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Maryland Artists from the Collection, 1890-1970
The Baltimore Museum of Art celebrates Maryland's rich artistic tradition with a presentation of more than 25 paintings and sculpture from a selection of regional artists. Maryland Artists from the Collection, 1890-1970, on display through October 27, 2002, reflects national trends in the visual arts, from the Beaux-Arts style and Impressionism to modernism and abstraction.
"Maryland has always enjoyed a rich artistic tradition," said Sona Johnston, BMA Senior Curator of Painting & Sculpture. "We've selected works from our collection that reflect the progression of art in the 19th and 20th centuries as seen through the vision of Maryland artists.
Maryland Artists from the Collection includes early works by Baltimore's dean of portraiture, Thomas Corner, landscape painter Clarke Marshall, who worked on the Eastern Shore, and muralist R. McGill Mackall, also known for his Impressionist easel paintings. Grace Turnbull and Charles Walther represent modernists attuned to more progressive movements that emerged in the early 20th century. Later works by artists such as Jacob Glushakow and Edward Rosenfeld include glimpses of city life -- bustling urban markets and intimate neighborhood views -- and landscapes painted in expressive compositions bordering on the abstract. (left: Alice Worthington Ball, The Sunny Side of the Street, 1925, oil on canvas, 86.9 x 107.4 centimeters, The Baltimore Museum of Art, BMA 1929.9.1)
This exhibition is a tribute to Maryland regional artists, many of whom maintained close ties with The Baltimore Museum of Art. Thomas Comer and Alice Worthington Ball were members of the first Board of Trustees. Sculptor Reuben Kramer and painter Herman Maril boasted one-man shows at the Museum, as did Amalie Rothschild, who also served on the Board. Most recently, Eugene Leake's expansive landscape views of the Maryland countryside were featured in a solo exhibition.
The BMA maintains a large collection of works by both historical and contemporary Maryland artists, including Joshua Johnson, the first American of African descent to gain national recognition as an artist, portraitist Rembrandt Peale, and abstract expressionist Grace Hartigan.
The exhibition is organized by Sona Johnston, BMA Senior Curator of Painting & Sculpture, and Katy Rothkopf, BMA Curator of Painting & Sculpture.
Following is selected wall panel and label text from the exhibition:
Maryland has always enjoyed a rich artistic tradition, its painters and sculptors exploring a broad variety of styles. The works of art presented in this exhibition range in date from the 1890s through the 1960s. Among the earlier painters are Thomas CromwelI Corner, Baltimore's dean of portraiture; Clarke S. Marshall, a landscapist who worked on the Eastern Shore; R. McGill Mackall, known both as a muralist and for his impressionist easel paintings; and Grace Turnbull and Charles H. Walther, modernists attuned to more progressive movements emerging in the first decades of the 20th century.
In more recent times, some Marylanders have been drawn to record glimpses of city life, portraying bustling urban markets and intimate neighborhood views or interpreting the regional landscape in expressive compositions bordering on the abstract. Still others chose to transcend any reference to imagery drawing upon their own inner vision for their creations.
Many of the artists in the exhibition maintained close ties with the Museum, their enduring commitments to the institution in a variety of roles are greatly valued. Thomas Cromwell Corner and Alice Worthington Ball were members of the first Board of Trustees. In the course of their long careers, sculptor Reuben Kramer and Board members Herman Maril and Amalie Rothschild had solo exhibitions at the Museum. Most recently Honorary Trustee Eugene Leake's expansive landscape views of the Maryland countryside were featured in a one-person exhibition.
In presenting the exhibition, Maryland Artists from the Collection, 1890-1970, the Museum pays tribute to all of the artists, each with their unique vision, who have shared their talents and contributed to the splendid cultural heritage of our region.
A native of Lithuania, Bernstein arrived penniless in the United States at the age of sixteen. He began to paint while employed as a clerk in a general store in West Virginia and later studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art and at the Art Students League in New York. While in Paris to complete his training at the Académie Julian, two of his paintings were accepted for exhibition at the annual Salon. Bernstein worked in the Netherlands before returning to Baltimore in 1903 where he opened a studio. Depressed by poor health, however, he took his own life while still in his early thirties. Bernstein specialized in interior scenes and in figure studies, his work often marked by a certain poignancy.
For many years, Thomas Corner was Maryland's foremost portraitist. Following study at the Maryland Institute College of Art and at the Art Students League in New York under J. Alden Weir (1852-1919) and Kenyon Cox (1856-1919), he traveled to Paris to enroll in the Académie Julian. In 1891, Corner returned to Baltimore where he spent the remainder of his life excelling mainly as a painter of portraits of prominent contemporaries. He is also known to have produced a small number of genre and still life subjects. Of his profession, Corner once commented, "Portrait painting bears the same relation to ordinary painting as biography does to fiction. A biographer is obliged to stick laboriously to the facts. So is the portrait painter. A man must look like himself." Thomas Corner was a Trustee of The Baltimore Museum of Art from its founding in 1914 until his death in 1938.
