Thursday, September 08, 2016

New England Impressionists, "Hollyhocking," and Runaway Squash

New London, Connecticut

Today we went on a mini-expedition to the LymanAllyn Art Museum and the Florence Griswold House and Museum. Tina was particularly interested to get to the show "A Good Summer's Work," which ends this week. It's essentially a small but wonderful collection of work by the circle of J. Alden Weir, and the paintings and sculpture they made around the turn of the 19th/20th centuries with subject matter in eastern Connecticut. There's also a room of Weir's portraits of family members including the dog, Bush.

One of his paintings was accompanied by an informative placard explaining his use of the term "hollyhocking." I'll quote it here in a picture. It's important to understand that to make this picture, Weir substantially moved the location of the mountain in the background to make the scene more harmonious.

Key sentence, "As art historian Hildegard Cummings explains: 'If, to be good, a picture needed the introduction of a hollyhock or some new bit...then holyhocking was in order.'" The current term is, I think, "Photoshopping."

From there we were off to Old Lyme for the Florence Griswold Museum, "Home of American Impressionism." Tina was curious about the current show here because she'd seen something about in on the web and thought it was a bit of an odd topic, something about American Impressionists and gardens, but she was curious because several of the pictures were credited as on loan from her old school, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

Old Lyme, Connecticut

It turned out, the show was organized by the Academy. "Paintings and stained glass from the Pennsylvania Academy are blended with paintings, sculpture, prints, books, and photographs from the Florence Griswold Museum's permanent collection, as well as selected private loans." This was a wonderful surprise. At school, to escape from the student classrooms and studios in the depths of the building, she would head upstairs to the galleries to study the work on the walls for hours on end. Suddenly she was seeing the same paintings 45 years later. With very different, vastly more experienced eyes. A real treat.

There are also beautiful gardens on the grounds and while exploring those, moving from the large flower gardens to the smaller vegetable garden, we encountered this overambitious squash.

Pumpkin, maybe? It seems bent on commandeering the contemplation bench.

1 comment:

Markus said...

That first image is just wonderful, Carl!