13 July 2012

a little "Dahesh" in Elmira

The postcard from the Arnot Art Museum in Elmira said that the "Pasture perfect: the domestic animal in paintings & sculpture" exhibition would close on Saturday, the 14th. It also said that one might be able to see real animals on the lawn on Friday afternoon. So off I went to Elmira. There were indeed some Highland cattle on the lawn and the show was very enjoyable. Most of the works in the show were from the Arnot permanent collection with some additions from a private collection.

Mr Arnot collected lots of Barbizon-infused works and his bequest established the museum in the early 20th century. "Paature perfect" included a fine painting by Auguste Bonheur (Rosa's brother), a couple by Eugène Joseph Verboeckhoven, a lovely one by a woman artist whose surname started with C (should have written it down and it's not in the book on the collection: A collector's vision), "The red cow" by Constant Troyon, and others. The painting by the woman artist reminded me a bit of Andrew Wyeth since she included some chickens in an area of almost white (figure-ground study).

After spending time with the animals and the exhibition of regional artists, I hung out in the permanent collection salon with my punch and popcorn: a couple fine paintings by Jean-Léon Gérôme, a cardinal painting by Jehan-Georges Vibert, etc. etc. As I was soaking in the art, it occurred to me that these few galleries were very satisfying at the same time that they were a relative pittance compared to the Metropolitan where I used to escape when I needed to soak up some art.

It's been a fairly rich couple weeks of museum-going since I got to the Albright-Knox on the 3rd of July when I was in Buffalo to pick Bill Connor up at the airport. He came out to western New York for my family's July 4th gathering. Since he'd never been so far West in New York State, we also went a bit further to see Niagara Falls but just from the American side. No problem, it was great fun.

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