Category

Spotlight

A ruby-throated hummingbird approaches a cluster of blossoms, with other hummingbirds trapped in the blooms.

Collection Spotlight: Walton Ford

By | Art, News, Spotlight | No Comments

Things are not as they seem in the charming print, “Limed Blossoms.” Contemporary artist Walton Ford pays homage to John James Audubon’s artistic style, but he also makes a critical statement on man-made threats to the environment.

What do you observe about the ruby-throated hummingbirds sipping nectar from the blossoms? One bird curiously approaches unaware. The others are trapped and lifeless. The title, “Limed Blossoms,” gives us a clue. Audubon and other collectors spread sticky birdlime on twigs and other perches to trap small birds to study, export and trade. Ford uses outdated and unassuming methods to symbolize the human footprint’s destructive impact.

Notice anything in the bottom left corner? Pollution blocks the rosy sunset. Through his artwork, Ford advocates for protecting the environment.

A ruby-throated hummingbird approaches a cluster of blossoms, with other hummingbirds trapped in the blooms.

Color etching and aquatint
Accompanying the limited-edition book Pancha Tantra
Edition: 100
Museum purchase with funds provided by the 1072 Society, 2012

A young girl leans out of a window, looking sad.

Collection Spotlight: Marion Greenwood

By | Art, News, Spotlight | No Comments

Marion Greenwood, a social realist artist who worked in various mediums, is best known for her murals and work in Mexico.

Ever breaking barriers, she was the first woman to receive a mural commission from a foreign government and was one of two women selected as an artist war correspondent during World War II. Greenwood transferred her “terrific love for human beings and people” into becoming a painter of people focused upon their diversity. She won the Lithography Prize from John Herron Art Institute.

In Greenwood’s lithograph “Waiting,” a young African American girl leans out of a window. Her head rests on her stacked hands. How do you think she feels based on her posture and gaze? What is she thinking?

A young girl leans out of a window, looking sad.

Waiting, ca. 1950
Ink on Paper
Lithograph
9 3/8 x 12 1/2 in.
Museum purchase

Contributed by Leslie Schuneman, curatorial intern

I find that years later after the sieve of time takes place, you really know more about what you want to say personally.

Marion Greenwood
Warm light and shadows move across a book, opened to a picture of a heron.

Collection Spotlight: Jane E. Goldman

By | Art, News, Spotlight | No Comments

Observe the passing months and seasons in the work of Jane E. Goldman. Cut flowers in glass vases and native plants frame each setting of her intricate prints. Patterned shadows dance on table cloths, floor tiles and opened books featuring images from John James Audubon’s “Birds of America.” Goldman works in various media, with her style described as “lyrical realism.” In her words, she is “looking inwards to depict incorporeal works of imagination that can’t be seen by observation.”

What seasonal elements can you sense by looking at “Audubon June?” The page in the book subtly moves, perhaps partially propped up by the chilled water glass or a burst of breeze. How does the reproduction of Audubon’s work blend into the scene? The branches in the upper right give partial coverage to the blue heron at the water’s edge.

Warm light and shadows move across a book, opened to a picture of a heron.

“Audubon June,” 2004
16-color screen print
Edition: 53/64
18 x 26 inches (image)
Gift of Lynn Barstis Williams Katz and Burton Katz

A melon baller and bottle opener posed as people; a glove with two fingers walking

Collection Spotlight: Janet Nolan

By | Art, News, Spotlight | No Comments

Everything from squashed aluminum cans to plastic packaging finds its way into the work of Janet Nolan (B.V.A., 1968). As a young girl in Montgomery, Alabama she absorbed the aesthetic of repurposing objects into new contexts from a beloved uncle who reconstructed ”everyday broken things into useful objects; like old metal coffee pots into lamps with colander shades.”

Inspired by Louise Bourgeois’ feminist perspective and Robert Rauschenberg’s assemblages, Nolan began sculpting with broken umbrellas she collected from Manhattan streets after a thunderstorm in 1976. Nolan’s art-colorful, playful and thought-provoking has been exhibited at universities, art centers, galleries, museums and corporate headquarters across the nation. Cheerfully, Nolan asks us to shift our expectations of redemption, recycling, rescue and revival.

