Tomorrow, the Portland Museum of Art in Maine opens a new exhibition of oil sketches by Frederic Edwin Church. Maine Sublime: Frederic Edwin Church’s Landscapes of Mount Desert and Mount Katahdin focuses on Church’s trips to Maine and the exquisite oil sketches he created there.
In 1850, the landscape painter Frederic Edwin Church took his first trip to Maine after viewing a portfolio of drawings by his teacher Thomas Cole, founder of the Hudson River School. His initial journey sparked an affair with Maine that persisted throughout his career. Church painted the coastlines, rocky islands, and inland hills of the northeastern state in romantic and majestic styles, establishing his place as a central figure in the Hudson River School.
The inland Mount Katahdin and the island of Mount Desert were two places in Maine that Church especially liked to explore. These natural landmarks are the setting for the twenty-three oil paintings showcased in the Portland Museum of Art’s exhibition.
The seventy-six-page exhibition catalogue was produced by Marquand Books and designed by John Hubbard. The book features more than sixty-five color illustrations and includes an essay by John Wilmerding of Princeton University.
To learn more about the exhibition Maine Sublime, visit the Portland Museum of Art. To purchase a copy of the catalogue, visit Cornell University Press.
photography by Jeremy Linden
This month, the Newport Art Museum opened A Mine of Beauty: Landscapes by William Trost Richards. The exhibition features a collection of 110 postcard-sized paintings by William Trost Richards, a mid-nineteenth-century artist famous for his marine and landscape paintings.
Richards spent his time in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Newport, Connecticut. Both places served to inspire and advance his artwork, but it was in Philadelphia where Richards met the prominent collector George Whitney. Whitney first collected Richards’s works in the 1860s, and he soon became Richards’s friend and patron. Whitney funded several of Richards’s travels abroad and was an energetic advocate for Richards’s work. Richards painted the miniature watercolor landscapes (or coupons, as he referred to them) as gifts to Whitney. The paintings were often included in Richards’s correspondence with Whitney and depict the pastures and rocky coastlines of New England as well as scenes from the artist’s travels to Scotland, England, and Italy.
When Whitney died in 1885, his estate was sold, and his collection of Richards’s finest paintings—eighty-seven in all—were forcibly dispersed. Only Whitney’s collection of the small watercolors remained together. Remarkably, these paintings recently found their way back to Philadelphia to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA). Mirroring Richards’s life, these paintings will also travel between PAFA and the Newport Art Museum.
Marquand Books produced the 156-page catalogue, designed by Zach Hooker. The book’s tactile qualities—with embossed case stamping and an imprinted image on the cover—evoke the texture and intimate details of the paintings themselves. The entire collection of miniatures is featured in the catalogue. These watercolors, reproduced on a one-to-one scale, reveal the grace and sensibility of Richards’s artistic skill, and essays by Linda S. Ferber and Anna O. Marley illuminate the history of American landscape painting that surrounds these jewellike miniatures.
To learn more about the exhibition of A Mine of Beauty: Landscapes by William Trost Richards, visit the Newport Art Museum and PAFA. To purchase a copy of the catalogue, visit ACC Distribution.
photography by Jeremy Linden
Morton C. Bradley Jr. was a curious and ambitious intellect and artist. He studied fine art at Harvard University, graduating in 1933; his scholarship led him to pursue studies in color science and theory. His professor Arthur Pope was a great influence on his sculptural work, especially Pope’s theories on color, design, and aesthetics. These theories are manifest in Bradley’s use of color in relationship to geometric forms.
Bradley created sculptures, designed to be suspended from ceilings, that explored mathematics and color. Before computer technology allowed for quick constructions of complex geometric forms, Bradley worked with a team of fabricators to build his sculptures. This team comprised the Bradley Workshop, and each person was responsible for a specific part in building the sculptures—from piecing together materials to painting the finished constructions.
Though he had the opportunity to do so, Bradley never sold his work. Upon his death in 2004, his collection was bequeathed to Indiana University, where he had family history. To commemorate and recognize the gift of Bradley’s sculptures, Indiania University published Color and Form: The Geometric Sculptures of Morton C. Bradley.
Marquand Books produced the 148-page book, which was designed by Brian Garvey with the assistance of Tina Kim. Color and Form features more than 145 color illustrations, essays by Lynn Gamwell and Evan Turner, and details on each member of Bradley’s Workshop.
To learn more about Bradley’s sculptures, visit Indiana University. To purchase a copy of Color and Form, go to Indiana University Press.
“A mural is a teaching.” —Hale Woodruff, 1970*
Established in 1867, Talladega College was one of the nation’s first colleges for African Americans after the Civil War. William Savery and Thomas Tarrant, former slaves, founded the school with the belief that educating youth was an essential step in preserving black liberties.
The college’s first purchased building hosted forty students. The building had previously housed a school for whites built by slaves—among them Savery and Tarrant. Over the years, Talladega College grew to acquire new buildings and more students. In the 1930s, the college started construction on its newest addition: Savery Library.
The artist Hale Woodruff, an adjunct professor at the school, accepted a commission to paint a series of murals for the library’s dedication. His six large-scale murals depict stories of survival and progress—from the Amistad mutiny in 1839 to scenes from the Underground Railroad and the construction of Savery Library.
This Saturday, June 9, Woodruff’s murals will make their debut at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. The High partnered with Talladega College for the restoration and exhibition of the murals. The exhibition, Rising Up: Hale Woodruff’s Murals at Talladega College, will feature the murals alongside thirty-seven other works by Woodruff, including paintings he created in Mexico and France.
Marquand Books produced the 156-page exhibition catalogue, which was designed by Susan E. Kelly. The vibrant catalogue features more than ninety color illustrations and includes essays by Stephanie Meyer Heydt, Renée Ater, and David C. Driskell.
To visit this exhibition, go to the High Museum of Art. To purchase the exhibition catalogue, visit University of Washington Press.
* Stephanie Meyer Heydt. Rising Up: Hale Woodruff’s Murals at Talladega College. (Atlanta: High Museum of Art, 2012), 121.
photography by Jeremy Linden
This week the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) opened the exhibition Ancestral Modern: Australian Aboriginal Art. The show presents work by Aboriginal Australians made from the 1970s through 2009, documenting the artistic renaissance of the world’s oldest living culture.
Although there is no word for art in Aboriginal languages, the creation and interpretation of drawings, paintings, and sculptures is deeply embedded in their culture. Aboriginal Australians are fluent in visual literacy and use art to transfer knowledge, stories, and spirituality from generation to generation. Because of the sacred nature of their art, it was often hidden from public view. However, in the last one hundred years, Aboriginal artists have chosen to share their artwork with wider audiences—sparking a contemporary art movement within Aboriginal communities.
The American collectors Margaret Levi and Robert Kaplan discovered this movement during their travels to Australia. They began their collection of Aboriginal art in the 1980s with the goal to introduce the movement to the canon of world art. Ancestral Modern is the first showing of the Kaplan and Levi Collection in a major museum in the United States.
Marquand Books produced the catalogue Ancestral Modern. The 176-page book, designed by John Hubbard, includes detailed entries for selected works and features more than one hundred color illustrations. Essays by curators Pamela McClusky, Wally Caruana, Lisa Graziose Corrin, and Stephen Gilchrist illuminate the history and creation of contemporary Aboriginal art.
To learn more about the Ancestral Modern exhibition, visit the SAM. To purchase a copy of the exhibition catalogue, visit Yale University Press.