Archive for the 'DFW' Category

It’s All in the Family: The Earles in “Spirit Lodge”

For over a thousand years, Caddo peoples lived, traded goods, made art, and grew crops in communities clustered around rivers in present-day Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. They, like other Mississippian peoples, constructed earthen mounds that marked and shaped their landscape for political and ceremonial purposes. You can visit and learn more about three of those mounds at the Caddo Mounds State Historic Site in East Texas.

Colonization and colonialism dealt blow after blow to the Caddo, with epidemic diseases, forced removals to reservations, and the boarding school system all threatening the continuation of knowledge within Caddo communities. Many traditions survived through the concerted efforts of Caddo knowledge keepers, and others, though disrupted, have now been revived and revitalized through the work of contemporary artists and other cultural practitioners.

Among those artists are brothers Chad “Nish” Earles and Chase Kahwinhut Earles and their father, Wayne “Tay Sha” Earles, all of whom have artworks featured in Spirit Lodge: Mississippian Art from Spiro (on view through August 7, 2022).

Tah-nah-hah “Buffalo,” Chad “Nish” Earles, Caddo, 2018. Acrylic on maple skateboard deck

Academic and professional experience in art and graphic design, a background in graffiti art, and deep engagement with Caddo history and traditions have all shaped Chad’s art. These varied influences are visible in his piece in Spirit Lodge, Tah-Nah-Hah “Buffalo, a hand-painted skateboard deck featuring his characteristic bold lines and creative use of negative space.

Horse tripod vessel (Deé-Tumbah Kah’-Wis), Chase Kahwinhut Earles, Caddo, 2015. Ceramic. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 2018.12

Chase’s Batah Kuhuh alligator gar fish effigy bottle, acquired by the DMA in 2020, welcomes visitors into the exhibition. After its acquisition, Chase and Dr. Michelle Rich, the DMA’s Ellen and Harry S. Parker III Assistant Curator of the Arts of the Americas, had a conversation about his ceramic practice, which can be found here.

When you enter Spirit Lodge’s galleries, you’ll find not one, not two, but three additional works by Chase—two more of his ceramic vessels and one collaboration with Muscogee painter Starr Hardridge. The intricately incised designs on many of Chase’s pieces, as seen on Deé-Tumbah Kah’-Wis above, reflect his own spin on motifs used by pre-contact Caddo potters. Jeri Redcorn, the Caddo pottery revivalist, helped him start working in uniquely Caddo styles.

Inspiration isn’t only flowing from the older generations to the younger though—while Wayne had loved art since he was a child, his interest in stone carving was sparked by going to art shows with his sons (and some encouragement from Chase and Chad!). The stunning ceremonial weaponry featured in the exhibition is a testament to his rapid mastery of the art form. And there’s an extra layer of family connections—Wayne’s ceremonial mace shares a title with Chad’s skateboard deck, and his monolithic axe—like Chase’s effigy bottle—is in the shape of a gar fish.

Left: Ceremonial mace (Tah’-nah-ha—Buffalo), Wayne “Tay Sha” Earles, Caddo, 2018. Stone. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 2019.34.1
Right: Monolithic axe (P-i-ta-u-ni-wan’-ha—To Have Power), Wayne “Tay Sha” Earles, Caddo, 2018. Stone. National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, 2019.34.2

Join us for the Late Night event on March 25 to see Chad along with the Caddo Culture Club exhibiting traditional Caddo dances, Chase demonstrating his potting, and many other artists and knowledge keepers sharing their expertise. And of course, come experience the Earles family’s incredible art in person in Spirit Lodge: Mississippian Art from Spiro!

Becca Merriman-Goldring is the McDermott Intern for Arts of the Americas at the DMA.

DMA by Design

January always marks a new year and new possibilities, and at this time almost 40 years ago, the DMA and the citizens of Dallas were looking forward to a brand-new museum and watching it grow from the ground up.

The site for the new museum, chosen in 1977, was in area north of the Central Business District, where it would serve as the anchor of a new Arts District for the city. This location had once been home to grand mansions facing Ross Avenue at the turn of the 20th century, but by the 1930s and 1940s the area was dominated by car dealerships, tire and auto repair shops, and small machine shops.  

Ross Avenue at Harwood Street, circa 1925. Photo from Park Cities: A Photohistory by Diane Galloway, page 51

The design for the new museum building by architect Edward Larrabee Barnes was created in 1979. Barnes’s plan included a central concourse to connect museum functions, terraced galleries with internal courtyards and skylights for natural light, vaulted space for contemporary art, a sculpture garden, and a quiet continuous background that lets the artworks shine. 

Edward Larrabee Barnes’s original design for the new Dallas Museum of Art, March 1979. The layout stayed generally the same, but the concourse became straight instead of stepped. 

