Warning: main(services.php) [function.main]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/jimp2871/public_html/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/add-to-any/add-to-any.php on line 42

Warning: main() [function.include]: Failed opening 'services.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/local/php5/pear') in /home/jimp2871/public_html/wordpress/wp-content/plugins/add-to-any/add-to-any.php on line 42
Blue Heron Fine Art Blog

Alex Katz and Renoir, Intimate Moments

by Jim Puzinas on May 31, 2012

It always is an uplifting experience when I go to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Recently, I had the opportunity to view two featured exhibitions currently on display – Alex Katz Prints and Dancing with Renoir.

Alex Katz, detail   (screenprint) at the MFA

Alex Katz, detail, Gray Day (screenprint), 1992 at the MFA

Downstairs, in the Gund Gallery, I explored the wonderfully colorful Alex Katz print exhibition. His take on the commercialization of the world has been around for years utilized by such Pop Art giants as Lichtenstein and Warhol, featuring intimate, close up, larger than life, head shots of people, some famous, some not. This motif has been used by the advertising industry for many years, trying to get us to buy something. But instead of poking fun at the increasing and occasional vulgar overuse of common images in our culture, Alex Katz chooses this large format device to create an intimate yet almost voyeuristic focus on his lovely wife and muse, Ana Katz. 

Alex Katz, detail, Brisk Day (woodblock), Brisk Day (aquatint), Brisk Day (Screenprint), 1990 at MFA

Alex Katz, detail, Brisk Day (woodblock), Brisk Day (aquatint), Brisk Day (Screenprint), 1990 at MFA

Although Katz created his prints through various processes such as aquatint, screenprint and lithography, it is his deeply color-saturated large scale woodblock prints of Ana that are clearly my favorite, revealing her lush colored lips and deeply expressive eyes. 

Renoir, Dancing Couple at the MFA

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Dance at Bougival, Dance in the City, and Dance in the Country, all 1883.

This romantic intimacy that Katz captures is somewhat unique for most Pop Art works, but not so for fine art in general. A hundred plus years earlier, Renoir set up a similar response in the viewer, by painting a larger than life couple, intertwined and dancing with fervid abandon. The “Dancing with Renoir” exhibition on display upstairs in the European Gallery,  features three works, all painted by Renoir in 1883, that  focus entirely on this romantic couple, almost as a silhouette, with little background distraction. All the action is in their interaction, captured in the split second of a dance swirl.  

Renoir, Husband and wife, pastel at the MFA

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, the Boating Couple, pastel at the MFA

In like fashion, Renoir was also able to entice a voyeuristic response in his wonderful medium size pastel self portrait of himself and his wife-to-be, entitle “The Boating Couple”. Likely a study for the figural elements of his larger dancing couple series, this pastel lures the viewer into an intimate scene between husband and wife.  

Both Renoir and Katz explore our human desire to both peer into other peoples lives and ponder what just happened or is about to happen: two artists, spanning more than a century, evoking similar thoughts from the viewer. Which image is your favorite?

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

The Cahoon Museum, Cotuit, MA

The Cahoon Museum, Cotuit, MA

It is not often that a small museum is able to mount an exhibition of works that span three generations of a single family of artists. Kudos should be given to Richard Waterhouse, the new director of The Cahoon Museum in Cotuit, MA for doing just that.  Waterhouse’s desire to learn more about several paintings by Charles Gruppe in his family’s collection, led him to assemble the expansive new exhibition, “A Family of Artists: Gruppe Family”, now on display at the museum through April 29th.  The Gruppe family artists represented in this show include: Charles Paul Gruppe (1860-1940), his sons Emile (1896-1978) and Karl (1893-1982), and his grandson Robert Charles Gruppe (1944- ).

