Category Archives: Museums

Art Museum Day 2017

Art Museum Day 2017
Tomorrow, Thursday May 18, 2017, is Art Museum Day here in the U.S.

Organized by the Association of Art Museum Directors, it’s an event in which participating museums open their doors for free and often feature events, tours and museum shop discounts.

Unlike the broader Museum Day, organized by the Smithsonian and generally held in September, this event has no requirement for advance tickets or limitations on the number of museums you can visit on the day.

This page devoted to Art Museum Day, though it may not be obvious at first, offers a list of participating museums, arranged by state.

The images above are of some of the participating museums here in the Philadelphia area: the Philadelphia Museum of Art; The Brandywine River Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Museum of American Art and the Barnes Foundation.

 
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10 years of Lines and Colors

10 years of Lines and Colors
Today marks the 10th anniversary of my first post on Lines and Colors, on August 22, 2005.

My initial intention for the blog — which you can read more about here — is still basically the same: to introduce my readers to wonderful art and artists that they may not be familiar with, or to point out something of interest about more well-known artists.

The artwork I feature is in a broad variety of genres, but tied together by two common factors — I personally like it, and it’s more or less within the traditions of representational realism. Other than that, as I’ve always said in the blog’s capsule description, if it has lines and/or colors, it’s fair game.

You can see some of the range of genres in the “Categories” listing in the left hand column, and below that, in the “Archives”, you can still read all of the posts I’ve added over the past ten years. (Well, almost all — I still need to restore about 10 posts from July of 2013 that were “misplaced” when I moved the blog from one server to another — it’s constantly a work in progress.)

My most popular single post to date, at least in terms of response and comments, has been “How Not to Display Your Artwork on the Web“.

The images I’ve selected above are meant as a small sampling of what you may find in the archives.

It has always been my hope that those interested in a particular genre of art — like traditional painting, plein air, art history, comics, concept art, fantasy art or illustration — would be drawn to Lines and Colors to pursue their area of interest, and through it discover wonderful art in other genres that they may not have sought out or encountered otherwise. I see that aspect of what I’m doing as an attempt to gently counter the ever-increasing fragmentation of art interests on the web.

In the 10 years since writing my first article for Lines and Colors, the resources for art images on the internet have expanded dramatically, most notably in the form of major museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian and the Rijksmuseum, posting high-resolution images from their collections online; the appearance of remarkable resources like the Google Art Project; and new online destinations for illustration, comics and concept art.

Originally, my posts were short, and the images single and small, and I actually worried that I would run out of “favorite artists” to write about. Today, after more than 3,400 posts (not quite a post a day for ten years, but pretty close), I have an ever-growing list of potential topics to get to — that may actually be longer than the list of already written ones.

There’s more to come!

-Charley

 
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New online collection from the Indianapolis Museum of Art

New online collection from Indianapolis Museum of Art: William McGregor Paxton, T.C. Steele, Willem Kalf, Robert Henri, Jacob van Ruisdael, Gilbert Stuart, Camille Pissarro, William Merritt Chase, Edmund Charles Tarbell

A number of art museums have been revitalizing their websites as they begin to realize what a powerful tool they are for public relations, as well as for their theoretical mission of education.

Not all can aspire to the gold standard set a few years ago by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but many museums are doing a creditable job of not only showcasing the museum but making large portions of their collections available online in searchable form.

While many museums are still clueless, going to the trouble to catalog their collections in online databases, and then providing less than useful images at small sizes (likely out or misguided or misinformed notions about copyright), some are doing it right.

As a case in point, Indianapolis Museum of Art — who I applauded in 2011 for presenting their excellent collection in a well organized and attractive website — has just unveiled a new show-them-how-it’s-done online collection search and browsing feature.

The initial page for the collections comes up with a simple search box. My one small complaint is that the page I find most useful to search from doesn’t come up until you’ve done a search, so I like to initially hit the search button with an empty query to get to this page.

From there, you can sort into collections on the left, as well as maker, material, object type and technique. I found the collections of American Painting, European Painting and Prints & Drawings especially fruitful. The museum’s collection is strong in American art in particular.

In Prints & Drawings, you may want to limit by material (e.g. watercolor). In all searches, you may find it helpful to use the “Has Image” filter at the top of the page.

There is also an entry point for browsing the collection.

The images are presented in zoomable versions, which can be viewed fullscreen, making the zoom feature actually useful. Those in the public domain have download arrows. You need to click on one of those silly “use” disclaimers, but I’ve gotten more tolerant of those under the heading of (“if it makes them feel better about putting large versions of public domain images online, fine”).

Many of the images are available in high resolution, allowing you actually appreciate them in a way that the tiny web images offered up by some museums don’t allow. (Most of the detail crops I’ve provided for the example images above are not even at full resolution.)

The Indianapolis Museum of Art has impressed me enough with their online presence that I have added Indianapolis to my list of places I’d like to visit, just to see this collection in person.