A native of Talbot County on Maryland's Eastern Shore, Marshall became a highly regarded landscapist, painting mainly in the impressionist manner. Solo exhibitions of his work were held at the Peabody Institute and at The Baltimore Museum of Art. A student at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, he later exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Around 1918, Marshall turned to the ministry with charges in Cecil and Caroline Counties as well as in Delaware. Throughout the latter part of his life, he continued to paint, favoring evening and moonlight views of his native Eastern Shore.
Like many American artists of his generation, Whiteman, a Philadelphian, was drawn to work in the impressionist manner, painting landscapes at various times of the day and in different seasons. Following study in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, he settled in Baltimore, exhibiting at the Charcoal Club, where he was director from 1895 to 1920, and at The Baltimore Museum of Art. Whiteman's work was also shown at the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh. For several years, he served as director of art classes at The Johns Hopkins University.
McGill Mackall attended the Maryland Institute College of Art and the Art Students League in New York before traveling abroad to further his artistic education in the academies of Paris and Munich. After serving in World War I, he returned to Baltimore to teach at the Institute, eventually becoming head of the Department of Fine Arts; he also held a similar position at the College of Notre Dame. Although perhaps best known as a muralist, Mackall also produced designs for stained glass windows, portraits, and works which reflect the influence of French Impressionism and of his American instructor at the Académie Colarossi in Paris, Richard Miller (1875-1943), a painter of decorative, somewhat sentimental compositions. Mackall's paintings were featured in a monographic exhibition at the Museum in 1932.
During the summer of 1924, Turnbull spent several months in Woodstock, New York, where she rented a cottage on the bank of a rocky stream. She later wrote in her memoir Chips From My Chisel (1953):
Born in New Jersey, Eugene Leake studied at the Yale School of Fine Arts, New Haven and at the Art Students League in New York. Throughout his career, his work has been exhibited widely in New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore including a 1994 exhibition at the Museum. In 1961, Leake assumed the presidency of the Maryland Institute College of Art, a position which he held until 1974. Central to his art is a love of landscape, his broad, expressive compositions testaments to his keen awareness of the infinite variety and fleeting aspects of nature. Key to his painting as well is a profound understanding and admiration for artists from the past. Leake once paraphrased the words of the 19th-century Barbizon master Theodore Rousseau (1812-1867), "Every time I go out, I have .to reinvent the tree. I have a suspicion of formulas....If I had a formula for everything, it would get mechanical.... Lord, I'm still trying to master trees."
Before retiring to Harford County, Maryland, to raise horses, Flannery had a successful career in the field of advertising in New York. His interest in painting, which paralleled his love of horses and the turf, was instilled early in life at his childhood Kentucky home by his mother, an amateur artist. While Flannery is remembered as a portraitist of horses in the tradition of British artists Benjamin Marshall (1767-1835) and John Frederick Herring, Sr. (1795-1865), he also produced vivid images of racetracks, breeding farms, and the activities associated with the world of racing. Of these two passions in his life, Flannery once commented, "It is my observation that a painter always enjoys a conflict between logic and his instincts, and with me instinct always wins. It is much the same in breeding horses. There can be no doubt that the logic of the geneticists is the soundest foundation on which to proceed, but in the end your instinct tells you when you have a really good horse." Flannery's paintings were exhibited at the Museum in 1944 and in a memorial exhibition in 1959.
Perna Krick was born in Greenville, Ohio and arrived in Baltimore in 1927 to study at the Rinehart School of Sculpture of the Maryland Institute College of Art. In the course of her studies, she received two fellowships enabling her to make extensive travels abroad. Although she devoted the earlier part of her career to sculpture, she turned to painting in the 1940s. Many of her works, which depict various animals, birds, and flowers, reflect her great love of nature. Krick exhibited her paintings and sculpture at The Baltimore Museum of Art, the Peale Museum, Baltimore, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington. In 1944, she married her Rinehart School classmate, Reuben Kramer (1909 -1999), whose sculpture is also featured in this exhibition. The circumstances of the event portrayed in this painting are unknown.
Known affectionately as the "Mayor of Tyson Street," the location of his house in downtown Baltimore, Rosenfeld, a native of the city, once told an interviewer, "My ambition in life was to be a sign painter. The first time I saw someone leaning over way up high on a scaffold, I knew what I wanted to be." He achieved this goal working for Standard Oil until his artistic potential was recognized, and the company sent him to night school at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Rosenfeld specialized in views of his beloved city and was greatly admired for the honesty of his vision and for his rejection of prevailing fads and conceits. Richmond Market was located not far from the artist's inner city home. Rosenfeld's paintings were exhibited at the Museum in 1960.
