Lines and Colors art blog

Stories To Tell: Masterworks from The Kelly Collection of American Illustration (at the Dahesh Museum)

Masterworks from The Kelly Collection
I’ve had this exhibition listed in the Exhibitions list on the lines and colors sidebar for months now, and I’ve been looking forward to it for just as long. I was hoping to have a personal report for you by this time, but my schedule just isn’t letting me get to NY (or anywhere else) at the moment, so I want to at least mention the exhibition while it’s early in the run.

The Dahesh Museum in New York has a rare mission; it’s dedicated to 19th century salon and academic art, a branch of art that has been aggressively ignored by the art establishment from the mid 20th Century until just recently, and it’s worth a visit for that alone.

The museum’s current exhibition, however, is particularly appealing; it features selections from a remarkable collection of illustration, with a bounty of masters from the “golden age” of American illustration (roughly 1880-1930).

The works extracted (out of 90 in the show) and highlighted in a gallery on the museum’s site read like a who’s who of the great American illustrators: Howard Pyle, N.C. Wyeth, J.C. Leyendecker, Joseph Clement Coll, Franklin Booth, Dean Cornwell, Maxfield Parrish, Norman Rockwell, Charles Dana Gibson, Jessie Wilcox Smith, Harrison Cady, James Montgomery Flagg and several others! Wow!

To my knowledge, the collection is not normally on view unless loaned out, and the exhibition doesn’t seem to be slated to travel. So if you’re in reach of NYC, this my be your only opportunity to see these particular works. I’ve sampled a few of the highlights in the image above. (Clockwise from top left: Franklin Booth, J.C. Leyendecker, Joseph Clement Coll, N.C. Wyeth and Maxfield Parrish.)

The exhibition runs to May 21, 2006. If you want to see some fine work by the greatest American illustrators, run to this exhibition.

Addendum: David Apatoff wrote in to say that he has seen the show (see comments on this post) and has posted more (and larger) images on his Illustration Art blog.


3 responses to “Stories To Tell: Masterworks from The Kelly Collection of American Illustration (at the Dahesh Museum)

  1. Charley, I have been to see this show and it is absolutely splendid. As far as I can tell, the Kelly collection is the best private collection of illustration in the country. In addition to big, gorgeous oil paintings by N.C. Wyeth, Norman Rockwell and Leyendecker, they have a whole separate section of marvelous black and white drawings. It’s like an oasis of illustration art in the heart of Manhattan. The catalog is great too. If you go, leave yourself a lot of time because it takes a while to sift through. You can see a few more images from the show on my blog .

  2. Thanks for the report, David! You make it sound even better than the museum itself does. (Maybe there’s some rule about not getting too excited about your own exhibitions.)

    I appended the main post with a link to your blog article.

    (Your images seem to be linked, but the links are 404.)

  3. […] Anyone wanna take-in this exhibition of the “golden age” masters of illustration (1880-1930) with me? Looks fantastic over at Lines and Colors! March 8, 2006 | In Visual Inspiration | […]