(Images above, with details: William McGregor Paxton, T.C. Steele, Willem Kalf, Robert Henri, Jacob van Ruisdael, Gilbert Stuart, Camille Pissarro, William Merritt Chase, Edmund Charles Tarbell)

[Via BibliOdyssey]

 
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Lucas Museum of Narrative Art

Lucas Museum of Narrative Art: Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Norman Rockwell, Charles Dana Gibson, Edward Henry Potthast, Harrison Cady, Frank Frazetta, George Herriman, John Berkey, Arthur Rackham, N.C. Wyeth, William de Leftwich Dodge, Walt Kelly, Jean Moebius Giraud, Winsor McCay, Dough Chiang
The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is a new museum, scheduled to open in Chicago in 2018, that will house a collection of art owned by film director George Lucas.

The collection and the museum are dedicated to art that, like film, is narrative in some way, telling stories whether overtly or by suggestion. This includes a number of works from history that would be considered museum paintings, as well as illustration, comics and concept art.

The museum has a website with a bit on information about the proposed museum building and the collection. The site features work from the collection in various categories. If you click through the initial images of individual works, there are nice sized enlargements.

Most of the art is to be found in the sub-sections under “Narrative Art“, but there is also artwork under the sections for “Digital Art” and “Art of Cinema (mostly under “Set Design“).

There are some great pieces here by a terrific range of painters, illustrators, comics artists and concept artists (though fewer of the latter than might be expected.)

The physical museum itself is apparently the focus of some controversy in Chicago, in regard to both its design and location, but I can’t fault Lucas for his taste in art.

(Images above, with links to my posts: Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Norman Rockwell, Charles Dana Gibson, Edward Henry Potthast, Harrison Cady, Frank Frazetta, George Herriman, John Berkey, Arthur Rackham, N.C. Wyeth, William de Leftwich Dodge, Walt Kelly, Jean “Moebius” Giraud, Winsor McCay, Dough Chiang)

 
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Rijksmuseum’s selection for US President’s visit

Rijksmuseum's selection for US President's visit:  Johnnes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Frans Hals, Jan Havicksz Steen, Bartholomeus van Bassen, Jan Havicksz Steen, Rembrandt
The current President of the United States is visiting the Netherlands (I’m reluctant to even mention his name, lest it bring out of the woodwork the internet trolls who feel that any mention of his name is a call to arms to use the comments section to decry how the Affordable Care Act marks the end of liberty as we know it, etc., etc., etc. — sigh).

At any rate, the President (you know which one) is there to attend a Nuclear Security Summit, but has taken a side tour to visit the Rijksmuseum and its world-renowned collection of Dutch art and artifacts.

The museum has taken advantage of the PR event and photo-op, and also published on its website images of a group of paintings that were the focus of the tour given the visiting President.

I don’t think they are indicative of the President’s taste in painting (I’ve never heard mention of him being particularly interested in art); I think he was actually there to view a historical document called the Act of Abjuration, on which the U.S. Declaration of Independence was in part based.

However, he was given a tour of the museum and I find it more interesting to see which pieces out of the Rijksmuseum’s superb collection the directors thought suitable for a Presidential visit.

Unfortunately, I can’t find a written description of the reasons for their choices. Some are obvious, of course, and come under the heading of the museum’s “greatest hits” — and one seems related to the signing of an official document by a legislative body, perhaps the document in question.

The choice of the street scene with the Mayor of Delft and the raucous family gathering, both by Jan Havickszs Steen, are more of a mystery to me.

You can click on any of the images in their feature to go to the large, zoomable versions, which can be downloaded (like any of their other high-res images) if you register for a free RijksStudio account (see my 2012 post on the New Rijksmuseum website).

(Images above, with detail crops: Johnnes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Frans Hals, Jan Havicksz Steen, Bartholomeus van Bassen, Jan Havicksz Steen, Rembrandt)

 
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Gallery of the Golden Age, Amsterdam

Gallery of the Golden Age, Amsterdam: Nicolaes Eliasz Pickenoy, Govert Flinck, Nicolaes Eliasz Pickenoy and Thomas de Keyser, Nicolaes Eliasz Pickenoy
Art museums are like icebergs, in that only a small part of their collection is visible at any given time. It’s always a plus when museums manage to display normally unseen works in different venues.

Three museums in Amsterdam, the Rijskmuseum, the Amsterdam Museum and the Hermitage Amsterdam, are launching a joint long-term exhibit, called “Gallery of the Golden Age”, in which seldom-seen large scale works from the first two museums will be exhibited in display space available in the latter.

There is an article on nrc.nl that offers zoomable images of some of these large-scale group portraits, described as being in the same tradition as Rembrandt’s famous Night Watch (The Shooting Company of Frans Banning Cocq). The zooming features take a bit of time to load, and the text is in Dutch, but you can use a little patience and Google Translate, respectively.

There is an article in English on the Amsterdam Museum site for more on these works and others.

You can also search the collections of the Amsterdam Museum and the Rijksmuseum.

(Images above: Nicolaes Eliasz Pickenoy, Govert Flinck, Nicolaes Eliasz Pickenoy and Thomas de Keyser, Nicolaes Eliasz Pickenoy)

[Suggestion courtesy of Aelle Ayres]

 
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