The site chosen was not empty land, and the structures were still mainly automotive related, especially on the Ross and Harwood sides.

Northwest corner of Ross and Harwood, the current location of the DMA, looking north along Harwood Street with Ross Avenue in the foreground.

The demolition of the existing structures began in September 1980, but in keeping with the January theme, the following image is from January 29, 1981.

J.W. Bateson Construction, Paula Lawrence photographer; DMA Archives, New Museum Demolition and Construction Progress Photographs

Construction in January 1982:

J.W. Bateson Construction, Photos by Mel Armand Assoc; DMA Archives, New Museum Demolition and Construction Progress Photographs

This above photo is the back of the Museum and Barrel Vault from St. Paul Street, looking southeast. The First United Methodist Church of Dallas can be seen in the background. 

And circa January 1983—there weren’t process photos from January, so the interior view is from December 1982, and the aerial view is from February 1983:

J.W. Bateson Construction, photos by L.M. Dale; DMA Archives, New Museum Demolition and Construction Progress Photographs

This staircase is in the center of the concourse; the first doorway on the left goes to Museum offices; the second doorway in the top center of the image leads to what is now the Arts of the Pacific on Level 3. The windows in the background are where the Hamon building now stands.

J.W. Bateson Construction, photos by L.M. Dale; DMA Archives, New Museum Demolition and Construction Progress Photographs

In this aerial view, the Sculpture Garden is still under construction on the left side of the image, and construction on the Reves and Decorative Arts galleries has not yet begun. And if you look really closely, you can see Woodall Rodgers Freeway in the top center, which was still a few months away from completion.

The building was completed and on January 29, 1984 the new DMA opened!

North façade—This side was covered by the Hamon Building in 1993; but the stone-carved “Dallas Museum of Art” can still be seen on the 4th Floor, at the top of the stairs from the Concourse.
South entrance on Ross Plaza
Ceremonial Entrance at Harwood and Flora streets

I am looking forward to what the coming year and the future brings for the DMA.

Hillary Bober is the Archivist at the DMA.

Eat Your Art Out: Fabulous Focaccia

Hungry for some art? Get creative in your kitchen! Master the art of making beautiful focaccia bread inspired by works in our collection. We recommend Samin Nosrat’s recipe for focaccia, which you can find here. Remember to plan ahead! This bread requires up to 14 hours to proof before baking.

Tips for making your focaccia:

  • When activating yeast, make sure water is lukewarm (between 105°–115°F).
  • After adding the brine, let it soak for at least 5 minutes before adding herbs and vegetables on top of the focaccia.
  • When creating your design, keep in mind that most vegetables will shrink during baking.
  • Practice re-creating your image on a piece of wax paper first. When you are happy with your design, transfer it to the focaccia dough just before baking.
Miniature Painting – A White-Eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus Leucogenys) Perched on a Rock Under a Slender Tree, 1671, work on paper, The Keir Collection of Islamic Art on loan to the Dallas Museum of Art, K.1.2014.775

Food used to re-create the artwork:

  • 2 baby yellow sweet peppers
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 baby purple carrots
  • 1 white radish
  • 1 pink radish
  • Half of a red onion
  • Half of a yellow bell pepper
  • Half a cup pitted green olives
  • Half a cup pitted kalamata olives
  • Scallions
  • Cilantro leaves
Manji Inoue, Amalmon Inaiz XIII, Vase, n.d., glazed porcelain, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Edward Mattil, 2012.28

Food used to re-create the artwork:

  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 3 baby yellow carrots
  • 3 baby purple carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 shallot
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Chives
Mughal, Textile Fragment, 18th century, silk and metal embroidery, The Keir Collection of Islamic Art on loan to the Dallas Museum of Art, K.1.2014.1282

Food used to re-create the artwork:

  • 1 beet, boiled, peeled, thinly sliced; cut with flower cookie cutter
  • Fresh rosemary sprigs
  • Crumbled blue cheese
  • Sunflower kernels for garnish on top of beets
Paul Poiret, Carpet, c. 1930, wool, Dallas Museum of Art, the Patsy Lacy Griffith Collection, bequest of Patsy Lacy Griffith, 2001.203

Food used to re-create the artwork:

  • Red cherry tomatoes
  • Yellow cherry tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • Minced garlic
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Optional: black olives

The Views Are Tree-mendous

When you visit the DMA this fall, you’ll have the opportunity to see Van Gogh and the Olive Groves, the first exhibition dedicated to Vincent van Gogh’s series of olive grove paintings!  

These paintings capture the abundant olive trees around the asylum of Saint-Rémy, where Van Gogh spent the final year of his life. But he was not the only artist who took inspiration from nature. There are many depictions of trees in our collection; take some time to see how many you can find!  