Richard Waterhouse, Director of the Cahoon Museum

Richard Waterhouse, Director of the Cahoon Museum

The patriach of this artistic  family, Charles Gruppe, was born in Canada, and moved to New York State was he was ten.  Primarily a tonalist landscape and marine painter, Charles Gruppe was largely self-taught, eventually settling in Holland for a time where he was recognized by the Dutch as being one of America’s most gifted painters of the late 19th Century.

 In 1925, after seeing a number of Rockport and Gloucester harbor scenes painted by Frederick Mulhaupt at an exhibition in New York, father and son Emile traveled to the Cape Ann area of Massachusetts to experience the great light that had so inspired Mulhaupt’s canvases. There, they fell in love with the location, set up studios and painted for the rest of their lives. 

Charles P. Gruppe, Bass Rocks, Gloucester

The author with the painting on loan from our gallery, Charles P. Gruppe, Bass Rocks, Gloucester

There are many fine examples of Charles’ work displayed on the museum’s first floor ranging from his Dutch tonalist pieces, as seen above with Richard Waterhouse, to his higher keyed colorful impressionist scenes of the Gloucester area. In the painting  above, Charles Gruppe captures the fleeting glimpses of sunlight as the light beams break through the clouds and illuminate an otherwise grey day at the shore. 

Two rooms on the second floor are dedicated to the paintings by Emile Gruppe. Emile had a very strong art background and received his initial training from his father before being educated in art at The Hague in the Netherlands and in New York City at the National Academy of Design and The Arts Students League. 

One of many Emile Gruppe paintings exhibited.

One of many fine Emile Gruppe paintings exhibited.

Best known for his variety of Impressionistic landscapes, especially for views of fishing boats docked at Gloucester and Rockport, Emile painted with bold impasto and often with mauve undertones. So it is of no surprise, that this show includes prime examples of what collectors of this artist look for in acquiring one of his paintings. Large scale works painted in the early 30’s through the late 1950’s  demonstrate the versatility of an artist in capturing a wide range of vistas from locations which he frequently painted, including several in Florida.

Karl Gruppe, Return of Spring, bronze sculpture.

Karl Gruppe, Return of Spring, bronze sculpture.

 A most unexpected surprise was the sculpture gallery featuring bronzes by Karl Gruppe artfully arranged in an adjoining second floor room. The four delicately wrought pieces, on loan to the exhibit from a Gruppe family member, are of such high quality that one is immediately reminded of the work of sculpture legends Paul Manship or Daniel Chester French. 

As a fine art dealer it was surprising I was unfamiliar with the sculptures of Karl Gruppe. I am already thinking of a way to broaden my inventory to include such works. Perhaps, in the future, the museum will be able to uncover enough of Karl’s sculptures to mount a show of his own. That would be truly spectacular!

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

A Gem, Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum

by Jim Puzinas on February 11, 2012

Recently I toured the newly renovated Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum in Boston.  Long considered a real gem by Boston museum goers, this museum is located in the Fens, kitty corner to Boston’s larger Museum of Fine Arts .

Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum, Boston, MA

Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum, Boston, MA

The main museum, called the Palace, (no photo taking allowed) is an incredible place to tour. First opened to the public in 1903, the museum was created by its original owner, Isabella Stewart Gardiner, as a place to house and display her ever expanding collection of fine art and period objects from the Old World.  The Palace is accessed throught the updated new part of the museum, a contemporary glass structure that provides everything a modern museum experience requires, from coat check in to gift shop and dining facilities.

The Courtyard, Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum, Boston, MA

The Courtyard, Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum, Boston, MA

Once inside the15th-century Venetian sytle palace, you are transfromed into a magical mix of tropical gardens in the central courtyard, ringed by 3 open facing floors of period rooms, including the Tapestry Room, Gothic Room (where Sargent’s banned portrait of Isabella is displayed) and the famous Titian room, where Europa can be seen. All in all overwhelming for one visit, plan to spend several hours viewing not only the fine art, but all the period pieces.

