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Displaying items by tag: Kindred Spirits

Thursday, 04 September 2014 10:38

A Look at the Country’s Best Small Town Museums

The first significant new museum of American art in nearly half a century debuted in 2011. But to view Crystal Bridges' collection—from a Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington to Jackson Pollock canvases—you don't travel to New York, Los Angeles or Chicago. You head down a forested ravine in a town in northwestern Arkansas.

As museum founder and Walmart heiress Alice Walton scooped up tens of millions of dollars' worth of art from across the country, thinly veiled snobbish rhetoric began to trickle out from the coasts. Most notably, when she purchased Asher B. Durand's 1849 "Kindred Spirits" from the New York Public Library for $35 million, some culturati bristled at the thought that this famed Hudson River School landscape would be leaving for Bentonville. The controversy raised the question: Who deserves access to great art?

Published in News
Wednesday, 08 May 2013 02:12

Kindred Spirits

Part of the excitement of collecting is the discovery. Such is the case with the blanket chest in the front entry. Sold at a farm auction in Pennsylvania, it was covered with dirt, obscuring the painted surface. The collectors had faith there was something there, so they purchased it and hired conservator Peter Dean to clean the surface, revealing the wonderful grained paint with tulips and hearts on the lid. One of two Delaware Valley ladder-back chairs, with five rather than the more typical four slats, is temporary home to “Woody,” one of five cats who live with the couple. “The cats are part of our lives and live with the antiques as much as we do,” says the husband. “They have never damaged anything, though we do put adhesive on the bottom of the stoneware to hold it in place just in case.” A watercolor by Joseph H. Davis (1811–1865), depicting a couple at a table, was acquired from Greg Kramer; it hangs beside a full-length portrait of a young girl, purchased from the Lester Breininger sale. The girl and two works that face one another, acquired from Greg Kramer, as well as the other child are by Jacob Maentel (1763–1863); the image of a woman in blue is by an unknown artist. Before he became an auctioneer, Ron Pook was the underbidder for the iron candleholder with heart-shaped pedestal. The sampler, with house and willow tree, behind the stair rails, is from McConnelsburg; there are few identified from this area of Western Pennsylvania.

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