This morning we took a taxi downtown to visit the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. While we were hung up in traffic for a few moments, I had the good fortune to photograph one of Philadelphia's wonderful street murals.
|Common Threads, 1998|
by Meg Saligman (born 1965)
|Philadelphia Convention Center|
|Paint Torch, 2011|
by Claes Oldenburg (born 1929)
|Philadelphia City Hall|
|Entrance to PAFA; Dan's photo|
|Victorian Interior; Dan's photo|
It was founded by a group of artists and businessmen that included Charles Willson Peale, one of America's most important cultural leaders in his period. Like Jefferson, he was a "man of letters"—an all-round scholar, educator, and self-promotor. Nowadays we think of him mainly as an artist, best known for his portrait paintings of leading figures of the American Revolution. Fittingly, PAFA has an important group of his work.
|George Washington at Princeton, 1779 |
by Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827)
|Self-Portrait, c. 1845|
by Rembrandt Peale (1778-1860)
|Robert 'King' Hooper , 1767|
by John Singleton Copley (1738-1815)
Though he was American born, Benjamin West became the second president of the Royal Academy of Arts in London (after Joshua Reynolds). Yet his work is in every collection of American art. He was a very talented painter, and his small scale works are often charming. His contemporaries thought his most important work was his monumental historical and mythological paintings. These seem comically over-theatrical nowadays, and they occupy a lot of space, so they are mostly in storage. PAFA has a few of these on display; they look like the spaces where they hang were designed for them.
|Death on the Pale Horse, 1817|
by Benjamin West (1738-1820)
|Penn's Treaty with the Indians, 1771-72|
by Benjamin West (1738-1820)
|Detail of The Gross Clinic by Thomas Eakins, 1875|
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (owned in conjunction with Philadelphia Museum of Art)
|Ruth St. Denis in the Peacock Dance, 1919|
by Robert Henri (1865-1929)
Much to its credit, PAFA has a history of promoting women artists and art educators. When we were there they had several wonderful works by women who were unknown to me.
|A Motion Picture (Self-Portrait), 1912|
by Margaret Foster Richardson (1881- c. 1945)
by Priscilla Roberts (1916-2001)
|Young Woman, 1937|
by Isabel Bishop (1902-1988)
|Picnic at Bedford Hills, 1918|
by Florine Stettheimer (1871-1944)
|Midi et Demi (Half-Past Noon), 1956-57|
by Dorthea Tanning (1910-2012)
One of the big stars of American painting, Georgia O'Keeffe, is represented by a gorgeous example from her flower series.
|Red Canna, 1923|
by Georgia O'Keeffe, 1887-1986
The museum was showing a very interesting group of social realist works depicting large groups of people in public events.
|Mine Disaster, 1933|
by Philip Evergood (1901-1973)
|Lucky Daredevils (The Thrill of Death), 1931|
by Reginald Marsh (1898-1954)
|John Brown Going to His Hanging, 1942|
by Horace Pippin (1888-1946)
A prominent feature of American art in the Victorian era was neoclassical figure sculpture, especially in marble. PAFA's collection includes most of the big names.
|19th Century gallery; Jan's photo|
|Nydia, the Blind Flower Girl of Pompeii, 1859|
by Randolph Rogers (1825-1892)
by Howard Roberts (1843-1900)
It was pleasant to see the students from the Academy's art school copying the masterpieces in a long-honored tradition.
Then we went across the lane to the other building. On the exterior, it seemed to be a converted department store, unnoticeable. The bottom floor was the museum's exhibition space. We surmise that classrooms occupy the rest of the building. They had a large an impressive Eric Fischl exhibit; no photography allowed; I grabbed a shot from the Internet just to give you an idea.
| Scenes of Late Paradise – The Welcome, 2007 by Eric Fischl|
By the time we were finished, we were both dragging. But we revived a little during the taxi ride, and spontaneously got the driver to stop when he arrived at the Rodin Museum, which was only a block from our motel. This museum had been closed for a few years for renovation, but I didn't notice any changes since our previous visit. The garden and pavilion have an elegant, Parisian atmosphere. The collection of Rodin is about the same size as the one at Stanford; at Stanford more work is displayed outside. Anyway, there is a lot of Rodin around so not much is new to us. (You can only mourn for the Burghers of Calais so many times.)
|The Rodin Museum, 1929|
|The Age of Bronze|
by Auguste Rodin (1840-1917)
Modeled in clay 1875-77
cast in bronze 1925