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The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive presents "American Wonder: Folk Art from the Collection," on view October 1 through December 21, 2014. Featuring approximately fifty portraits, landscapes, weather vanes, decorative sculptures, and other works dating from the wake of the Declaration of Independence War to the end of the Civil War, this exhibition captures glimpses of young America during a period of boundless optimism, massive growth, and eventual upheaval. This distinguished collection at BAM/PFA—one of the most impressive American folk art collections from this period anywhere—results from the generosity of two collectors and patrons, Bliss Carnochan and Nancy Edebo. "American Wonder" is the last major art exhibition to open in BAM/PFA’s current museum building at 2626 Bancroft Way before the institution moves to a new location, currently under construction, in downtown Berkeley in early 2016.

American Wonder starts in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century New England, where the country’s newly independent citizens were beginning to help define and assume a national identity—one aligned with the goals of liberty, self-improvement, and advancement.

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An arch formed by trees that becomes more like a gothic stained glass window than a scene from nature. Bird escaping an ominous forest overlaid with ... is that sound? Hidden images meant to signal "dangerous brooding," "the fear of loneliness" or "imbecility." That's just a few things visitors will discover in the Brandywine River Museum of Art's latest exhibit, "Exalted Nature: The Real and Fantastic World of Charles E. Burchfield," on view through Nov. 16. It looks specifically at Burchfield's landscapes.

The works are nearly hallucinogenic: The more you look, the more that blade of grass or that stand of trees or that fallen leaf morphs something else. And while Burchfield meant to depict how this one scene looked, smelled and sounded at this one moment, viewing the show becomes a much more internal exercise than a communal one.

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Tuesday, 26 August 2014 12:49

Sotheby’s to Auction Edward Weston Photographs

A collection of 548 photographs taken by Edward Weston and printed posthumously by his son Cole Weston — the only person Weston authorized to print from his negatives — will be auctioned by Sotheby’s in New York on Sept. 30. The house is estimating that the prints, which are being sold in a single lot, may bring as much as $3 million.

Weston began his career as a photographer in the first decade of the 20th century and produced about 1,400 images over the next four decades. His best-known and most striking work includes stark black-and-white images, desert landscapes, nudes, and inanimate objects like trees, rocks and shells, which in his photographs often look like sculpture.

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The vibrant, visionary landscapes of Charles Burchfield (1893-1976), one of the leading American artists of the 20th century, are featured in a major exhibition of more than 50 paintings on view at the Brandywine River Museum of Art from Saturday, Aug. 23 through Nov. 16.

Co-organized by the Brandywine River Museum of Art and the Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo, the exhibition features works borrowed from museums and private collections across the United States, including the Burchfield Penney Art Center, the largest repository of the artist’s work.

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The artist Chris Burden has never shied away from the shocking or obsessive, whether being nailed to a Volkswagen or crafting miniature landscapes with thousands of plastic figures.

But his latest work, a $2 million installation for the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, merely requires the flick of a switch to come to life.

“Light of Reason” features 24 Victorian-era lampposts lined up in three rows. Concrete benches will be poured around their bases. The piece is so inoffensive that some might wonder whether it is art at all. Rose director Chris Bedford calls “Light of Reason” a “social sculpture.”

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When David Hockney started spending more time in his native Yorkshire after 2005, he began painting the landscape in all its seasons. These pictures have been acclaimed by critics, including me, as a burst of brilliance from a mature artist. Hockney is so skilled at drawing and painting that it did not seem like good news to hear that he had turned his attentions to the iPad. The artist has a lengthy history of embracing technology including the Polaroid camera, photocopier and fax machine. As of 2009, he started iPhone drawings, then iPad drawings and now paintings. His early iPad drawings and paintings were sketchy, a bit rudimentary, more in keeping with what one might expect from a high tech Etch-a-sketch. Still, his iArt found its way into his lavish retrospective at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art last year and now the iPad paintings are here at L.A. Louver Gallery through August 29.

