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

Virtual vs. Tactile – Plastic Bubbles and the Art of Experiencing Art

In 2011, internet search giant Google announced the Google Art Project, which allows anyone with an internet connection to access images of artworks housed in museums around the world. The initial roster of institutions was 17, with another 151 institutions added in 2012. Google recently added 20 more institutions. Museum collections in over 40 countries are now represented – available to be experienced in 20 different languages.

In terms of delivering visual images of artworks to home computers, tablets, and smartphones, today’s internet is a dream come true conduit for museums, galleries, artists, art collectors, art aficionados, and private dealers such as ourselves. The internet serves up a broad and seemingly endless supply of visual art, from masterworks such as Van Gogh’s Starry Night to the less sublime yet still compelling thrift store classic Velvet Elvis, all in real-time. There’s no need to travel, buy admission tickets, or even change out of your favorite pajama’s in order to virtually visit a lifetime supply of art via the internet. You don’t even have to whisper or leave your food and drinks outside. It doesn’t get any better than that. Or does it?

Garofalo's Annunciation at Musei Capitolini

Coming now to a screen of your choosing.

We’re in an age where our collective attention spans are shortening while simultaneously being conditioned to absorb ever-increasing amounts of information that gets delivered to us in smaller sized scraps of sounds and sights. It is a testament to the power and mysteries of the human brain that more of us don’t go cross-eyed just trying to keep up.

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Happy Birthday Ogden Pleissner

It’s no secret the principals of The Caldwell Gallery love to fly-fish. Our catch and release fishing echoes the “catch and release” nature of selling art. A purchase can be thought of as a catch, and the subsequent sale is the release. In between, we like to think of ourselves as custodians instead of owners. We first encountered Ogden Pleissner (1905-1983) through his sporting art, specifically his fly-fishing paintings. As an avid sportsman himself, Pleissner’s intimate knowledge and experience as a fisherman and hunter brought an authenticity to his art which other sportsmen appreciated during his lifetime…and in the thirty years since his passing.

Ogden Pleissner at work in an undated photo.

The sportsman at work in an undated photo.

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