Isabella Stewart Gardiner Portrait, 1888. John S. Sargent

Isabella Stewart Gardiner Portrait, 1888. John S. Sargent

Europa, Titian, (1560-1562)

Europa, Titian, (1560-1562)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although Isabella’s will stipulated that there be very little, if any, change made to the way she had arranged everything back in the early 1900’s, I feel an exception should have been made with the lighting, particularly in the first floor rooms. 1920’s dull incandescent lights don’t do justice to the works by Sargent, Kronberg, Bunker and other Boston artists of the period.  More should have been done and hopefully, will be done in the future, to remedy this.

For those who are considering a trip, it is a MUST SEE!

Isabella Stewart Gardiner, Venice, 1894. Anders Zorn (1860-1920)

Isabella Stewart Gardiner, Venice, 1894. Anders Zorn (1860-1920)

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

George Ames Aldrich – A Cape Ann Masterpiece

by Jim Puzinas on November 8, 2011

Every once in a while, a painting comes into our gallery that just knocks you off your feet. Painted in luscious colors, this large scale 48″ x 48″ work is a masterpiece of composition and execution. Created around 1919, at the height of the popularity of American Impressionism,  George Ames Aldrich (1872-1941),  pushes the envelope to produce a thoroughly modernist image of a traditional Cape Ann theme, the busy docks of Gloucester harbor.

George Ames Aldrich, East Gloucester Docks, 48"x48"

George Ames Aldrich, East Gloucester Docks, 48"x48"

The influence of the European modernists first seen by many American artists at the famous Armory Show of 1913, ushered in one of the most creative periods in American art as many artists tried to include various elements of modernism into their own works. Employing many of the compositional devices that led many to dub Cezanne the “father of modernism”, Aldrich flattens the picture plane and tilts the horizon up toward the viewer. Abandoning the use of proper perspective, where objects at a distance appear smaller in the picture than those in the foreground, allows for a completely original and dynamic composition to be experienced by the viewer.

The strong diagonals of the dock, masts, boom and roof lines all lead you into the center of the painting. The two boats at the dock are Eastern-rigged draggers, part of the massive North Atlantic fleet that once provided fish to many New Englanders. Gloucester’s old city hall with its clock tower echoes the masts and points to the heavens. Although the calming warm light suggests quietness, it is Aldrich’s use of geometry that gives the scene its energy.  Completing the painting’s tension was the artist’s addition of the dockworker to the right, his body coiled inward, directing the viewer back toward the center of the painting.

East Gloucester Docks as they appeared circa the 1920's

East Gloucester Docks as they appeared circa the 1920's

To better judge the liberties taken by Aldrich in interpreting this scene, look to the black and white image of the Gloucester docks as captured in a photo circa the 1920’s. This is what Aldrich was painting, a pleasing scene but not one with the visual excitement of what he produced.

Aldrich exhibited several Gloucester paintings at the Art Institute of Chicago including one in 1920 entitled “Docks of East Gloucester”, and at the Progress Club of South Bend, IN 1922-23 entitled “East Gloucester Docks”. It is unknown whether these works are one in the same or different paintings of the same subject.

As a historical note, by the 1950’s, the Eastern-rigged draggers were replaced by modern mechanized trawlers and the location of this painting, which provided inspiration for many American artists including Willard Metcalf, Childe Hassam, Hayley Lever et al, was torn down in a commercial revitalization undertaken sometime in the 1960’s.

For more information about the artist, please go to   www.blueheronfa.com/aldrich

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Edith Branson Pastels

by Jim Puzinas on April 2, 2011

Previously kept in family hands over the last 70 years, Edith Branson’s paintings are currently being
reintroduced  to American collectors by Blue Heron Fine Art.  It is hoped that the reputation she acquired while active will be recaptured and that her position among many other important women artists of that era can be reestablished.