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Good fortune or just plain chance sometimes dictates the collecting directions of art museums. That is certainly the case with the Indianapolis Museum of Art, which received a bequest of 96 Neo-Impressionist works in 1979 from W.J. Holliday, a local publisher and art collector. Combined with a significant landscape it owned previously by Georges Seurat and seven targeted acquisitions since, the 131-year-old institution lays claim to being the most important repository in the U.S. of works in the eye-grabbing pointillist style.

Capitalizing on that signature strength, the museum has organized "Face to Face," which it bills as the first-ever look at Neo-Impressionist portraiture, a subject that has received less attention than the landscapes, seascapes and urban scenes more typically associated with the style. The two-venue exhibition was seen earlier this year at the ING Cultural Centre in Brussels.

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Modern Dialect: American Paintings from the John and Susan Horseman Collection, a striking new exhibition, opened at the Columbus Museum of Art June 6. The exhibition, on view through August 31, showcases American Modernist paintings from the 1920s to the beginning of World War II, a period marked by significant change and compounded by the onset of the Great Depression in the 1930s.

The more than sixty artists featured in Modern Dialect hail from all parts of the United States, and painted wherever they found inspiration. These artists adhere to a common interest, more than to a single style, in portraying their realities in a decidedly modern fashion. The exhibition reveals the scope of the American modernist aesthetic in the early 20th century, and the vision and integrity each artist brought to the representation of the American experience – from rural landscapes to modern industrial cities (and the people who inhabit them) to purely abstracted compositions.

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The Dallas Museum of Art acquired in May Frederiksborg Castle by Moonlight, 1817, by Danish artist Johan Christian Dahl (1788 – 1857). The recent acquisition is one of the most important works from the Copenhagen phase of Johan Christian Dahl’s career. Long missing, the work was rediscovered in 2000 after a cleaning revealed a signature and date of 1817, the year before Dahl left Copenhagen for Dresden. Dahl is best known today as a Romantic painter of Nordic landscapes, often seen in dramatic lighting or weather conditions. He is also considered one of the great masters of Danish Golden Age painting. Frederiksborg Castle by Moonlight, on view for the first time publicly since 1817, is currently accessible through the Museum’s conservation gallery.

The first record of Frederiksborg Castle by Moonlight appears in a letter from Dahl to fellow artist Christian Albrecht Jensen on October 30, 1817, in which he mentions several works he had completed that summer, including three paintings of Frederiksborg Castle. The largest of those three paintings, which is now in the DMA collection, was commissioned by Etatsraad Bugge. The other two works were created for King Frederik VI in 1817 and are now in the Statens Museum for Kunst (National Gallery of Denmark) in Copenhagen. One of the paintings for King Frederik shows the castle from the same vantage point in the palace gardens as the DMA painting, but in the daylight. The other shows the castle by moonlight but from a more distant point in the gardens.

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Sotheby’s London today announces that the collection of Ralph C. Wilson, Jr., visionary founder of the Buffalo Bills NFL franchise, who died earlier this year, will lead Sotheby’s Evening Sale of Impressionist & Modern Art in London on 23 June 2014. The group of four works, highlighted by two exquisite paintings by Claude Monet that represent the pinnacle of the Impressionist movement, was assembled by Mr Wilson with a remarkable vision over two decades ago. American Football as it is known today would not exist if it weren’t for Mr Ralph Wilson, but while he was best known as the longtime owner of the Buffalo Bills, privately he was a passionate collector of the highest order. Seeking out the finest examples of key artists of the Impressionist era, Wilson pursued great works of art and in the 1990s acquired these four canvases by the towering figures of the period.

Helena Newman, Sotheby’s Co-Head, Impressionist & Modern Art Worldwide comments: “We have seen how much appetite there is for works of true museum quality so we anticipate that these two extremely desirable works by Monet will appeal to buyers across the world. Outstanding paintings by Monet are more desirable now than ever before and these two works, each from a pinnacle of the artist’s career in two different decades, are both wonderful examples of why Monet has such an enduring appeal.”

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