To help you, I’ve put together a tour of trees featuring 11 of my favorites currently on view. Starting on Level 1 in the Keir Collection of Islamic Art, look for this 17th-century dish from Iran among the many ceramics displayed in this gallery. 

Dish, Iran, 17th century, fritware, underglaze-painted in black, blue, turquoise, and brown, with red and yellow slips, The Keir Collection of Islamic Art on loan to the Dallas Museum of Art, K.1.2014.653

Across from the Keir Collection, step outside into the Fleischner Courtyard, named after the artist Richard Fleischner, who designed this space for the DMA’s move to this location in 1983. These are not the original trees, as the courtyard has been refurbished twice since the 1980s—in 1993 and 2009.

Richard Fleischner, Courtyard Project for the Dallas Museum of Art, 1981–83; reconfigured by the artist for the Hamon addition, 1993; refurbished 2009, limestone, marble, wood, and plantings, Dallas Museum of Art, commissioned to honor Minnie and Albert Susman on the occasion of their 50th anniversary by their children Robert F. and Anna Marie Susman Shapiro, 1983.14, © Dallas Museum of Art, 

Next, head to Level 2 and our European Art Galleries to find the grove of oak trees in the Forest of Fontainebleau by Narcisse Diaz de la Peña. The artist was part of the Barbizon School of French painters, whose goal was to rediscover the magic of untouched nature.

Narcisse Diaz de la Peña, Forest of Fontainebleau, 1868, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Munger Fund, 1991.14.M

Leaving the dark forest behind, take in the bright colors of Claude Monet’s poplar trees. Poplars, Pink Effect belongs to a series of 24 paintings; like Van Gogh, Monet often revisited the same subject multiple times to capture varying light and weather conditions.

Claude Monet, Poplars, Pink Effect, 1891, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., bequest of Mrs. Eugene McDermott, 2019.67.14.McD

Before leaving Level 2, look for an apple tree painted by Piet Mondrian. Through his use of line and color, Mondrian conveyed nature’s dynamic energy.

Piet Mondrian, Apple Tree, Pointillist Version, 1908–09, oil on composition board, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the James H. and Lillian Clark Foundation, 1982.26.FA

Did you know Winston Churchill was also an artist? If you visit the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection on Level 3, you will find several paintings by Churchill, including Sea and Pine Trees, Cap d’Ail

Winston Churchill, Sea and Pine Trees, Cap d’Ail, about 1955, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection, 1985.R.14, © The Churchill Heritage Limited

As you continue exploring Level 3, take a moment to stop and appreciate the standing male figure from Vanuatu. While not a literal depiction of a tree, it was carved from the lower part of a tree-fern stem and stands over 11 feet tall! 

Standing male figure, Vanuatu, Ambrym Island, about 1930–50, tree fern and pigment, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift, 1996.33

Now make your way to the Arts of Africa Galleries and look for the linguist staff (okyeame poma) from the Asante peoples of Ghana. The finial on this staff refers to an Asante proverb that states, “One who climbs a good tree always gets a push.”

Linguist staff (okyeame poma), Ghana, Asante peoples, 1900–50, wood and gold leaf, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., 2010.1.McD

Head to Level 4 and find Veteran, a painting by Everett Spruce (bonus tree points!). The tree in this painting shows us the often uncompromising and inhospitable forces that shape the Texas landscape.

Everett Spruce, Veteran, 1932, oil on Masonite, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Maggie Joe and Alexandre Hogue, 1986.232, © V. Alice Spruce Meriwether

Around the corner from Veteran, Georgia O’Keeffe’s Bare Tree Trunks with Snow gives us a more minimalist and abstract version of trees. O’Keeffe would often simplify what she saw in nature, using descriptive titles to clarify things for the viewer.

Georgia O’Keeffe, Bare Tree Trunks with Snow, 1946, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, 1953.1, © The Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The final tree on this walk through the woods is in the free special exhibition Devoted: Art and Spirituality in Mexico and New Mexico. George López’s sculpture Adam and Eve and the Tree of Life shows the moment when Eve offers Adam an apple from the tree of knowledge—and it is made of wood from three different trees: cottonwood, pine, and cedar!

George López, Adam and Eve and the Tree of Life, 1956, cottonwood, pine, and cedar, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, 1956.100.1

Stacey Lizotte is the DMA League Director of Adult Programs at the DMA. 

Expressing Hope, Dreams, and Gratitude with Ex-votos

Ex-votos are works of art that express gratitude for miraculous events or answered prayers. To go along with the works displayed in the Devoted exhibition, we asked visitors to create their own ex-votos that express something they are thankful for or that is meaningful to them. Check out this round-up of community artwork submissions! Click each artwork to expand the image.

