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SALMAGUNDI CLUB: An American Institution

December 15, 2006 - February 11, 2007

 

The Salmagundi Club (pronounced sal-ma-GUN-dee), founded in New York City in 1871, is one of the oldest art organizations in America. Their beginning was rather modest. In 1871 a small group of professional artists would gather on Saturday evening in the studio of J. Scott Hartley, a renowned sculptor and son-in-law of George Inness. Their time was spent critiquing each other's work, painting, sketching and socializing. The group began to attract interest in the art community and by 1880, the group was so well established they decided to incorporate. Mr. Hartley suggested that the new club be named the Salmagundi Sketch Club. The name was inspired by Washington Irving's celebrated papers wherein "Salmagundi" was referred to as a stew of many ingredients. The club became an important New York venue for art exhibitions. This exhibition is a survey of the club's history.

The club became an important center for American art and takes great pride in its roster of members which include the renowned artists, George Inness*, Howard Chandler Christy, Robert Frederick Blum, William Merritt Chase*, Emil Carlsen*, Hugh Bolton Jones, Dean Cornwell, Gari Melchers*, John Francis Murphy, Frank H. Desch, Guy Wiggins*, Childe Hassam*, N.C. Wyeth, Louis Comfort Tiffany* and many others, as well known lay members, (non-artists) John Philip Sousa, Stanford White, and Tony Pastor to name a few.

In 1917, with the support of its members, a Fifth Avenue brownstone was purchased and became their permanent home. The club became the center of artistic activity in the Village for many decades. Today, the Salmagundi Club has a membership of over 600, many who continue to gather at the club. The club collection is a testament to all the members past and present that were, and are, proudly associated with an institution that was destined to make history in the art world.

The Salmagundi Club's collection of artwork and its history of club-sponsored exhibitions are testaments to all members that were, and are, associated with an institution that has made an important contribution to the development of American art -- and therefore to the quality and prestige of art collections like that of the Muskegon Museum of Art. Since many of the club's most distinguished members are represented in the MMA's collection (note artists' names asterisked above), visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy MMA favorites in a new light, either exhibited as part of this special exhibition or cross-referenced in the permanent collection galleries.

The showing here in Muskegon is part of a ten city national tour over a two-and-a-half-year period. The exhibition includes over 60 works representing the club's membership, artists' palettes, hand-decorated mugs, photomurals, and the coveted Salmagundi Club medal, courtesy of The Salmagundi Club Inc., New York, New York. The tour was developed and managed by Smith Kramer Fine Art Services, an exhibition tour development company in Kansas City, Missouri. Local presentation of Salmugundi Club is sponsored by the Paul C. Johnson Foundation and the Patrick O'Leary Foundation of the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund. Public broadcasting support is provided by WGVU Radio.

RELATED PROGRAM

 
ROUNDTABLE PANEL DISCUSSION
 
The West Michigan Eight
Thursday, January 11, 6:00­8:00 pm
For many years, Larry Blovits (a Salmagundi Club member), Jack Brouwer, Carl Forslund, Collin Fry, Jim Markle, Jon McDonald, Armand Merizon, and Chris Overvoorde have sketched together, attended each other's exhibitions, and met regularly for lunch. The artists typically gather at a roundtable for their meal so that they can, in Carl Forslund's words, "go around the table," in friendly disputes that range from how to best draw a foreshortened tree limb to their philosophies on art. The public is invited to join the The West Michigan Eight, as the museum has unofficially named them, for an evening of spirited dialogue with this distinguished old guard group. This special program is free.

 

(above: Antonio Cirino (1889-1983), Boat, c. 1930, oil)

 

(above: Guy Wiggins (1883-1962), Winter Storm, NY; 1962, oil)

 

(above: John Costigan (1888-1972), Hunter, c. 1940, watercolor)

 

(above: M.H. Bancroft (1867-1947), Portrait of J. Scott Hartley, 1904, oil)

Images courtesy of the Salmagundi Club Museum

 

RL readers may enjoy these additional articles:

and exploring the web site for the Salmagundi Club at:

 

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