"Seated Woman, Pastel #42"

"Seated Woman, Pastel #42"

In keeping with our committment,  Blue Heron Fine Art is pleased to also offer a selection of Pastels produced by Edith Branson in 1934.  These colorful and captivating pastels are reflective of her personal life as a young woman living in the 1920’s and 1930’s.  While several of these pastels could be self portraits, most are introspective creations that deal with the many social changes of her day. Color seems to be introduced on a separate plane, an overlay of emotion atop her well though out constructions.

"The Look", Pastel #60

"The Look", Pastel #60

Painting in both oil and pastels, Edith Branson was an American modernist painter who created her own interpretation of the multitude of avant-garde movements that blossomed in Europe and New York City in the early 20th century.  She was a significant contributor to the New York art scene both through her numerous exhibitions and in the roles she served as a director of the Society of Independent Artists (1934-1940).

Edith Branson was professionally recognized by many of the art critics of her day. She was one of the
few singled out from “the rank and file by virtue of definite merit” and in several other exhibitions
as noteworthy of mention. Fellow contemporary artists, Jonas Lie and Richard Miller, were part of the
panel that juried her work into the Corcoran Gallery 14th Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary Art in 1935. In 1937 and 1938, Edith Branson was invited to exhibit with the New York Society of Women Artists, a group that included Theresa Bernstein, Blanche Lazzell and Agnes Weinrich.

"Figures in Motion", Pastel #116

"Figures in Motion", Pastel #116

"Seated Woman", Pastel #34

"Seated Woman", Pastel #34

Branson’s early paintings were influenced by Cubism and Synchromism but expanded to include Surrealism in the 1930’s. In the Foreword to Edith Branson’s solo show catalogue, it was noted that she worked   “in purely abstract forms in which she feels she can best convey her joy in color. She believes that all the depth of emotion that can be experienced through sound, can also be experienced through color.” 

If you have any questions, or are interested in the works by Edith Branson, please call the gallery direct at 781-383-3210, or contact us via email at info@blueheronfa.com.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

A Successful 2010 USArtists Show

by Jim Puzinas on October 22, 2010

Blue Heron Fine Art eagerly anticipated the prestigious USArtists fine art show’s return to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) October 1-3, 2010.  For the first time, the show would be housed in PAFA’s  new  Hamilton Building.  Show attendance exceeded 3000, which  was impressive , as were the number and breadth of the sales during the show.

pafa2010atabletopblog

Our gallery sold a charming small 19th c painting by William Hart, several early 20th c Impressionist works, a colorful mid-50’s still life, and several contemporary works. Other works that sold on our floor included an Edward Redfield, a Paul King, and a large Lockwood de Forest.

pafa2010alita

Lita Solis-Cohen (right) interviewing gallery owner Shelley Brown.

pafa2010aview

A walk in view to the show floor at the USArtists Show. Edith Branson's paintings prominently displayed received considerable interest.

                      

 

Equally important, was the reception we received on the 4 paintings by NYC modernist Edith Branson that we displayed in our booth. Blue Heron Fine Art  is reintroducing her works to the marketplace after 70 years of obscurity and acceptance of her work was encouraging. It was particularly rewarding to  have Edith Branson’s grand niece  and  her husband present for such an unveiling.

Edith Branson's grand niece Liz Falvey and her husband Rick.

Edith Branson's grand niece Liz Falvey and her husband Rick, (left) with me.

To read more independent reviews, click

The Antiques and the Arts Weekly

ArtFixDaily News Feed

YouTube video

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Edith Branson (1891-1976) – An American Modernist

by Jim Puzinas on September 28, 2010

Blue Heron Fine Art is reintroducing Edith Branon’s works to the marketplace after many years of obscurity.  Six of Edith Branson’s paintings will make their debut this weekend at the USArtists American Art Show at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia from October 1 through October 3, 2010.

