Monday, January 05, 2009

The Re-installation of the American Wing

William Turner Dannat (1853-1929)

Every gallery at the Art Institute of Chicago
is getting re-hung
in anticipation of the opening of the Modern Wing
and the American Wing is no exception

even if it is basically the same collection
being shown in the same space.

(it had a major transformation about 5 years ago
when it expanded into the second floor
special exhibit areas)

Why aren't the modern painters
(Georgia O'Keefe etc)
being carried over
to the Modern Wing
like Picasso and Matisse will be ?

I have no idea.

But that is too bad --
since it doesn't offer
any more room for the other styles.

And especially.....
there is no more room
for the Chicago area painters,
as the Art Institute
continues to refuse to serve
as a museum
for local art.

William Penhallow Henderson (1877-1943)

On this trip through the collection,
I'm looking for things I hadn't noticed
for anything by any artists with local connections.

In 1914,
the mayor of Chicago sponsored
a number of Chicago painters to
travel to Taos to paint the wild west.

I've already blogged about

Walter Ufer
and Victor Higgins

since they were members of the Palette and Chisel,
Henderson was new to me.
(and I find him less appealing)

Todros Geller (1889-1949)

This Chicago painter/teacher
has been in the AIC collection for 50 years,
but I never noticed it on display here before.

(though I do remember that the Terra Museum showed it
in one of its last shows)

Oh -- that sad 20th Century.
Not a good time for Jews.
(although - what ever has been ?)

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925)

And I don't remember this Sargent, either,
although there's quite a few Sargents on display
and maybe I just overlooked it.

Which brings up another issue,
the museum tends to focus on the super-stars
at the expense of all the others.

So... we have 8 or so pieces each
Sargent, Whistler, O'Keefe etc

and nothing
by local stars
like Ponsen, Juergens, Dudley, Grant, Payne,
Mulhaupt, Betts, Buehr, etc.

O. Louis Guglielmi (1906-1956)

At least there's some space
for this charming
but relatively obscure NY painter

Archibald Motley (1891-1981)

and of course,
there's space for Chicago's great
Duke Ellington of painters

Homer Dodge Martin (1836-1897)

Here's a painting I hadn't noticed before
by a name I didn't recognize.

The entire museum could easily be filled
with paintings of this quality
without a single European work
being included.

(which is why I want every gallery
to be treated as temporary exhibits)

Arthur Wesley Dow (1857-1922)

"Messing around with boats"

(I wonder if I'll ever feel the water
beneath my feet again)

There's nothing in this scene
that could not have been found
in the Baroque era..
but somehow this vision is distinctly 20th C.

Alson Skinner Clark (1876-1949)

Finally -- here's a classic Chicago view,
but the painter,
although a native,
left town at the age of twenty
and never moved back.
(and there are hundreds of Chicago views
that are just as good
by resident Chicago painters

like this one )

Ivan Albright (1897-1983)

OK - I had to include
something by this painter
because he is our town's
most famous native son.

But, still, I hate him.
(this treacly detail comes from his
"Portrait of Dorian Gray)

The AIC has 120 pieces by him,
but I prefer both his father,
Adam Emory Albright

and his twin brother,
Malvin Marr Albright


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