As I did in my two previous posts on my spring visit to the Saint Louis Art Museum, I want to highlight a few of the artworks that caught my eye in some of the newly redecorated and rehung galleries. I walk through all of the museum’s galleries. A lot of them where still being reworked. And also, I was wearing myself out. So here are some of the things I stopped to see.
As I hinted in yesterday’s teaser, the Alexander Calder mobile has a gallery all to it alone. The overhead lighting is subdued and the kinetic sculpture’s elements are highlights with small spotlights.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of Max Beckmann and the German artists, but they are being shown in one of the larger galleries.
Saint Peter’s in Rome
Then I went up to the third floor galleries where the American art is displayed. I have always been a fan of George Caleb Bingham who was a Missouri artist and politician who captured the life and times of the people who lived in the towns around the Missouri and Mississippi River’s in the mid-19th century. That was when my great-grandparents arrived in Saint Louis from Germany and Poland. My paternal great-grandfather from Germany was a brick-maker and made the red bricks that made Saint Louis the red brick city. My maternal great-grandfather from Poland who could speak Polish, French, German and English work as a government land agent who helped newly arriving immigrants to GO WEST and settle in Oklahoma, Texas and other western territories. Looking at Bingham’s paintings, I can discover what some of the things that they experienced.
Augustus Saint-Gaudens sculpture
I’ve also always liked the work of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, though most people only remember him as the man who designed the US coins in the golden era coinage.
This statue of Queen Zenobia is the work of Harriet Hosmer who was one of the first American sculptress. It was created in 1859. She lived in Saint Louis and the work was displayed in this building in 1904 at the World’s Fair. The museum displays a photo taken at the time showing the work. Then it disappeared … for over a hundred years. Then in 2007, a member of the museum’s board was browsing in an antique shop in South Saint Louis when he rediscovered the lost work. After it was cleaned, it returned to the museum.
After setting a spell on one of the comfortable leather settees the museum provides for viewers to rest while contemplating the artworks, I headed for home to return another day to take all the galleries I missed.
COMING JUNE 29 – THE NEW MUSEUM ADDITION
A sneak peek of the new sandstone sculpture commissioned for the new addition.
Still infected with the infernal Gilbert and Sullivan Mikado earworm, I decided to pick up my art trek in the museum’s Far East galleries with a few items that really caught my eye …
From Japan …
Then I moved on to the new gallery which features the art of Imperial Rome …
Sometimes, it’s nice to just contemplate the work of people responsible for the culture we know today.
TO BE CONTINUED …
Well, after three days of racing against the arrival of yet another week of daily rain I finally wore my self out mowing too tall grass, weed whacking invasive growths and reseeding the bare spots left by last years total drought. I don’t think we’re going to be worrying about that this year. And weather-wise, the weather wizards have removed the snow potential from the local forecasts … just rain from late today to next Wednesday.
The finishing touches are underway in the museum’s new addition scheduled to open at the end of June. In the original Cass Gilbert Palace Of Fine Art (1904) all the galleries have been repainted, spruced up and rehung with a lot of art that has been in storage for years.
The first work on the east end of the building appears to represent historic art and culture. In his right hand he holds a mini-Sphinx and in his left a symbolic tool. Feel free to comment if you can identify it. As you can see, the pigeons have not been kind to the young man. (Did you know that if you click on the photo, you will get an enlarged image? Click in that image and you will get an extreme closeup of the image.)
The first thing you see when you enter the museum is the Sculpture Hall.Gilbert based his design for the museum on the ancient Roman Baths of Caracalla. Or what historians imagine what it looked like.
The center panel of Monet’s Water Lily Triptych
A smaller work by Seurat.
Well, that ends the Art Trekking for today. Hope you enjoyed it!
To be continued …
IMPERIAL ROME COMING UP IN PART TWO
If you’re visiting Saint Louis, be sure to add the Art Museum in Forest Park to your don’t miss list. It’s FREE to all, Tuesday through Sunday. Closed on Monday.
It’s May! It’s May!
The lusty month of May!
That lovely month when ev’ryone goes
It’s here, It’s here!
That shocking time of year
When tons of wicked little thoughts
It’s May! It’s May!
That gorgeous holiday
When ev’ry maiden prays that her lad
Will be a cad!
It’s mad! It’s gay!
A libelous display!
Those dreary vows that ev’ryone takes,
Ev’ryone makes divine mistakes
The lusty month of May!
Just thought I should welcome the new month with a little musical interlude. Hope everyone joined in with the singing.
SIMPLE CODE!!! How can anyone expect me to understand the object of the puzzle so early in the morning, much less solve it? I’ll be back later.
And finally, just for elegance!
More from my Art Walk later this afternoon.