Edith Branson, Figure with Ribbons #20, Oil on board 30"x40"

Edith Branson, Figure with Ribbons #20, Oil on board 30"x40"

Edith Branson was an American modernist painter who created her own interpretation of the multitude of avant-garde movements that blossomed in Europe and New York City in the early 20th century. Most of Branson’s work is reflective of her personal life as a young woman living in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Though not autobiographical, her surrealistic works introduce a woman’s introspection into the many social changes of the day.

Edith Branson was a significant contributor to the New York art scene both through her numerous exhibitions and in the roles she served as a director of the Society of Independent Artists (1934-1940) and as one of the officers of Emily Francis’ Contemporary Arts Gallery. Branson exhibited nearly every year from 1921-1941 with the Society of Independent Artists, as well as with the Municipal Art Galleries (1938). She was also given a solo show at the Contemporary Arts Gallery (1935), joining such other promising new artists as Mark Rothko (1933) and Alice Neel (1938) both of whom would also receive their first one-person show at the Contemporary Arts Gallery.

Edith Branson, Dancing Rhythm, Oil on board 24"x34"

Edith Branson, Dancing Rhythm, Oil on board 24"x34"

Branson was professionally recognized by many of the art critics of her day. She was one of the few singled out from “the rank and file by virtue of definite merit” and in several other exhibitions as noteworthy of mention. Fellow contemporary artists, Jonas Lie and Richard Miller, were part of the panel that juried her work into the Corcoran Gallery 14th Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary Art in 1935. In 1937 and 1938, Edith Branson was invited to exhibit with the New York Society of Women Artists, a group that included Theresa Bernstein, Blanche Lazzell and Agnes Weinrich.

Edith Branson received professional instruction from Kenneth Hayes Miller at the Art Students League and from Charles Martin at Columbia’s Teachers College. Charles Martin was a protege of and a proponent of the teachings of Arthur Wesley Dow. In addition to Edith Branson, Martin’s teachings had an effect on many artists including Georgia O’Keefe who also attended his classes (1914-1915).

Edith Branson, Hands #114, Oil on board 15"x20"

Edith Branson, Hands #114, Oil on board 15"x20"

Branson’s early paintings were influenced by Cubism and Synchromism but expanded to include Surrealism in the 1930’s. In the Foreword to Edith Branson’s 1935 solo show catalogue, it was noted that she worked “in purely abstract forms in which she feels she can best convey her joy in color. She believes that all the depth of emotion that can be experienced through sound, can also be experienced through color.”

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

August Thoughts

by Jim Puzinas on August 31, 2010

The last two weeks of August are usually quiet for many businesses, including the fine art business. Many people are trying to catch the final vestiges of summer or preparing their children for the upcoming school year.

Blue Heron Fine Art exibiting at the last USArtists Show, Philadelphia, PA

Blue Heron Fine Art exibiting at the last USArtists Show, Philadelphia, PA

If this were most years, I’d be able to indulge in a little down time as well. But this is not a normal summer for us this year. We have been busying ourselves with all the necessary prep that goes into our major fall art shows beginning with the prestigious USArtists American Art Show the first weekend of October and the Boston International Fine Art Show in November. Publicity photos, ad space, booth construction plans and hotel reservations all were due over this past month.

Edith Branson, Hands #114, oil on board 16" x 20"

Edith Branson, Hands #114, oil on board 16" x 20"

Edith Branson in her NYC studio, circa 1935

Edith Branson in her New York City studio, circa 1935

Adding more excitement to the mix is the fact that Blue Heron Fine Art will be reintroducing the modernist works of New York City artist Edith Branson. Her work has not been seen publicly since 1940.

We are pleased that the family has entrusted our gallery with such an important task. Edith Branson will be next month’s featured artist and will be the subject of our next fine art blog, coinciding with the unveiling of four or five paintings representative of her ouevre at the USArtists Show running September 30 through October 3rd at the Pennsylvania Aademy of the Fine Arts Hamilton Building in downtown Philadelphia.

