The upcoming special exhibition The Allure of Paper: Watercolors and Drawings from the Collection was organized in celebration of our 50th anniversary. The museum has been acquiring drawings and watercolors since its inception. Yet these one-of-a-kind works of art have never been displayed together on such an extensive scale. Because all of these works are on paper---which fades every time it is exposed to light---many of them have not been exhibited for over ten years!
Jane Myers, the museum’s former Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings, discusses seventy-three of these treasured artworks in the catalogue that will accompany the exhibition. Beginning July 9, closer to ninety artworks will be on view in the galleries allowing visitors a chance to see the depth and breadth of our collection.
These watercolors and drawings date from the late eighteenth century to the latter part of the twentieth century and include landscapes, still lifes, portraits, scenes of everyday life, and even avant-garde abstractions. Featured artists include Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, John Singer Sargent, Ben Shahn, and Joseph Stella, among many others. With such a diversity of artists, subjects, and styles represented, there is literally something for everyone in this exhibition. Check out some of the featured artworks below and then keep checking the blog as we give you an inside look at this exhibition in posts through October.
John Rubens Smith (1775--1849)
Portrait of Frances Isabella Moore (Mrs. John Heffernan), 1814
Transparent and opaque watercolor over graphite on paper
William Constable (1783--1861)
The Great Falls of the Mohawk, ca. 1825--30
Watercolor over graphite on paper
Gift of Mr. J. A. Curran
John La Farge (1835--1910)
Still Life of Petunias in a Glass Vase, 1884
Pastel on paper
Acquisition in memory of Bartlett H. Hayes, Jr., Trustee, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 1968--1976
Joseph Stella (1877--1946)
Untitled, ca. 1914--18
Transparent and opaque watercolor and graphite on watercolor paper
Post written by Shirley Reece-Hughes, assistant curator of paintings and sculpture
A recent study by Koenraad Cuypers of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology reveals that visiting a museum can be good for your health.
Scientists agree that leisure activities, including cultural events, reduce stress. Cuypers' study focused on two different ways of participating in a cultural activity: the “creative” culture where the person actually participates in the activity; and the “receptive” culture where the person simply views the event. Creative culture includes singing in a choir or dancing or creating art. Receptive culture includes watching a ballet or seeing a play - or visiting a museum.
I was very surprised to learn that men thought they benefited more from receptive cultural activities than women did. Cuypers added that the more activities the respondent participated in, the better their perceived health. So the next time you ask the guy in your life to come to the Amon Carter and he rolls his eyes, just tell him it’s good for him.
Ruth Orkin (1921-1985)
Woody Allen — Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1963
Gelatin silver print
On this date in 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge, linking Brooklyn and Manhattan, was opened to traffic. German emigrant John Augustus Roebling conceived the design but did not live to see it even begin. He died from injuries sustained in an accident while overlooking the building site. His son, Washington Roebling, saw the project to completion but not without enduring his own physical problems directly due to working on this project.
Roebling used a series of wooden boxes called caissons to build his foundation for what would become the largest suspension bridge in the world. The boxes, built like an upside down barge, would be sealed watertight, floated, then pushed into position by tugs. At the proper place it would be sunk then the water pumped out while air was pumped in for the workers who were digging down to the bedrock. At the same time huge stone towers were being built on top of the caissons, helping them to sink down. Once the towers were in place the anchorages were built. These would hold up the cables and keep the roadbed from sagging. Each anchorage weighed 120,000,000 pounds. Much of the cable work was done by sailors since they had experience doing work while hanging from high masts.
This incredible structure is also the source of inspiration for many artists. No fewer than seventy works of art that directly include this structure are in our permanent collection. Oscar award winning cinematographer and photographer Karl Struss was particularly captivated by this bridge. We have thirty two photographs by this artist devoted to this historic landmark.
Karl Struss (1886-1981)
Cables--New York Skyline through Brooklyn Bridge, ca. 1910-1912
FYI…John Roebling also designed a Texas landmark. The Waco suspension bridge opened in 1869 right next to the original site of the town.
Waco Suspension Bridge. 2 January 2007. Image by Georgi Petrov.
The Amon Carter recently joined with the Botanical Research Institute of Texas to work with area students on the Great Tree Essay Writing Contest, a project focusing on area trees. Area third-graders wrote stories about trees and submitted them and one of the prizes was to read their story during a live interactive videoconference in the special exhibition gallery here at the museum. Congratulations go out to Nina Williams from Tanglewood Elementary School and Karino Gibson from Daggett Montessori School for their winning insightful stories. All of the students in Karino and Nina’s classes were asked to study and prepare questions concerning works of art that featured trees, and several students shared their questions with 31 schools from across the nation during the broadcast.
Students from Tanglewood Elementary School and Daggett Montessori School in Fort Worth, Texas, participate in an interactive video broadcast from the special exhibition galleries.
A tip of the hat goes to our newest neighbor in the Cultural District! The Botanical Research Institute of Texas will soon open its doors to the public for the first time . The new facility is LEEDS certified and ready to be an important part of Fort Worth’s educational landscape.
We recently had one of many events celebrating our fiftieth anniversary. The weather was great and allowed us to end the evening on a high note: fireworks!
Mark your calendars for another fun event. Fifty Fest will be held August 13th. Dancing, food, and fun will await you after you have a great time in the galleries learning about and making art.
Thanks to art blogger extraordinaire Tyler Green for featuring photographs from the Amon Carter's massive Eliot Porter archive in special Earth Day posts on his 3rd of May and Modern Art Notes blogs! These photographs are the perfect choice for Earth Day: Eliot Porter shot tens of thousands of ecologically-oriented landscape and bird photographs during his sixty-year career.
And to celebrate, here is an Eliot Porter photograph that he happened to take on this day in 1970, the very first Earth Day.
Eliot Porter (1901-1990), Poppy Field, Eretria, Euboea, Greece, April 22, 1970, dye imbibition print, Bequest of the artist, ©1990 Amon Carter Museum of American Art
Many of the books in the Nature Bound: Illustrated Botanical Books exhibition feature very delicate, hand-colored illustrations that require an extra level of care. The pigments in the watercolor media used to color the images are very sensitive to light. Exposure to intense light or even lower light levels over a long duration can cause the colors to fade. Though we keep the light levels quite low in the gallery, the duration of the exhibition was long enough to require that we choose new illustrations about halfway through. Early last week we rotated the images on about twenty books. We found that this was not an easy task because it required that the new images continue to work with thematic and aesthetic relationships in the exhibition. In a few cases, it also meant that our art handlers had to create new plastic cradles in order to hold the book open to the new page. But the bonus for our viewers is that they now have the good fortune to see a fresh selection of images. Many of them are at least as, if not more, stunning than the last round. Please come by and take a look!
Julian Onderdonk, A Cloudy Day, Bluebonnets near San Antonio, Texas, oil on canvas, 1918, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, Purchase with funds from the Ruth Carter Stevenson.
Although the wildflower show isn't as magnificent during our dry year, the bluebonnets are still popping up all over the state. Julian Onderdonk was a Texas artist who influenced the arts in the state through his work organizing art exhibitions for the State Fair of Texas. Enjoy this lovely nod to the Texas Hill Country and think spring!
Our recent "supermoon" event had a lot of folks out on the portico of the museum photographing the great view of downtown. Museum friend David Gunn shared his photo of Claudia Camp, TCU professor, with the moon rising majestically over the Henry Moore installation on our plaza.