Saturday, October 12, 2013

Brooklyn Museum's American Collection

 When John and I stepped off the elevator onto the 5th floor of the Brooklyn Museum we were greeted by Alice Neel's portrait of John I. H. Baum (1974). Baum was the head of the museum's Dept. of Painting and Sculpture from 1936 to 1952.
 The wall text informed us that it was Baum's idea to collect American paintings, sculpture and crafts from all periods of America's history. So we have him to thank for much of what we are about to see.
American Identities is the current show. There were many works that we had never seen before.  John loved this George Bellows painting, A Morning Snow-Hudson River, 1910.
 with its beautiful details.

Bertram Hartman, Trinity Church and Wall Street, 1929.
The museum mixes periods and arts. These are Hopi pots.
Décontractée, 1990, in pink marble by Louise Bourgeois.
The Sculptor, 1964, by John Koch. 
The Sculptor (detail)
The All-Powerful Hand; a provincial Mexican religious painting on metal by an unknown artist.
Marsden Harley's expressionistic Evening Storm, Schoodic, Maine, No 2, 1942
Albert Bierstadt's wildly Romantic A Storm in the Rocky Mountains, Mt Rosalie, 1866.
I admired this smartly turned-out lady amongst some paintings by Nineteenth Century women artists.
The striking portrait above is Jane E. Barlett's portrait of the American actress Sarah Cowell, 1877.
Mary Cassatt's gorgeous Woman in a Red Bodice and Her Child, c1901.
Again there were lots of surprises like A Back Road, 1884, by Frederick Childe Hassan
and this lovely impressionistic study by John Singer Sargent of his sister, Viola Fishing, 1889.
John was taken by William Sidney Mount's Caught Napping, 1847.
Caught Napping (detail)
He also was amused by the surly kitten in Daniel Huntington's family portrait, Ellen Almira Low and Her Three Children (detail), 1847.
Some grand 18th century American women. The two on the left are by John Singleton Copley.
How about this thoroughly modern young woman admiring a model of a Haida longhouse? Both John and I were much impressed with the long-limbed girls of New York City. Are they ALL models?!
Down on the main floor of the museum, John caught this detail of an exhausted worker/student in Vida Pushkarova's Social Realist Two Ivans and Oksana, 1964.
On the ground floor the mix of art forms continued with a fine mix of artwork of various cultures in the Connecting Cultures exhibit.
This is Nick Cave's wonderful Soundsuit, 2010, sculpture/costume made of dogwood twigs, wire, upholstery and a basket. I'd love to see it in action.
Let's leave our short visit to the Brooklyn Museum with this elegant Cambodian sculpture, Torso of a Male Divinity, c 1010-1080.


  1. Ambiguity to say the least! or least is to be said. thank you for sharing.

  2. What a wonderful eclectic collection!