Hope to see you there and if you can’t make it, plan to stay connected by reading next month’s fine art blog.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Fine Art in the Summer

by Jim Puzinas on July 31, 2010

Summer months are normally a busy time of the year for us at Blue Heron Fine Art.  These steamy days are filled with planning and preparing many new acquisitions for our upcoming fall and early winter Show Schedule, including the USArtists Show in Philadelphia this October and the Boston International Fine Art Show in November.

What has made it a little more exciting this summer is that Blue Heron Fine Art has been invited to lend several of our gallery works to two very worthwhile exhibitions being held this July and August at two of my favorite vacation destinations, Provincetown, MA and Northeast Harbor, Maine.

Vaclav Vytlacil, "Boats at the Dock", Oil on Canvasboard, 11"x14"

Vaclav Vytlacil, "Boats at the Dock", Oil on Canvasboard, 11"x14"

On July 10, 2010 an exhibition titled DAYS LUMBERYARD STUDIOS 1914-1972 opened at the newly refurbished galleries of the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. This survey exhibition curated by David Cowan of Acme Fine Art, Boston, MA  features artwork spanning almost one hundred years that was created by artists who once occupied studios at Days Lumberyard in Provincetown.

“The Days Lumberyard Studios in Provincetown Massachusetts ranks among the most important incubators for artists of the twentieth century. Two of that century’s most influential teachers –Charles Webster Hawthorne and Hans Hofmann- and many of their students, worked in studios there. In fact, more than one hundred artists had studios at the lumberyard and/or the adjacent Brewster Street annex between 1914 and 1972. Some of the most highly regarded American artists of the time maintained studios at Days for at least one season. Among them were: Edwin Dickinson, Ross Moffett, Charles Hawthorne, Vaclav Vytlacil, Myron Stout, Fritz Bultman, George McNeil, John Grillo, Peter Busa, Robert Motherwell, Lester Johnson, and Jan Muller. ”   To read more  ClickHere.

peterson

Jane Peterson, Oil on Board, 11' x14"

Also, being held at the Redfield Gallery, 125 Main Street,  Northeast Harbor, Maine starting August 4 and running through August 17th will be a showing of wonderful Maine related paintings selected by Sunne Savage, including several modernist pieces  as well as a lovely Jane Peterson on loan from our gallery. To read more ClickHere.

If your vacation plans this summer include a visit to either area, these stops should be circled on your calendar as “Must Sees”.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Summer Reading, A Pop Art Primer

by Jim Puzinas on June 29, 2010

Two excellent books have just been released in the past month that define the circumstances that ushered into the American art scene what has been described as Pop Art by its early proponents. Even if your collecting interest is firmly entrenched in earlier more traditional painting styles, these books provide tremendous insight into the artistic revolution that forms the basis of much of what is created by today’s contemporary artists.

"The Pop Revolution" by Alicia Marquis

"The Pop Revolution" by Alicia Marquis

“The Pop Revolution” by  Alice Goldfarb Marquis reads like an insider’s journey into the New York art scene  in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. Filled with wonderful anecdotes, Ms. Marquis brings now famous artists like Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns and Andy Warhol to life. Funny, entertaining and educational, this book is a quick read that I would describe as “catnip” for anyone interested in this period of American Art.

"Leo and His Circle, The Life of Leo Castelli" by Annie Cohen-Solal

"Leo and His Circle, The Life of Leo Castelli" by Annie Cohen-Solal

“The Life and Circle of Leo Castelli”  traces the rise of what was considered one of the most influential and powerful art dealers in New York City during  the late 1950’s and 1960’s. More like a historical novel for the first hundred pages, the book takes a little time to get into as the author develops the lineage of Leo Castelli.  Castelli’s European background and education provided him with the necessary tools to create one of the most successful contemporary art galleries in New York City. The stories are fascinating, in particular Castelli’s finesse in using his considerable influence to bring America it’s first Gold at the Venice Biennale in 1964.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }