Fear No Art

A Familiar Goddess

As a recent addition to the Amon Carter’s staff as an assistant curator, and as a newcomer to Fort Worth, it’s comforting to have art around that reminds me of my east coast origins and the places I’ve been. Chances are, if you have the opportunity to care for and interpret a stellar collection of American art, you have had the privilege of engaging with one of the Diana sculptures created by the renowned nineteenth-century artist Augustus Saint-Gaudens. As I ascend the Amon Carter’s Atrium stairs, I am delighted to be greeted by our bronze Diana of the Tower.

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Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907), Diana of the Tower, bronze, 1899

A close friend of celebrated New York architect Stanford White, Saint-Gaudens was asked around 1887 to create a sculpture to adorn the top of the architect’s Madison Square Garden. Saint-Gaudens chose to make a monumental weathervane depicting the Roman goddess of the hunt, Diana. Traditional classical sculptures of Diana were robust, but Saint-Gaudens, in the only female nude sculpture of his oeuvre, sculpted a more lithe version of the goddess, delicately balanced on one foot as if interrupted mid-hunt. When the original eighteen-foot-tall Diana, adorned with flying drapery, was installed atop the building’s tower, White and Saint-Gaudens were dismayed to discover she was out of proportion with the building and too unwieldy to move well. Down she came to be replaced with the thirteen-foot Diana now in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, my former curatorial home. She was the talk of the town in her heyday.

Nineteenth-century Americans judged the sculpted goddess a major hit, and she quickly became the most famous nude in the country. Saint-Gaudens then went about creating intricate bronze reductions of the larger goddess. Each one of the smaller versions was modeled by hand and varied in the configuration of bow, arrow, string, hair, patination, and base. So, even though I have seen a Diana or two in my day, there’s always something special to see with each encounter.

Our 1899 small-scale Diana of the Tower is not the lone representative of the sculpture in our collection, or even in Fort Worth. Over time, the Amon Carter has acquired three different versions of Saint-Gaudens’s Diana – the bronze, an early concrete sculpture, and the large gilded version that now resides at Fort Worth’s Bass Hall.

Though a late-nineteenth-century artwork holds intrinsic appeal for me as an art historian, Diana is of particular interest to me as a former competitive archer. While Saint-Gaudens’s technique is beyond reproach, archers will tell you that the goddess could benefit from a few pointers. Suffice it to say, none of my competitors ever prospered by pulling the bowstring back behind the ear, and I never saw an Olympian able to shoot a bow standing on tippy toes!

Maggie Adler, Assistant Curator

Welcome Home

The Amon Carter staff were very excited to welcome a new acquisition of a major, full-length painting by John Singer Sargent (1856–1925). The work, titled Edwin Booth from 1890, is a portrait of the great 19th-century Shakespearean actor, Edwin Booth (1833–1893).

ACMAA director Andrew Walker introduces a new acquisition.

John Singer Sargent, Edwin Booth, 1890

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Come visit the museum and see this important piece of American art for yourself. Admission is always free.

Happy Birthday Thomas Eakins

Thomas Eakins was born on this day in 1844. Swimming is considered an American masterpiece and the pinnacle of his work as a realist painter and teacher. The painting was originally purchased from the artist's widow by the Friends of Art in Fort Worth, who gave it to the city's Art Association as a worthy addition to its public art gallery.

Thomas Eakins, Swimming, 1885, oil on canvas, Purchased by the Friends of Art, Fort Worth Art Association, 1925; acquired by the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 1990, from the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth through grants and donations from the Amon G. Carter Foundation, the Sid W. Richardson Foundation, the Anne Burnett and Charles Tandy Foundation, Capital Cities/ABC Foundation, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The R. D. and Joan Dale Hubbard Foundation and the people of Fort Worth

Thomas Eakins (18414-1916)
Swimming, 1885
oil on canvas
Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, Purchased by the Friends of Art, Fort Worth Art Association, 1925; acquired by the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 1990, from the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth through grants and donations from the Amon G. Carter Foundation, the Sid W. Richardson Foundation, the Anne Burnett and Charles Tandy Foundation, Capital Cities/ABC Foundation, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The R. D. and Joan Dale Hubbard Foundation and the people of Fort Worth.
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Behind the Scenes: Installing Hidden in Plain Site