Known for his keen observations of life in the city of Baltimore, Jacob Glushakow spent more than sixty years painting the neighborhoods of his hometown. His works reflect an interest in the everyday, often including views of row houses, markets, streets, and wharves as well as the interiors of pool halls and tailor shops. They provide a record of Baltimore's past, and feature a somewhat melancholic view of the urban setting with a rich history that has disappeared. Glushakow studied art at the Maryland Institute College of Art, the Jewish Educational Alliance, and at the Art Students League in New York. He remained faithful to a traditional realist style of painting throughout his career. His work can be found in the permanent collections of The Baltimore Museum of Art, The Phillips Collection, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, among others. Glushakow's paintings were exhibited at the Museum in 1947.
A Baltimore native, Florence Austrian attended Goucher College prior to studying at the Maryland Institute College of Art with Leon Kroll (1884-1974) and John Sloan (1871-1951) who was a member of the group of New York Realist artists known at The Eight. Austrian was very active in civic affairs and was known locally as the person responsible for the renewal of the Eutaw Place neighborhood where she grew up and lived her whole life. She exhibited her work at the Museum in 1931. This painting shows Emmanuel Church, located at the corner of Cathedral and Read Streets in the historic Mount Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore, not far from Austrian's Bolton Hill home.
Born in Baltimore and educated at the Maryland Institute College of Art, Herman Maril was a nationally recognized artist whose prolific career spanned more than fifty years and evolved through several styles. He first visited Cape Cod in 1934, and during his numerous subsequent visits, the sandy setting soon became a major source of inspiration for his modernist seascapes. Although best known for his landscapes, Maril also produced still lifes and figure paintings throughout his career. His compositions reduce the natural world to its essence by simplifying forms to planes of color in an attempt to convey emotion without the clutter of detail. Duncan Phillips, founder of The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., was one of his supporters in the early 1930s, and Maril considered his encouragement to be the first important step toward his eventual recognition as a painter. A member of the Board of Trustees of The Baltimore Museum of Art beginning in 1941, Maril was also the subject of monographic exhibitions at the BMA in 1946 and 1967.
Born in the Hampden section of Baltimore in 1917, Ralph McGuire attended his first art class after graduating from City College in New York in the 1930s. One of his first teachers was Herman Maril (1908 -1986), a fellow painter who served as a mentor and friend to the younger artist. McGuire subsequently studied at the Phillips Gallery in Washington, D.C., through a scholarship awarded by The Baltimore Museum of Art. In 1947 McGuire had a one-person show at The Baltimore Museum of Art, and soon thereafter local collector J. Blankfard Martenet purchased the entire contents of his studio. Martenet was devoted to the artists of the region and formed a large collection of their works which he bequeathed to the Museum in 1957. In 1949 McGuire and his wife opened a framing business which made them integral members of the Baltimore art community for fifty years. His intimately scaled paintings feature a flat, folk art style, and are known for their charming color harmonies. McGuire received a monographic exhibition at the Museum in 1947.
Born in Baltimore, Jules received his artistic training at the Maryland Institute College of Art, graduating in 1934. He later studied in New York at the Art Students League under Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975). Jules' focus on images of social commentary and caricature led him to an admiration for the works of Rembrandt, Francisco Goya, and particularly Honoré Daumier. Jules typically used dramatic and evocative lighting where sinewy figures emerge from darkened backgrounds, much like the paintings of Daumier. Like other social realist artists, his subjects are most often depictions of the plight of the poor and disadvantaged. He was also an active printmaker whose well-known woodcuts are represented in the BMA's collection. After teaching at Smith College, in 1969 he became chair of the art department at the City College of New York. He kept a studio in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
Born in Catania, Sicily, Di Crispino arrived in Baltimore in 1904. Beginning as a portrait painter her formal studies were undertaken at the Maryland Institute College of Art from 1929 to 1931. Subsequently, she studied with Baltimore artists Herman Maril (1908-1986) and Karl Metzler (1909-1995), and received encouragement from Baltimore Sun critics A.D. Emmart and R.H. Gardner. Her paintings were widely exhibited in the region beginning in 1938 when she was included in a Maryland Artist exhibition at The Baltimore Museum of Art. Her compositions were exhibited often at the BMA including a solo exhibition in 1943. The Baltimore collector, J. Blankfard Martenet, was a major patron of Di Crispino and bequeathed a significant collection of her works to the Museum upon his death in 1957.
Born in Waterbury, Connecticut, Kainen moved with his family to New York in 1919. He studied at the Art Students League in New York, and in 1930 graduated from the Pratt Art Institute in Brooklyn. He was an active participant in the graphic arts program of the Works Progress Administration and developed a close relationship with Arshile Gorky (1904-1948). Moving to Washington, D.C., in 1942 to take up a position as curator for the Division of Graphic Arts at the Smithsonian, he continued to paint and make prints as an active member of the capitol's art community. While close to Washington color-field painters such as Morris Louis (1912-1962) and Kenneth Noland (born 1924), Kainen was never a member of this group. His painting moved between abstraction and figuration. After his retirement in 1970, Kainen devoted himself entirely to his art. His works have been widely exhibited including a major 1993 retrospective at the National Museum of American Art. Kainen was a longtime resident of Chevy Chase, Maryland.
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