Monday, February 15, 2010

The Hand of the Artist at the Lyman Allyn Museum

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Last week I took an afternoon to visit the Lyman Allyn Museum in New London, CT to view their new exhibit, The Hand of the Artist: Selected European Drawings from the 16th to the 18th Centuries, Curated by Barbara Laux, Assistant Curator and Registrar

The Lyman Allyn isn't a large museum but smaller local museums often offer things that are unusual and different, which is precisely why I like small local musuems. They are in many ways more personal, more accessible and filled with curiosities that are more interesting.

This small drawing exhibit is housed upstairs in the Chappell Gallery.

This lovely collection of mostly small scale drawings and sketches are interspersed with antique maps of various European regions and the drawings are grouped basically by region, Northern Europe, France and Rome.

The feel of the exhibit is extremely personal. A number of the drawings are on irregularly shaped bits of paper, as if they had been literally cut from the artist's sketchbook. Many of the sketches are by lesser known artists, which is actually a treat for me, I always like encountering something I'm not likely to see anywhere else.

The stand out piece for me was Francois Boucher's sketch of The Three Graces.  
I scoured the internet but could not find an image of this sketch. That's actually a wonderful thing because now I feel as if I've gotten to see something that most others have never seen.

I also came away with two tidbits of information that were new to me. I learned that Jean Baptiste Jouvenet's sketch was done in a technique called trois crayon, meaning that he used a red, a black and a white pencil. I also learned that the Italian word vedute means a view of the landscape.

So there you have it, a lovely afternoon was rounded out by a visit to the downstairs galleries which house the American Impressionist paintings including works by Metcalf, Bicknell, Chadwick, Wiggins, Potthast, Weir and Robinson. And some wonderful Hudson River School paintings including works by Heade, Cole, Bierstadt, Church, Ranger, Cropsey and a beautiful Inness, The Catskills toward Evening.

A painting by Jervis Mc Entee also caught my eye. Train Going Through a Pass in the Alps, 1868 which I though showed a distinct JMW Turner influence and the information placard confirmed my hunch.

If you generally skip visiting smaller museums in favor of the big guys let me suggest that you branch out and see what you can find locally, you may be surprised!


AutumnLeaves said...

I love learning new things and Jan, you are the best at putting information out there for me to learn from. Now I am going to go on an internet scour myself. Just the title, "The Three Graces," has my interest piqued.

Jan Blencowe said...

Here's a link to Boucher's painitng of The Three Graces

But the sketch I saw was very different. It was a horizontal format and was a grouping of just the three heads.The faces were classic Bouchere, very much like this one...

AutumnLeaves said...

Thanks, Jan!!