Our Favorite 40 Museums – Part 4

31. Museum of Fine Arts Boston

With the recent Art of the Americas Wing expansion, the allure of MFA Boston has grown exponentially. These four floors showcase artworks from the entire continent – North, South, and Central America with artworks that span over 3000 years. Some of our particular favorites include works by Paul Revere, Thomas Sully, John Singer Sargent, and John Singleton Copley. The art at MFA Boston is not limited to that of the Americas. With an eclectic  collection of nearly half a million objects the museum allows you to explore many other world cultures and time periods. Located in Boston’s Back Bay area along the city’s “Avenue of the Arts” this is a museum you won’t want to miss.

Agnes Pelton "Prelude"

“Prelude” by Agnes Pelton at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

32. Peabody Essex Museum

Originally established in 1799 to house a “cabinet of natural and artificial curiosities” collected from around the world by Salem, Massachusetts sea captains of the East India Marine Society. Today’s collection has grown to include 1.8 million works including Yin Yu Tang, the only complete Qing Dynasty house outside of China. Additionally the museum owns twenty-four historic homes, buildings, and gardens in and around  eastern Massachusetts. Within the museum are spectacular collections of marine and oceanic art, American decorative art, as well as works from around the world. Their photography collection has close to a million works, including many rare images by Civil War photographer Matthew Brady. Continue reading

Holidays, Our 40th Anniversary Year Winds Down and A New Year Begins…

As the end of 2013 fast approaches, and we look forward to the excitement and challenges we’re sure to find in 2014, we’ve taken a moment to pause and reflect on our 40th year in business. The good will and cheer we’ve received from clients and associates both old and new has been heartwarming. And our daily routines continue with one overriding thought: that we have one of the best jobs in the world. Being intimately connected to art – which is the end product of a human need to express, create, share, and teach – is a privilege. Art nurtures us in ways nothing else can, and joins us together in ways nothing else can.

Francis Criss, Christmas Day

I couldn’t quite figure out why I liked art for many years. Until one day, in a quieter moment, as I sat in front of a painting I had looked at a hundred times before, I realized it was speaking to me for the hundredth time, and had never once repeated itself. The artwork hadn’t changed. Myself, and my perceptions, had. Art has the power to speak to us, and, just maybe, if we’re willing to listen, help us change and grow. I’m pretty sure that the artist’s themselves would say the act of creating can do the exact same thing.

We hope your Holiday Season will be filled with joy for you and yours. Perhaps taking a moment to reflect both inwardly and outwardly, like the subject in Francis Criss’ painting Christmas Day, would be good for everyone.

See you in 2014!

Our Favorite 40 Museums – Part 3

As we continue to celebrate our gallery’s fortieth year in business we encourage you to explore some of these exceptional museums located throughout the US.

*Note this list of museums is not in any particular order. To read about some of the other museums on our list click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2 and here for part 4 of this series.

21. Yale University Art Gallery

Established in 1832 to open up dialogue between students, faculty, and the wider public, the Yale University Art Gallery is both one of the oldest university art museums, and one of the biggest with a collection which has grown to more than 200,000 works of art. The breadth of artworks range from ancient Mediterranean to American decorative arts, paintings, and sculptures; and include the art of Islam, Asia, Europe, and Africa. The museum also has strong holdings of photography, modern, and contemporary art. Located on the Yale University campus in downtown New Haven, Connecticut this encyclopedic museum is worth a trip if you are traveling through southern New England. Separate, but not to be missed is the Yale Center for British Art, which was originally formed from a collection donated to the university by Paul Mellon ’29. Housed in a building designed by Louis I. Kahn, it is home to the largest collection of British art anywhere outside the United Kingdom.

henry Koerner, Tunnel of Love

“Tunnel of Love” by Henry Koerner at the Yale University of Art Gallery.

22. Amon Carter Museum of American Art

The cornerstone of this Texas museum’s collection lies in the Western American artworks of Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell which, along with the funds for constructing a building, were a bequest of Amon G. Carter. In the half century since the museum opened they have added significant works by American artists including Frederic Church, Winslow Homer, Daniel Chester French, Grant Wood, Stuart Davis, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Robert Laurent. The museum also houses an impressive research library containing over 50,000 volumes which compliment their collection of American art. Continue reading

Dorothy Dehner. A Grande Art Dame, Up Close & Personal…

Some days as an art dealer are better than others. Such as the day a great work, by a long admired artist, comes into your life. Dorothy Dehner (1901-1994) is one of my “You had me at hello” artists whose work I first saw more than 25 years ago. I’ve always wanted to own a sculpture by her, but the right opportunity never presented itself. Until now. A lovely little gem has found its way into our gallery, and as is the case with us art addicted folks, into my mind and heart. Please say hello to Ms. Dehner’s unique 1976 bronze (that means she cast exactly one) Bolton Landscape. Ms. Dehner fell in love with Bolton Landing, Lake George, and the Adirondack mountains after a visit in the late 1920s, when she and her then husband, sculptor David Smith, bought a farmhouse there with no running water or electricity in 1929. It was a love affair that lasted a lifetime.

