SDMA Exhibition Showcases the Art Of Collecting

NEW PALTZ — Out of the Vault, an impressive multi-part exhibition which highlights components of the permanent collection of the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz, will be on view through August 8, 2004.

About the exhibition: Out of the Vault is developed around works of art drawn from SDMA’s permanent collections, most of which by necessity, remains in storage, and from Arthur A. Anderson’s comprehensive and intriguing collection of Woodstock art.

Kindred Spirits: George Bellows and Friends in Woodstock Impressionist Prints of Childe Hassam Recent Acquisitions, Extended Loans, and Promised Gifts

Although they function independently, the exhibitions simultaneously comprise a significant component of one unifying theme – the nature and phenomenon of collecting – providing a rare look at works of art kept in vaults, both private and public.

Kindred Spirits: George Bellows and Friends in Woodstock. The term “kindred spirits” is best associated with a celebrated painting by Asher B. Durand, that depicts Thomas Cole, the father of the Hudson River School of Painting and William Cullen Bryant, the poet. It is associated with deep friendships and spiritual relationships – both being prominent themes of the Bellow’s exhibition at the SDMA.

Kindred Spirits takes us back to Woodstock during the early twentieth century and examines the work of Bellows and a small circle of his friends in the form of portraits, caricatures and paintings of varied subjects.

George Wesley Bellows arrived in Woodstock in 1920 at the urging of his friend Eugene Speicher (see image at Web site), the renowned portrait painter. By this time in his career, Bellows enjoyed considerable success and recognition as an illustrator, printmaker, and painter. He was closely aligned with a group of innovators, led by Robert Henry, derisively labeled the “Ash Can School,” who rejected the conservative influence of the academy. During his time in Woodstock, Bellows developed enduring friendships. His circle of kindred spirits included his close friends and neighbors, Eugene Speicher, Charles Rosen, Andres Dasburg (one of the founders of the Woodstock Artists Association) and their mentor from the Art Student League days in NYC, Robert Henri. The group also included Norbert Heermann, John Carroll, Leon Kroll, and Neil Ives, as well as Konrad Cramer and Henry Lee McFee, who he greatly admired.

Neil Trager, director of the SDMA remarks: Kindred Spirits seeks to evoke the spirit of the independent and creative impulses that permeated through Woodstock, and that to this day define its spirit, as well as the richness and diversity of American art. It also celebrates the vision of the man who assembled the collection, Arthur A. Anderson, a passionate and informed collector.

Impressionist Paintings of Childe Hassam: Frederick Childe Hassam is considered by many to be one of the earliest American artists to explore and embody impressionism into his work. Hassam’s prints, in this exhibition, surveys the artist’s principal subject matter – New England landscapes, interior vignettes, cityscapes and views of Fishkill, Newburgh and the Catskill Mountains.

The selections for the Hassam exhibition have been drawn from a collection of American prints bequeathed to New Paltz College in 1957 by Edward Coykendall. This exhibition is produced on the occasion of a major retrospective of Hassam’s work that will be on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through September 12, 2004. Important prints by Hassam from the SDMA’s permanent collection will also be on view through September 9 at The Historical Society of the Town of Greenwich, Connecticut.

Recent Acquisitions, Extended Loans, and Promised Gifts: This part of the exhibition showcases works by renown artists Tina Barney, Larry Fink, Allen Ginsberg, Sally Michel, Edward Steichen and others.

Museum hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Sunday, 1-5:00 p.m. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, university intersessions and national holidays. Museum information: (845) 257-3844 or on the Web at Admission is free.

About the museum: The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art is dedicated to collecting, researching, interpreting, and exhibiting works of art from diverse cultures. The permanent collection spans a period of almost 4,000 years. Areas of specialization include 20th century paintings and works on paper, Asian and Pre-Columbian art and artifacts, metals and photographs. SDMA has a special commitment to collecting and exhibiting important works of art created by artists who have lived and worked in the Hudson Valley and Catskill regions. The museum is a major resource in the Hudson Valley serving a broad-based constituency from both on and beyond the New Paltz campus.

The State University of New York at New Paltz is an institution of 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students located in the Mid-Hudson Valley between New York City and Albany. Degrees are offered in the liberal arts and sciences, which serve as a core for professional programs in the fine and performing arts, education, healthcare, business and engineering.