Name That Painter! - Big Reveal
Before I went trapesing off to the Seattle Art Museum (SAM), I did some planning. I knew what piece I wanted to see, but I had to confirm it was on display. You see, a museum might have the piece you are seeking, BUT, that doesn't mean it's in an exhibit. It could be stored in their archives somewhere, underground, behind a trap door, in a far away attic..or? Fortunately, at least one of two pieces by this artist were on display in the American Art Exhibit. I was super excited because the SAM is practically in my backyard! Just a little ferry trip to Seattle, a hair-raising ride through downtown, and multiple trips around several crowded blocks to secure my space in the lane to the parking garage - no problemo! Lucky for me, two very patient passengers tagged along that day to complete a job shadowing assignment from school. They kept me company, sane, and laughing. Thank you girls!
Inside the museum we were greeted by a stunning tumbling car display. Yes, real full-size cars suspended from the ceiling with flashing lights shooting out the doors and windows. Pretty incredible!
After paying our admission and holding my ticket carefully inside my pocket, I turned around and what in front of my eyes did appear? The most lovely sight; a sign indicating that it was okay to take photos INSIDE the exhibit in certain places. Ohhh g-l-o-r-y be!!
With that in mind, I made a bee-line to the American Art Exhibit, up the escalator and to the right..."Girls stay with me, ohh ummm - naked man statue ahead - don't look. Uhhh excuse me, excuse me - yes, we'll do the green man-eating bottle monster later, ahemm, over here to the right."
It only took a second to find what I came across the water for. Just a slight turn of the shoulder and there it was, a luminous snow capped mountain bursting forth from the hazy obscure cloud cover. There must be something unnerving about a lady taking notes and photos because after only minutes of finding the mountain, I could feel the security guards eyes boring holes in my direction. It turns out that I was standing a bit too close to the painting for his comfort, so I backed away. A conversation in my head went like this... "If I stand far enough away can I just lean in a little and crain my neck closer? You just don't understand...there are original guide lines left on the canvas by the artist that I HAVE to see..."
With our attention focused on "Mount Rainier, Bay of Tacoma" (oil on canvas circa 1875) the girls and I quickly went to work making observations and taking photos. Bear in mind, our quick camera shots do not do this painting justice. We were impressed with the myriad of soft details present. Loose carefree strokes of snow on the mountain, calm water, hazy atmosphere etc; all in sync producing a fine painting. I asked the girls if they could relate the painting to an instrument what would it be? One of the girls commented that it would be a flute; I couldn't agree more. Without actually pulling out a tape measure, my rudimentary guess is that the painting itself measured 2.5' tall by 3.5' wide. An interesting note... As I mentioned before, his original guidelines are left on the painting. Can you see them above the passengers in the boat?
The painting literally kept pulling me back because I was intrigued with all the softness that appeared so loose and carefree. Upon further examination, my perspective changed, I could see the calculation in his work. The strokes were small, not exacting. yet not impressionistic, but subtle. Calculated, soft subtle warm strokes. The painting had a matte sheen to it. Through my research, I have learned that the artist applied multiple layers of translucent varnish to his paintings, which played a part in producing that glowing luminous effect.....just lovely!
There is more to learn about this artist, so I challenge you to do some of your own investigation and plan a visit to see one of his sublime paintings. Some of his journals are also posted online to read. Please share with us your thoughts, comments are welcome! What's that you say?
Ohhh yes, the BIG reveal... Have you heard of
Sanford Robinson Gifford?
American Artist 1823-1880
Unfortunately no guesses were correct, actually, there were no guesses.
So consequently no winner.
Is anyone out there in cyber-space??? I will carry on and hope for some quesses in April. I hope, I hope, I hope. Till next time....
Name That Painter!
This artist sought many opportunities for artistic adventure during his lifetime. He was one of the most widely traveled artists of his time, traveling both within the United States and abroad. He traveled with other notable artist friends to the American West, the Near East, England, Scotland, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy etc. A trip out west brought him all the way over to my stomping ground, Washington State! I can't imagine what a camping trip that would've been! Another of his excursions in 1869, took him clear to Egypt, where he rode the Nile and then took the caravan route through the Libyan Desert to the Sudan. We know the details of his travels through the journals he kept; a wonderful treasure!
After the American Civil War erupted, he enlisted in the seventh regiment of the New York State National Guard in 1861, and served as a soldier in the Union Army. There he painted many peaceful scenes of soldiers camping and taking care of the basics, rather than scenes of blood and carnage. In looking at his paintings during this time, it is evident that he must have yearned a great deal for peaceful times ahead.
This artist became well-known for his ability to bring the effects of soft light into his paintings. He concentrated more on creating a sense of atmosphere and serenity. His work touched the American writer and critic Henry Tuckerman, who said, "they appeal to our calm and thoughtful appreciation; they minister to our gentle and gracious sympathies." The term Luminism, which was created by art historians in the 20th century, is now used to describe this type of artwork. You can say that his tranquil landscape paintings, with soft hazy skies and calm waters, have the ability to calm the stripes right off a tiger...
Name That Painter!
To start on this second clue, I have to say this artist is quite interesting. His life was full of adventure. I can't wait to get to the nitty-gritty and tell ALL, my fingers want to type it in right now, but I have to do it in i-n-c-r-e-m-e-n-t-s and try ohhh try to be patient....
One thing is for sure - not all artists are so blessed to have family that encourage and support them in their artwork. This artist had both, which gave him the ability to excel in his artistic yearnings. Although this artist later devoted himself to landscape painting, his beginnings in art began with drawing, perspective, and the study of the human figure in anatomy classes. He had really planned to become a portrait painter. He even studied at the Crosby Street Medical College and the National Academy of Design in New York. But the artwork of Thomas Cole caught his eye and put a fork in the road. This proved to be a wonderful thing because it influenced him to change his path into the world of landscape painting...
By 1847, around the age of 24, he was ready to exhibit his first landscape. This experience coupled with the honors that followed, catapulted him into a life of travel and adventure (more on that to come...). He also became a leading member of the Hudson River School. This "school" was actually not a school like we may imagine, but rather a movement brought on by a group of artists whose inspiration was influenced by romanticism. The Hudson River Valley was their inspiration where they painted the valley and surrounding areas including the Catskill Mountains. Hmmmm, you have a big batch of clues here...a slam dunk for any cool art cats out there!
Name That Painter!
Ohhh the agony! There are just too many talented artists to choose from for my March Featured Artist. Well, time's a wastin', I'll have to nail it down and pick one - no, not that one yet... how about this one? No, that should be in May. Yes, I should do this one this month because I can visit that museum... this month... Okay I got it - here we go!
I'm taking you back to the early 1800's to a place in New York state (hehe - I'm not gonna make it too easy for you to google up in a jiffy - all you smartie pants out there!) This artist was born somewhere in New York in a town that was first settled around 37 years prior to his birth. But time was short lived there because he moved to another town in New York. There he spent the greater part of his childhood growing up. He must have frolicked and played along the large river and beautiful rolling hills where inspiration was born. A slice of one of his paintings is shown here. That's all I'm going to give you for now - until next week!