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Monday, November 20, 2017

Painterly Voice: Bucks County's Fertile Ground

Painterly Voice: Bucks County's Fertile Ground
James A. Michener Art Museum
Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, Pa

October 22, 2011 through April 1, 2012

For information call 215.340.9800 or visit www.michenerartmuseum.org

Paintings by Daniel Garber, Edward Redfield, Fern Coppedge, and other legends of the Bucks County painting tradition—more than 200 of the region’s finest works—have been drawn from regional public and private collections and brought together for this major exhibition.

When the Bucks County landscape painters first came to national prominence in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, landscape painting was one of the cutting edge, avant-garde styles of the day. Painters like Redfield, Garber, and Spencer built stellar careers, and many Bucks County artists exhibited and won prizes at the most prestigious art venues in the country.

Daniel Garber (1880–1958),  Tanis, 1915. Oil on canvas, 60 x 46-1/4 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art. Purchased with funds contributed by Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest, 2011.
Daniel Garber (1880–1958),
Tanis, 1915.
Oil on canvas, 60 x 46-1/4 inches.
Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Purchased with funds contributed by Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest, 2011.

John Fulton Folinsbee (1892–1972),  Bowman’s Hill, 1936–37 Oil on canvas, 34 x 50 inches. James A. Michener Art Museum.  Gift of Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest. Copyright 2007 John F. Folinsbee Art Trust.
John Fulton Folinsbee (1892–1972),
Bowman’s Hill, 1936–37
Oil on canvas, 34 x 50 inches.
James A. Michener Art Museum.
Gift of Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest. Copyright 2007 John F. Folinsbee Art Trust.

The Michener’s Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest Chief Curator, Brian H. Peterson, notes that while many art colonies were comprised of artists looking for a quite summer location to paint, “The New Hope artists were an art colony year round. They lived here, worked here, paid their taxes here, raised their children here, made many friends here and, most importantly, responded to the sense of place in their artwork.” What distinguishes Bucks County’s painterly heritage is not any singular, recognizable style, but rather a diversity of “fingerprints”—genres, tools, and techniques. It’s this very diversity that is the most characteristic quality of Bucks County painting. “But the word ‘diversity’ doesn’t do justice to the depth and breadth of the story of the region’s masters of canvas and brush,” says Peterson. “It’s the elusive but essential quality of individuality—what some call style or originality, but is better described by the more poetic term ‘voice’—that the rich creative soil of Bucks County has most nurtured over the decades.”

After more than two decades of research and publication in the field of Bucks County painting, the museum has amassed a wealth of knowledge in this arena. The Painterly Voice is the most ambitious effort in the museum’s history to demonstrate the depth and quality of Bucks County’s tradition of excellence in the art of painting.

George Sotter (1879-1953),  Silent Night, ca. 1932 Oil on canvas, 36 x 40 inches. Collection of Louis E. and Carol A. Della Penna.
George Sotter (1879-1953),
Silent Night, ca. 1932
Oil on canvas, 36 x 40 inches.
Collection of Louis E. and Carol A. Della Penna.

Fern Coppedge (1883-1951),  Red Sails in the Sunset, n.d. Oil on canvas, 38 x 40 inches. Collection of Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest.
Fern Coppedge (1883-1951),
Red Sails in the Sunset, n.d.
Oil on canvas, 38 x 40 inches.
Collection of Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest.

Edward Redfield (1869-1965),  The Burning of Center Bridge, 1923. Oil on canvas, H. 50-1/4 x 56-1/4 inches. James A. Michener Art Museum.  Acquired with funds secured by State Senator Joe Conti, and gifts from Joseph and Anne Gardocki and the Laurent Redfield family.
Edward Redfield (1869-1965),
The Burning of Center Bridge, 1923.
Oil on canvas, H. 50-1/4 x 56-1/4 inches.
James A. Michener Art Museum.
Acquired with funds secured by State Senator Joe Conti, and gifts from Joseph and Anne Gardocki and the Laurent Redfield family.

The Painterly Voice will occupy three of the museum’s largest galleries and will open its doors as the seventh major construction project in the Michener’s twenty-three year history moves toward completion. The Edgar N. Putman Event Pavilion, a state-of-the-art glass enclosed structure, scheduled to open in spring 2012, represents, along with The Painterly Voice, the culmination of more than twenty years of growth, professionalism, and service to the community at the Michener Art Museum, the art and soul of Bucks County.

In addition to the gallery exhibition, works in The Painterly Voice will be featured in a web-based publication that will make the Bucks County tradition available to art lovers around the world.

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