Everyday hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people visit the Art Museum in Saint Museum. By a wonder how many of them actually look up at the sculpture directly over the main entrance door. I’ve seen it hundreds of times, but if you asked me to describe it … I’d draw a blank. I know that it hasseveral figures in it. But I have no idea what they’re doing. Well, here’s that sculpture.
It is the work of Hermon A. MacNeil who created it for renowned Beaux Arts architect, Cass Gilbert’s Palace of Fine Arts at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904, more commonly known as THE SAINT LOUIS WORLD’S FAIR. Today it is just the Saint Louis Art Museum. MacNeil had a very successful career as a sculptor and his works can be seen all across the US.
In case you’re wondering, ARS ARTIUM OMNIUM is Latin that translates “The Art Of All Arts.”
Is it just me, or does it look like the sculpture was cut in half and reassemble when it was attached to the front of the building. By the way, the Palace of Fine Arts was the only permanent stone structure built for the fair. Also an exact duplicate of the building only made of wood and plaster and horse hair stood across from this building. It was for the exhibiting of paintings.
Now I guess I’ll have to go back and photograph the other two panels of the work.
REFLECTIONS ARE FOREVER
My favorite spot for reflection in the City of Saint Louis is the historic Palace Of Fine Arts designed by Cass Gilbert for the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition … known locally as the Saint Louis Worlds Fair. Today, everyone simply calls it … The Art Museum.
It was the only permanent building built for the fair, and second only to the Arch it is probably the most photographed building in the city. I started this blog by noting it is my favorite spot for reflection. And I mean reflection in both senses of the word. And this is because of the East Stair case where you can find a reflection that literally goes on …FOREVER! And while it goes on forever, you’re only reflected once. Well, actually, twice … but I’ll never know because I’ve never held a camera behind my back to see what the other side of this photo would look like.
On Sunday I joined family members and friend’s for a special guided tour of the Saint Louis Art Museum’s current special exhibit FEDERICO BAROCCI RENAISSANCE MASTER. This will be the last major exhibition in the Museum’s original Cass Gilbert Palace of the Fine Arts built for the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exhibition. After this exhibit moves on to London’s National Museum in January, the space reserved for major exhibits will be reconfigured into major galleries for the European Collection. Future major exhibits will be held in the museum’s expansion building that will officially open on June 29.
Rest on the Return from Egypt 1570-73 (Vatican Museums, Vatican City)
Barocci born in Urbino, Italy in 1533 is regarded as one of the preeminent artists of the 16th century. His work is noted for its brilliant coloring and detailing. Check the dress fabric on Mary’s right arm. He is recognized as one of the most prolific and influential draftsmen in history and more than 1,500 studies made in preparation for his paintings survive today. And many of these studies are on display next to the paintings for which they were made in this exhibit.
The exhibition which is the first major show of Barocci’s work was organized by the Saint Louis Art Museum in association with the National Gallery, London. Paintings, drawings and sketches on view are part of more than a half dozen European collections.
Nativity, 1597 (Museo Nacional Del Prado, Madrid, Spain
Study of the Christ Child — chalk with pastel on blue paper
(The Royal Collection, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II)
Annunciation 1582-84 (Vatican Museums, Vatican City)
Study for the head of the Virgin Mary – chalk and pastel on blue paper
(The Royal Collection, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II)
Portrait of Francesco Maria II della Rovere the Duke of Urbino , 1571-72 / Barocci’s patron
(Uffizi in Florence)
Barocci was one of the most highly paid artists specializing in creating and painting altarpieces for Roman churches. Except for two trips to Rome, he lived and worked most of his career in Urbino. On his last trip to Rome he was invited to a picnic where he was supposedly poisoned by rivals who envied his close relationship with Michelangelo. He left Rome and never returned.
Our tour of the exhibit was very impressive and the presentation of the artwork was outstanding. I should point out that since many of the works in the exhibit were alterpieces to be shown in a church, they were much larger than the usual painting you see in a museum. They ranged in size from six to twelve feet tall, and required several years to be completed.
Interesting note, only male models posed for the figures seen in Barocci’s artwork. In some of his preliminary sketches you can see the progression in stages from the male nude figure to the female figure that would be in the final painting. While the finished paintings are striking, the early sketches show what an extraordinary artist Barocci was. Here’s my favorite sketch … it is for the head of Saint John, the Evangelist in the painting THE ENTOMBMENT. According to tradition John was the youngest of the apostles and Barocci painted him as a youth. In his gospel John refers to himself as the disciple Jesus loved. He is also the only apostle to die of old age at the start of the second century A.D.
(Oil on paper mounted on linen – 1580) National Gallery Of Art, Washington, D.C.