Indepth Arts News: |
"A Brush with Nature: The Gere Collection of Landscape Oil Sketches"
2000-09-12 until 2000-11-12
New York, NY,
New York audiences will have a unique opportunity this fall to see a
remarkable collection of small-scale landscape oil sketches that are on
public view for the first time. A Brush with Nature: The Gere Collection
of Landscape Oil Sketches is on display at The Frick Collection from
September 12 through November 12, 2000, the second stop in a tour which
originated in 1999 at London's National Gallery amid critical acclaim. The
exhibition will later go to other venues including The Dixon Gallery and
Gardens, Memphis, Tennessee.
Created by eighteenth- and nineteenth-century artists working out of
doors, these plein-air sketches were painted quickly -- the artists often
spent no more than two hours on a work -- and attempted to capture subtle
atmospheric effects and the fleeting play of light. The pictures, many painted on paper, were not conceived of as finished works of arts, but offered an opportunity to test and sharpen skills. These sketches were
rarely, if ever, exhibited during the painters' lifetimes, and were often
kept in the studio for later consultation. Nonetheless, such works played
a vital role in the visual training of generations of European artists,
and by the end of the eighteenth century, the art of sketching in oil had
become recognized by artists as a valid occupation in its own right. This
exhibition represents an important milestone in the study and
understanding of the painted oil sketch in the European tradition.
The collecting of these landscape oil sketches was pioneered by the
distinguished art historians John and Charlotte Gere as recently as 1950,
when they began to gather these intimate and compelling documents of
artists at work. Today, this growing body of work represents one the most
comprehensive collections of its type. The exhibition A Brush with
Nature: The Gere Collection of Landscape Oil Sketches features
approximately sixty works and is coordinated for The Frick Collection by Associate Curator Susan Grace Galassi. Following the New York showing, the works return to the National Gallery in London, where they will ultimately reside on long-term loan. Support for the exhibition in New York is provided, in part, through the generosity of the Fellows of The Frick Collection.
The majority of the works in the Gere Collection and in A Brush with Nature are scenic views of Italy painted by British, French, Italian, German, Belgian, and Scandinavian artists. The presentation features works by such admired figures as Edouard Bertin (1797-1871), Giovanni Boldini (1842-1931), Giovanni-Battista Camuccini (1819-1902), Gilles-François-Joseph Closson (1798-1842), Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796-1875), Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas (1834-1917), Simon Denis (1755-1812), Giuseppe De Nittis (1846-1884), Louis Gauffier (1762-1801), André Giroux (1801-1879), François-Marius Granet (1775-1849), Thomas Jones (1742-1803), Frederic, Baron Leighton of Stretton (1830-1896), and Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes (1750-1819).
An illustrated catalogue with two essays provides a background to the
collection: Charlotte Gere's memoir charts its formation, while an essay
by Christopher Riopelle, Curator of Nineteenth-century Painting at the National Gallery, traces the development of the plein-air oil sketch and its place in European painting.