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I have fallen a week behind! Last week was the meeting of our museum’s board of trustees, so perhaps that explains why.

Our most recent acquisitions were presented during that board meeting. One notable addition to the museum’s collection is Larry Sultan’s large-scale photograph Novato, from his series Homeland, which focused on the landscape near his home in Corte Madera, California.

Novato, 2007

Larry Sultan (1946–2009), Novato, 2009, dye coupler print, Purchase with funds provided by the Stieglitz Circle of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, courtesy of Estate of Larry Sultan/Wirtz Gallery

This important series was the last the artist completed before his untimely death in 2009 from cancer. Sultan hired day laborers to pose as actors in a semi-uncultivated landscape that abuts the edge of a housing community. The multiple layers of meaning in this work are riveting, but what struck me when I saw it in San Francisco for the first time was its pastoral qualities. It reminded me of another work in the Amon Carter’s collection: Thomas Cole’s The Hunter’s Return, painted in 1845.

Hunter's Return

Thomas Cole (1801–1848), The Hunter's Return, 1845, oil on canvas

The settled landscape emerging out of the “wilderness” in both works is one point of intersection, but I would be interested to know what you think. What points of similarity or difference do you see? Write me in the comments section, and I will respond. And if you would like to see the Sultan work, stay tuned. I will let you know in my next blog when the opportunity will be available to you.

Comments

What a great acquisition and my favorite photo from Sultan's series "Homeland." My first impression of "Navato" gave me a strong feeling of Andrew Wyeth's pallete with all the gray tones and the grasses in the foreground. In comparing it to a piece in the Amon Carter collection I can see how it might remind you of Thomas Cole's "The Hunter's Return." I'll have to get over to the museum to look at Cole's painting in order to contemplate it further. Loved the show tonight of Charles Russell's watercolors. I was amused that I had always associated Russell with his sculptures and oil paintings even though I was aware that he was a watercolorist. I will definitely visit the show again before it ends.

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