Currently on view in the museum atrium is Hidden in Plain Site, a monumental art work that includes four canvases. Artist Sedrick Huckaby wanted to celebrate the artistic merit of his grandmother’s quilts and explore the idea of quilts containing hidden messages. The process used by the artist to create this and other works was directly inspired by the collages of Romare Bearden, some of which are featured in the special exhibition Romare Bearden: A Black Odyssey now on view through August 11, 2013.

Installing "Hidden in Plain Site" by Sedrick HuckabyInstalling "Hidden in Plain Site" by Sedrick HuckabyArtist Sedrick Huckaby

Hanging a large-scale piece takes many hours of planning and collaboration. The project began four months before the works even came into the museum. Jim Belknap, Installation Manager, visited Huckaby’s studio to look at the paintings and get an idea of what it would take to hang 300 pounds of wood, canvas, and paint on the walls of the museum. Not only was the safety of the art at stake, but the integrity of the delicate shell stone walls in the museums’ atrium were an important issue during the installation.

A framework system was constructed on which the paintings were hung. (The design and build process took two months.) Framework and paintings would then hang on a pulley-and-cable system that was attached to a bronze channel already installed in the wall. The original channel proved to be too deep and new metal channel inserts had to be created to hold the bolts for the pulley/cable system.

Installation started on a Monday at 8 a.m. and was completed by 6 p.m. The work had to be completed before the museum reopened on Tuesday morning. This project required four professional art handlers, two registrars, two contractors, three lifts, and a step ladder from the Teaching Resource Center. The artist was on hand during the last hours of the installation and he didn’t seem at all worried about his creation. The result is a wonderful marriage of art, careful planning, and precision engineering.

Hidden in Plain Site will be on view until October 31, 2013. Don’t miss it!

Spring Today Summer Tomorrow

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2013 Family Fun Week2013 Family Fun Week2013 Family Fun Week

Lots of friends are making their way to the Amon Carter this week for our spring break Family Fun Week! Come look at art, talk about art, even make some art to take home.

Admission is free and strollers are welcome.

Welcome NAEA

Welcome bags for NAEA

The National Art Education Association's annual conference starts Thursday in Fort Worth and we're thrilled to have our colleagues come to Cowtown to collaborate on art education topics.
We invite all of our NAEA friends to come on over to the Amon Carter and stop into the bookstore for a welcome bag (just show them your conference badge) and our best wishes for a great conference!

Happy Holidays!

All of the staff at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art
would like to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The ACM Staff wishes you a Merry Christmas!

Long Live Rock n' Roll

November 30th marks some milestones in music history:

Dick Clark was born on this date in 1929 in Mount Vernon, New York.
Michael Jackson's "Thriller" was released 30 years ago today. (How is that possible?)
Pink Floyd debuted "The Wall" 33 years ago. Everyone go home, cue up "The Wizard of Oz" and enjoy!

William H. Johnson, Street Musicians, ca. 1942-1943, modified screen print.

William Henry Johnson (1901-1970)
Street Musicians, ca. 1942-1943
Modified screen print
Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas
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Teacher's Night Out

Tell your teacher friends to head over to the Cultural District tonight from 4:00 until 7:00 for the Evening for Educators in the Cultural District, our annual open house celebrating teachers throughout the metroplex. All of the museums in the Fort Worth Cultural District will be open and free to teachers so come on down, learn about museum programs that will enrich your teaching experience, and see some great art. (There's food and take-aways too!)

Museum staff share ideas with teachers

Museum staff are available to inform you about educator programs and share ideas.

Time to look at American art!

Take a look at museum collections and find out how you can share them with your students.

Teachers meet up and make a night of it.

Meet your friends and make it a night out to remember in the Fort Worth Cultural District!

Synchronicity with Style

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Surprising sighting of stripes on the staff today. Visitors may wear whatever they like.