Abstract forms, organic underpinnings...

Abstract forms, organic underpinnings…

Dehner led a fascinating life which included Continue reading

Our Favorite 40 Museums – Part 2

We’ve found one of the best ways to study art is to see it in person, which we’ve written about in this post. As we continue to celebrate our gallery’s fortieth year in business we encourage you to go out and explore some of these fabulous museums.

*Note this list of museums is not in any particular order. To read about some of the other museums on our list click here for Part 1, here for Part 3 and here for Part 4 of our favorite museums series.

11. Philadelphia Museum of Art One of the largest museums in the US, the Philadelphia Museum of Art grew out of the 1876 Centennial Exhibition art gallery at America’s first World’s Fair. Their collections showcase impressionist, decorative and modern arts, an extensive collection of arms and armor, as well as significant textile and costume holdings. Artworks by the French sculptor Auguste Rodin and Philadelphian born painter Thomas Eakins are featured. The museum buildings themselves are works of art so make sure to allow time to explore the outside of the museum as well.

Irene Rice Pereira Two Triangles

Irene Rice Pereira “Two Triangles” from the Philadelphia Museum of Art

12. Bowdoin College Museum of Art A gem of a college museum located in Brunswick, Maine includes in their holdings American and European paintings and sculpture, decorative arts,  and works on paper. The museum’s print collection was recently enhanced through a generous gift of over 1,500 works.  Continue reading

Deliciously Dirty – Battling Dirt, Grime & Slime

Most visitors to museums, galleries, or private collections view the art being displayed in presentation ready condition. For historical art, this usually means that somewhere along the way a trip to the conservator was necessary. Few artworks spend their existence in hermetically sealed bubbles, therefore the ravages of time can create considerable issues and challenges for conservators. The skilled hands and encyclopedic knowledge of a conservator are what can make a work of art look superb. In our experience conservators are like restaurants – you can find quick and cheap ones, exclusive and expensive ones, or ones that fall somewhere in between.

One determining factor we have when considering the purchase of a work is its condition. We love to acquire pieces which are “deliciously dirty”. By this we mean works that are basically in an untouched state – they have never been worked on by a mediocre conservator or, yikes, even worse by grandma’s brillo pad. Artworks in this unconserved state are desirable because we are able to turn them over to a highly skilled conservation team, and not have to worry about any previous efforts which might have done more harm than good. Over the years we’ve seen our fair share of artworks that are in sad states of disrepair as well as ones with unfixable issues. In many cases the owners are unaware of these condition issues and how they can potentially affect value.

John Leslie Breck before conservation

A John Leslie Breck, just a bit dirty…

One memorable work we acquired in a “deliciously dirty” state was a painting by Continue reading

Our Favorite 40 Museums – Part 1

As we celebrate our fortieth year in business we’d like to share with you some of the wonderful American art museums which have helped inform our understanding of American and European art. Sometimes built from personal collections, other times put together to fulfill a community need, these forty museums have allowed the public to engage with all types of art. In this four part series we would like to share with you some of our favorite US museums, with the understanding that this is just the beginning.

*Note this list of museums are not in any particular order.

1. Everson Museum of Art Located in Syracuse New York, our backyard, the Everson Museum was designed by the well-known architect I. M. Pei. Their main focus is on ceramics. and they also have a select collection of paintings, including works by Sanford Gifford, Gilbert Stuart, Edward Hicks, and Eastman Johnson.

Oliver Ingraham Lay "Two Friends"

Oliver Ingraham Lay “Two Friends” from the Everson Museum.

2. Historic Deerfield A classic 18-century New England village, wonderfully restored with period furnishings, textiles, artwork, and crafts. Historic Deerfield focuses on the culture and history of Deerfield, Massachusetts a town which was settled in 1669. The architecture and contents of the twelve original houses that line Main Street have been carefully preserved and may be viewed by guided or self-guided tours.

3. Frick Collection Both a museum and research center, the Frick Collection was initially assembled by industrialist Henry Clay Frick and is located in his former home on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Featuring works by Whistler, Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Gainsborough the museum is a small gem located along Manhattan’s Museum Mile. 

4. Smith College Museum of Art In our opinion one of the most impressive collections of a college of this size. The collection at the Smith College Museum of Art in Northampton, Massachusetts was put together to facilitate the study and appreciation of visual arts. Established in 1879 to support the college curriculum, the museum has focused on American and European art. In the ensuing years the collection has grown to include African, Islamic and Asian art. Featured artists include Wheeler, Bellows, Copley, Bierstadt, Degas, Monet, and Cézanne.  Continue reading