A melon baller and bottle opener posed as people; a glove with two fingers walking

(L to R)

I Do, 1995
Kitchen utensils, glass case, painted wood
Gift of the artist’s estate

Cruella, 2000
Fur and suede glove, wood base,
glass dome
Gift of the artist’s estate

Installation of Apollo the Healer

Collection Spotlight: Nancy Grossman

By | Art, News, Spotlight | No Comments

Nancy Grossman, a New York City native, created this life-size etching, “Apollo the Healer,” in 1995. The Olympian god is associated with medicine and healing, and in this piece, the artist focuses our attention on a contorted collage figure of him, pieced together and made anew.

Grossman considered collage—the cutting and pasting of visual elements into a new form—as “the only way to make the disparate and ill-fitting parts of a life, an identity, an elegantly seamless experience. It satisfies both the urgent and the substantive thirst.” The museum, joining the world-wide chorus, offers thanks to all providing medical assistance during the pandemic, with hopes that this art provides a path away from suffering and toward restoration.

Contributed by staff

Figure of Apollo the healer

Edition: 3/20
65 in x 39.5 sheet
Spit-bite color etching
Museum purchase with funds provided by the 1072 Society, 2018

Collection Spotlight: Loren MacIver

By | Art, News, Spotlight | No Comments

Native New Yorker Loren MacIver took Saturday painting classes at the Art Students League as a youth. After that, the then 10-year old refused to take any further training. Fast forward to 1935, when she became the first woman to enter the Museum of Modern Art’s collection. Primarily self-taught as an artist, McIver found success in a time when women faced extreme difficulty gaining notice among art critics and dealers. She was only one of three women included in Advancing American Art, a short-lived U.S. State Department-produced touring exhibition in support of American ideals and art.

“Finit” is inspired by the sights of Cape Cod. Delicate brushwork and a soft palette evoke early morning light at water’s edge. The rising sun begins to dry the atmosphere, and elements both near and far gradually emerge from the gauzy haze. MacIver is frequently compared to the artist Paul Klee. Like Klee and the Surrealists, MacIver seems to elicit revelations from the realm of the subconscious.

Loren MacIver
(American, 1909–1998)
Finit, 1939
Oil on canvas
21 x 34 ½ inches
Museum purchase with funds provided by the 1072 Society, 2019

An abstract drawing of a seated woman

Collection Spotlight: Grace Hartigan

By | News, Spotlight | No Comments

Grace Hartigan is known as a “Second-Generation Abstract Expressionist,” but she did not exclusively tether herself to the movement. Her close friendship with Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Willem de Kooning, as well as her immersion in the 1950s New York art scene, influenced her painting. However, Hartigan remained autonomous and forged her style that seamlessly melded together abstraction and figuration. She painted under the pseudonym “George” until 1953 in homage to 19th-century female writers: George Sand and George Eliot.

In “Seated Figure I”, Hartigan’s unique marriage of abstraction and figuration is present. The curving lines of the female figure gracefully flow diagonally across the canvas. Thick black lines establish a background yet abstract the composition as a whole. Marks that initially look random – an outburst of artistic expression – become a vital part of developing the figure. It appears that two opposed styles have come to rest upon Hartigan’s muted canvas.

By Leslie Schuneman, curatorial intern

An abstract drawing of a seated woman

Grace Hartigan
(1922-2008)
“Seated Figure I” (circa 1952)
Pen, brush, black ink, and ink wash on paper
Museum purchase with funds provided by the 1072 Society
Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University

“If you’re an extraordinarily gifted woman, the door is open. What women are fighting for is the right to be as mediocre as men.”

Grace Hartigan
Three girls sit on a bed in a silver gelatin print.

Collection Spotlight: Diane Arbus

By | News, Spotlight | No Comments

By Leslie Schuneman, curatorial intern

Diane Arbus is known for her psychologically compelling portraits of socialites and outliers alike. Arbus began her photography career in fashion and advertising and was published in “Vogue” and “Harper’s Bazaar”; yet, feeling that her work was banal and repetitious, Arbus took to the streets. She photographed everything from high-class women donning fur coats with their lapdogs to a family casually lounging in their nudist camp. Regardless of subject matter, Arbus probes the identity of her subjects with a light of familiarity and foreignness.

