Friday, September 21, 2012

Day 12/60: Indianapolis Museums

Thursday, 9/20

Today was art to the max. We started at the Eiteljorg Museum at 10:30. It is located in a dense cultural district called White River State Park that was not far from our motel. It has a handsome modern building built of natural sandstone.

To my thinking, something must have gone wrong at the Eiteljorg, probably budget problems. They have a nice building and a good collection of Western and classic American art; we enjoyed our first visit there several years ago. This year, half of their first floor was being used as a commercial gallery, with works by several contemporary artists. All of it was excellent…and insignificant. The second floor had Indian artifacts and a children's discovery center.

That left about half of the first floor for the highlights of their collection.

Edward S. Curtis (American, 1868-1952)
Chief's Daughter; Kwakiutl tribe, coast of British Columbia
Dan's photo

Bartering for a Bride (The Trapper's Bride), 1845 by
Alfred Jacob Miller (American, 1810-1874)
Dan's photo
The Turkey Hunter, c. 1925 by
Eanger Irving Couse (American, 1866-1936)
Dan's photo
Wash Day, 1975 by Clark Hulings (American, 1922-2011)
Dan's photo
Taos Pueblo, 1929/1934 by Georgia O'Keeffe (American, 1887-1986)
Dan's photo
Church at Abiquiu, NM, 1949 by John Sloan (American, 1871-1951)
Dan's photo
Crippled but Still Coming, 1913 by
Charles Marion Russell (American, 1864-1926)
Dan's photo
The Cow Country (No Trail), 1938 by
Maynard Dixon (American, 1875-1946)
Dan's photo
The Twins, 1922 by E. Martin Hennings (American, 1886-1956)
Dan's photo
The Dry Ditch, 1964 by
Kenneth Adams (American, 1897-1966)
Dan's photo

From the Eiteljorg we drove out to a big park where the Indianapolis Museum of Art is located. IMA has many features that have special appeal for me, and I really enjoyed the afternoon. The museum's symbol of welcome is a fountain with a fresh modern design.

The Sutphin Fountain
A large new wing has been added since our last trip. It is dramatic and inviting but it blends seamlessly with their original building, which also has modern styling.

Indianapolis Museum of Art
The foyer was used for a wonderful exhibit by an artist named Allyson Shotz; I remembered her name from exhibits at the museum of modern art in New York and SF. She works primarily with images of strings of bubbles, or bubble-like shapes; she expresses streaming bubbles in various media. One was a huge installation of Fresnel lenses strung like beads in garlands hanging across the foyer. Above and behind it were huge photos of streaming bubbles in various patterns. Around the corner were animations (movies) showing bubble-like shapes streaming in hypnotic patterns. What a lot of fun!

Geometry of Light, 2011, by Allyson Shotz, born 1964
Cut plastic Fresnel lens sheets, silvered glass beads, stainless steel wire
Jan's photo

The main galleries are on the second floor. The foyer has a light installation by Robert Irwin that is one of his best works of art. It consists of a pattern of fluorescent tubes adorning the enclosure of an escalator.

Light and Space III, 2008 by
Robert Irwin (American, born 1928)
Dan's photo
Just inside the first exhibit area is an excellent wall drawing by Sol LeWitt, one of my favorite artists.

Wall Drawing No. 652, 1990 by Sol LeWitt (American, 1928-2007)
Dan's photo

Indianapolis gives especially good recognition to women artists. They are lucky to have a rare portrait of a gentleman by Elizabeth Vigée-LeBrun, who usually painted romantic portraits of women.

The Prince of Nassau, 1776 by
Elizabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun (French, 1755-1842)
Dan's photo
They also have Georgia O'Keeffe's largest and most ambitious floral painting. It was commissioned in 1936 by Elizabeth Arden for the exercise room of her New York Spa.

Jimson Weed, 1937 by Georgia O'Keeffe (American, 1887-1996)
 Dan's Photo
Here's a woman artist I hadn't heard of before. Isn't this excellent? Both stylish and moving. Bobbs was a successful portrait painter in Indianapolis.

Woman in White, 1911, by Ruth Pratt Bobbs , 1884-1973
 Jan's Photo
 It is always special to run across a work by Isabel Bishop.

Tidying Up, 1941 by
Isabel Bishop (American, 1902-1988)
Dan's photo
They have a wonderful collection of Pointillism and Neo-Impressionism; it is considered one of the most comprehensive in the U.S.

The Seashore, c. 1905 by Jean Metzinger (French, 1883-1956)
Dan's photo
Entrance to the Port of Honfleur, 1899 by Paul Signac (French, 1863-1935)
Jan's photo
It is very difficult for American museums to acquire early European masterpieces. IMA has some good examples.

Central Panel of Triptych of the Annunciation, c. 1483
by the Master of the Legend of St. Ursula (Flemish, active 1470-1490)
Dan's photo
Still Life with a Stoneware Jug, Berkemeyer and Smoking Utensils, 1640
 by Pieter Claesz (Dutch, c. 1597-1660), Dan's photo
The museum also has a good collection of American classics.

Whaler and Fishing Vessels near the Coast of Labrador, c. 1880 by
William Bradford (American, 1823-1892)
Dan's photo
Washington Street, Indianapolis at Dusk, 1892-95 by
Theodore Groll (American, 1857-1913)
Dan's photo
The Love Song, 1926 by Norman Rockwell (American, 1894-1978)
Dan's photo
Hauptmann Must Die, 1935 by Reginald Marsh (American, 1898-1954)
Dan's photo
New York, New Haven and Hartford, 1931
 by Edward Hopper (American, 1842-1967), Dan's photo
There was so much to enjoy at IMA that we were glad that the museum was open late. We didn't get there until 1:30, and we had to have some lunch first. We took another break later in the afternoon.

Jan in IMA snack bar; Dan's photo
We finally left after 7 p.m., barely able to walk.

We came back to our hotel and had a hamburger, no bun, in their café. The wait staff was friendly.

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