demonstrating substantial alterations, and period photographs, add to an understanding of each work.

Changes in the Nineteenth Century Galleries
Beginning March 25, 2019, seven rooms dedicated to nineteenth century paintings on the first floor of the main building will close for renovation, including galleries 151, 152, 159, 156, 157, 160, 161. Several of these will reopen in July, and the full suite will be reopened following the conclusion of The Impressionist’s Eye. Currently closed for renovation are galleries 150 and 153. On March 25, these galleries reopen with works by Couture, Courbet, Corot, and Millet, a new installation focusing on the rejection of idealism, the treatment of “ordinary” subjects, and technical innovations in painting outdoors and in the use of bold, gestural brushwork.

Curator
Jennifer Thompson, The Gloria and Jack Drosdick Curator of European Painting & Sculpture & Curator of the John G. Johnson Collection

Location
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19130
215-763-8100 Tuesday–Sunday, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Wednesday & Friday: Main building open until 8:45 p.m.
Closed Monday except for some holidays

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