Shelburne Museum

Shelburne, VT


from left to right: entrance to Shelburne Museum; the Webb Gallery, containing American art; photos by John Hazeltine


The Life and Works of Ogden Pleissner at Shelburne Museum


Shelburne Museum is presenting landscape and sporting artist Ogden Pleissner's lifetime of work as never seen before. The majority of the sixty paintings and drawings in this new exhibition have not previously been on view. Drawing from Shelburne's vast Pleissner collection, the show includes largely unknown early oil paintings by the artist.

Also on view are rare sketches and watercolors of European subjects and a group of fine sporting scenes for which Pleissner is well-known. Pleissner's development as an artist visually unfolds on the gallery walls from his early years in Brooklyn, summers in Wyoming, visits to Nova Scotia and Connecticut, and beginnings as a sporting artist; his depictions of World War II and ensuing visits abroad; to his establishment as a premiere sporting artist. Right: Ogden Pleissner, Blue Boat on the St. Anne.

Pleissner's own scrapbook sheds light on his position within early 20th-century developments in art. Often characterized as a traditionalist, in reality his world during his early years was intertwined with the avant-garde artists of the day. Pleissner's work was shown along side such modernists as Arthur B. Davies,Walt Kuhn, Max Weber, Edward Hopper and sculptors William Zorach and Robert Laurent. The dichotomy between the modernists and the Academy did not prevent young artists like Pleissner from participating in their world.

World War II brought about a major turning point in Pleissner's career. First commissioned as a war artist by the Air Force, he then worked for Life magazine as a war artist-correspondent. The Pentagon owns his major collection of war art but many pieces from his personal collection are now at Shelburne. Visitors can see his Schoolhouse in Rheims, France where the Armistice was signed.

The exhibition ends with Pleissner's most popular subject with collectors today, sporting art. Exhibited is one of the most well known American fishing scenes, Blue Boat on the St. Anne. Sketches and photographs of the many different landscapes in which he hunted as well as photographs of models in fishing-related poses help to engage visitors with the wide range of Pleissner's work.

The exhibition opens May 22, 1999 in the Pleissner Gallery.

Read more in Resource Library Magazine about the Shelburne Museum.

For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 10/18/10

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