In this famous photograph, the triplets confront us with an intense gaze, but there still remains a sense of intimacy. They are pictured in their personal space – three identical beds and repetitive diamond wallpaper that echo their own similarities. The triplets almost appear to become one person as their dark skirts and bright white shirts bleed together; yet, their individual personalities play across their faces. Arbus stated that triplets reflected herself as they presented three different identities tied into one.

“We’ve all got an identity. You can’t avoid it. It’s what is left when you take away everything else.”

Diane Arbus
Three girls sit on a bed in a silver gelatin print.

Diane Arbus
(1923-1971)
“Triplets in Their Bedroom, N.J.”, 1963
Silver gelatin print
The William Dunlop Collection
Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University

Joshua Shaw (American, 1776-1860) Stoney Creek, North Carolina, No. 3, n.d. Oil on paper laid down on panel Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University; Gift of Jane and Mike McLain 2011.19.1

Collection Spotlight: Joshua Shaw

By | News, Spotlight | No Comments

Advanced art history students in assistant professor Emily Burns’ classes will get a hands-on look at the world of art curation and have a unique experience for their portfolios using the collections of Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University. The students will research, curate and present on a two-part exhibition in the Chi Omega-Hargis Gallery during the spring 2018 semester.

Below is a Collection Spotlight from the first exhibition, “Strokes of Nature: Plein Air Painting in the 19th Century.”

In an extant letter related to this painting, Joshua Shaw states that this scene “has nothing in it historically interesting… and I sketched it entirely for its wild and picturesque appearance.” Not searching for a specific historical landmark, Shaw stumbled upon this small creek bank on his journey throughout the wilderness of North Carolina. Shaw’s choice signals a growing interest in the early nineteenth century in representing quotidian landscape. The artist’s eclectic style challenges the viewer to understand whether Shaw painted this scene outdoors or by memory. By eliminating brushstrokes and smoothing the surface, he reduces a sense of time. Yet the glistening of the water crests, the wispy clouds, and the sketchy nature of the leaves draw the viewer into a serene experience of the momentary.

Joshua Shaw (American, 1776-1860) Stoney Creek, North Carolina, No. 3, n.d. Oil on paper laid down on panel Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University; Gift of Jane and Mike McLain 2011.19.1

Joshua Shaw
(American, 1776-1860)
Stoney Creek, North Carolina, No. 3, n.d.
Oil on paper laid down on panel
Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University; Gift of Jane and Mike McLain
2011.19.1

Edmund Petitjean (French 1844-1925) Les Côte du Nords, Bretagne (The Shell Gatherers), n.d. Oil on Canvas Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University; Gift of Noel and Katheryn Dickinson Wadsworth

Collection Spotlight: Edmund Petitjean

By | News, Spotlight | No Comments

Advanced art history students in assistant professor Emily Burns’ classes will get a hands-on look at the world of art curation and have a unique experience for their portfolios using the collections of Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University. The students will research, curate and present on a two-part exhibition in the Chi Omega-Hargis Gallery during the spring 2018 semester.

Below is a Collection Spotlight from the first exhibition, “Strokes of Nature: Plein Air Painting in the 19th Century.”

Rather than rendering every specific detail on the beach at Côtes-d’Armor, formerly known as Côtes-du-Nord in northern Brittany, Edmund Petitjean gives the viewer a general sense of the surroundings: debris and plants, the movement of the receding waves, the shadows created by the larger rocks scattered over the shore. He illustrates the rocky coast with bright hues of green ranging from light olive to emerald to a deep almost-black green. He captures the ocean breeze using swirling and airy brushstrokes of aquamarine with additives of white to highlight the dynamic shapes of the clouds in front of him. Petitjean’s swift brushstrokes and dabs of color indicate the artist’s hastiness to capture a singular time of day. As a result of this plein-air grounding and Impressionist handling, a momentary quality entices the viewer to share his experience.

Edmund Petitjean (French 1844-1925) Les Côte du Nords, Bretagne (The Shell Gatherers), n.d. Oil on Canvas Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University; Gift of Noel and Katheryn Dickinson Wadsworth

Edmund Petitjean
(French 1844-1925)
Les Côte du Nords, Bretagne (The Shell Gatherers), n.d.
Oil on Canvas
Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University; Gift of Noel and Katheryn Dickinson Wadsworth
1980.1

Welcome to the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art!

We are excited that you are here with us. Feel free to look around and reach out to us by navigating to our contact page.