Sunday, November 14, 2010

Oglethorpe University Museum of Art - French Masters Exhibit

The Schlossbergs graciously lent the OU Museum of Art some of the finest pieces of their collection to display in the museum here on our campus. Pictures above is Mr. Schlossberg, a doctor with a passion for collecting art, speaking to students from my class about each piece and its history, story, and its significance to him. It was so interesting to get his take on the pieces that he has purchased. Each has a story and each is special or exciting to him in one way or another. He certainly knows his stuff, and it is this knowledge and savvy that he says is essential to becoming a good collector. You have to start small, but with the right purchases, because each is an investment. 

The pieces in his wife and his collection are mostly drawings done by artists of other famous pieces. It's an interesting angle, seeing famous works sketched out by those whose art we've seen wow audiences countless times as well. It's a conglomeration of greatness in something completely simple and unsuspecting. The pieces vary in their levels of seriousness--some are simply sketches, studies of body parts of various scenes meshed together on one sheet of precious paper. Others have had highlighting color added to them and been carefully refined. Below I will show some of my pictures from the event, taken of pieces that I particularly enjoyed. 

I found this piece beautiful and quite interesting in terms of composition. "Black lithographic crayon with scratching out on transfer paper laid down on Japan paper." That's not a method you hear of too often. However, it gives the feeling of just rapid strokes of pencil or crayon to create this picture. No solid lines to outline subjects. Nor any real rigidness. It is fluid and thus fitting for the scene it is showing, a nymph being observed by a man. A beautiful sight and one that is linked to nature. 

This painting/drawing I just found simply amusing. The man has such presence, but of a quirky kind. It looks as though he belongs to the circus yet one might assume that he's quite important. Still, no matter how important he is, he still has that ridiculous countenance and mustache. 

 "Study in Hands and Feet"--an example of those drawings that just look to be practice pieces and are now featured in a museum. Still, I greatly admired this piece as it worked on capturing appendages that are so hard to master in such accurate detail. 

These two pieces are the headlining pieces of the exhibit. The first is Monet's famous piper, sketched by Renoir. According to Mr. Schlossberg, it is one of the most popular pieces of their collection as well, constantly called on to be photographed or anthologized. The second is by Edgar Degas. This piece has particular interest for Mr. Schlossberg. As he told us, many people think this is a lover of the artist or a famous society woman of his time. However, through Mr. Schlossberg's own research, he is of the opinion that it is of Degas' cousin. 

This is one of my favorites from the whole collection. It is simple and beautiful in it's original charcoal outline, but I love how it is enhanced by the glittering chalk placed on the headband's adornment. As we were walked around and told about everything, we were told that this piece could be depicting a prostitute or someone's mistress. Her alluring beauty is evident in this sketch and so that story becomes not so hard to believe. 

And finally, the Sappho sculpture. I was drawn to this piece because of a paper I had to write the second semester of my freshman year about any topic of my choosing from Ancient Greece. I chose this female poet with the fragmented works and really enjoyed all my research. This sculpture is particularly perfect in my mind because of the position that Sappho sits. She is clearly a woman and feminine in her form, dress, and accessories. Yet, she sits with her head cast down. It is a sign of anonymity. We know so little about her that it seems fitting. We know the basics about her being a woman and a teacher of girls but about her individually, we know little. This sculpture seems to say all this and that makes me happy.  

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