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Artists of the Salmagundi Club from the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts Permanent Collection

 

The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown will present an exhibition of Artists of the Salmagundi Club from the Museum's Permanent Collection in the Groh Gallery through February 1, 2004. Spanning the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, this collection of works include many different media and artistic styles. (right: John LaFarge, Bowl of Flowers, watercolor)

The oldest artists society in the United States, The Salmagundi Club originated in 1871 as The New York Sketch Club, changing its name a hundred years ago after Washington Irving published "The Salmagundi Papers." In 1917, the group purchased a mid-nineteenth century brownstone on Fifth Avenue in New York City as its permanent home. In its early years, the club functioned as a kind of men's club where members would meet for an evening of sketching, critique and intellectual conversation before enjoying dinner, billiards or boxing. Women were not admitted until 1973.

Works by many of the Salmagundi Club's early members will include Moon Magic, an oil by Ralph Blakelock given to the Museum by Mr. Sidney A. Levyne, Pikesville, Maryland, Woman in Repose, a drawing by Robert F. Blum donated by Mr. & Mrs. Alfred T. Morris, Jr., East Providence, Rhode Island, Portrait of William A. Putnam, Sr., an oil by William Merritt Chase, also given by Mr. & Mrs. Morris and Autumn Morning, a watercolor by John F. Murphy, a gift of Mr. & Mrs. Michael Merson, Baltimore, Maryland, as well as paintings by Thomas Moran, Childe Hassam, John LaFarge and Frederic E. Church. (left: Childe Hassam, White House Gloucester, oil on canvas)

Blakelock was born and studied in New York City and began his career as a later Hudson River School landscape painter. Even his works from this early period have a unique melancholy and were executed in a rough, somewhat painterly manner. He spent the years 1869 through 1872 in the West where he painted a number of topographical scenes. On his return to the East, he evolved the aesthetic that was to dominate his art - quiet evening scenes, large oak trees silhouetted against a sunset or moonlight glow. Blakelock made no attempt to transcribe scenery; his aim was to express moods of haunting reverie and tranquility. His works are notable for rich, vibrant color. He was elected an Academician of the National Academy of Art in 1916.

Over the years, the club has been a gathering place for great artists and it continues to serve as a center for fine artists from New York and around the country. Other artists from the Salmagundi Club will be Edward W. Redfield, Joseph Pennell, Emil Carlsen, Charles W. Hawthorne, John Sloan and Lawrence McCoy. (right: Frederic E. Church, Scene on Catskill Creek, oil on canvas)

Born in Delaware, Redfield began drawing early in life and exhibited in the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in the toddler's category. The family lived in Philadelphia where he worked in his father's nursery. He received formal art training at the Spring Garden Institute and later at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts under Thomas P. Anschutz. In 1889, Redfield enrolled at the Academie Julian in Paris where he was inspired by the French Impressionists. He married Elise Deligant in 1893, whose family owned the Hotel-de-Ia-Foret near Fountainebleau, where the artist painted many landscapes. Redfield returned to America and was determined to make a living as an artist. He drove himself to finish landscape compositions in one day, despite their size or the weather and his diligence helped him to become known as the leader of the Pennsylvania Impressionists. He painted many landscapes of the Delaware River Valley and the Bucks County region near Center Bridge. (left: Edward Redfield, Mill Pond, oil on canvas)

Women artists, accepted only during the past thirty years, are also included in the exhibition. Peaches & Plums by Mary Flournoy Passailaigue, donated by the artist in honor of Mr. & Mrs. John M. Waltersdorf and two small oils by Marguerite Stuber Pearson will be on view, along side Streambed, an oil painting by Boonsboro artist Elisabet Stacy-Hurley, a current member of the Salmagundi Club on loan from the collection of F. P. & Caroline A. Longeway.of Hedgesville, WV.

 

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