Themes of family:

Themes of nature and animals:

Themes of health:

Themes of art:

And everything in between:

Connections Across Collections: “Slip Zone”

Opening September 14, Slip Zone: A New Look at Postwar Abstraction in the Americas and East Asia highlights the innovations in painting, sculpture, and performance that shaped artistic production in the Americas and East Asia during the mid-20th century. Find out about the transnational connections between pairs of artworks featured in the show from the exhibition’s curators.

Dr. Anna Katherine Brodbeck, Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art

While the narrative of US art history has focused on the singular achievements of Abstract Expressionism, it did not emerge on the world scene ex nihilo. Rather, US artists drew from multiple precedents, including the Mexican mural movement, which has special resonance for us at the DMA given our longstanding strengths in art from the region. In Slip Zone, Jackson Pollock’s Figure Kneeling Before Arch with Skulls is paired with Crepúsculo by David Alfaro Siqueiros. Siqueiros taught Pollock to use industrial paints at the Experimental Workshop in New York in 1936, which would later inform his use of nontraditional art media in his classic era drip paintings. The expressionistic pathos of this earlier Pollock painting also mirrors the influence of José Clemente Orozco, whose murals he had seen at Dartmouth College the same year.

Images: Jackson Pollock, Figure Kneeling Before Arch with Skulls, about 1934–38, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art Fund, 2017.7, © Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; David Alfaro Siqueiros, Crepúsculo, 1965, pyroxylin and acrylic on panel, private collection, © 2021 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SOMAAP, Mexico City

Dr. Vivian Li, The Lupe Murchison Curator of Contemporary Art

Using a hair dryer and polyvinyl acetate adhesive—commercially available since 1947 as Elmer’s Glue-All—Takesada Matsutani discovered that he could create corporeal, bulbous forms by blowing air into the material from behind until each “bubble” burst. Affixing them to the surface of his paintings, Matsutani constructed uncanny compositions. Similar to Matsutani and other members of the pioneering Gutai collective in Osaka, Robert Rauschenberg sought to blur the distinction between art and life through the use of everyday materials. For his Hoarfrost series, he transferred newspaper images to pieces of diaphanous fabric. After meeting the Gutai collective in 1964, Rauschenberg later collaborated with them, including onstage.

Images: Takesada Matsutani, Work-63-A.L. (The night), 1963, polyvinyl acetate adhesive, oil, and acrylic on canvas, The Rachofsky Collection and the Dallas Museum of Art through the TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art Fund, 2012.1.5. Courtesy the artist. © Takesada Matsutani; Robert Rauschenberg, Night Hutch (Hoarfrost), 1976, ink on unstretched fabric, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the artist, 1977.21, © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

Vivian Crockett, Former Nancy and Tim Hanley Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art

Around 1968 Lynda Benglis began pigmenting large vats of rubber latex with day-glo paint and pouring the dyed materials directly onto the floor. Created after Benglis visited a 1969 Helen Frankenthaler retrospective, this work is a nod to Frankenthaler’s method of pouring paint onto unprimed canvas. A founding member of the Gutai Art Association, Shozo Shimamoto was also deeply invested in experiments with materiality and technique. The artist often incorporated elements of performance in the creation of his paintings, such as throwing glass bottles of paint at the canvas. To produce Untitled – Whirlpool, Shimamoto poured layers of paint onto the canvas, removing the paintbrush as a mediating tool and leaving the final composition to chance and the physical, viscous qualities of the material itself.

Images: Lynda Benglis, Odalisque (Hey, Hey Frankenthaler), 1969, poured pigmented latex, Dallas Museum of Art, TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art Fund, 2003.2, © 2021 Lynda Benglis / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY; Shozo Shimamoto, Untitled – Whirlpool, 1965, oil on canvas, The Rachofsky Collection and the Dallas Museum of Art through the TWO x TWO for AIDS and Art Fund, 2012.1.3, © Shozo Shimamoto Association. Naples

Hitting Close to Home

As the closing date for the exhibition For a Dreamer of Houses approaches, I can’t help but reflect on how timely, vibrant, and meaningful the show has been to those who have experienced it. The exhibition was originally set to open in March 2020, an opening that was never realized due to the pandemic. The timing was poignant and somewhat surreal—here we have a show about the significance of one’s home coming to fruition during a time of socially distanced shutdown, when all of us were becoming significantly more familiar with the spaces we inhabit. During that time, we launched a virtual tour of the exhibition, which allowed audiences from near and far to explore the contents of the show and think about how they relate to our present experiences, how our spaces reflect ourselves, and what our spaces and the everyday objects within them mean to us. The themes hit close to home, so to speak.

The exhibition finally opened in person along with the rest of the DMA in August 2020. We welcomed you home to your city’s museum—home to this special exhibition of contemporary art—after all of us spent months in our own homes. With fresh perspectives, you, our visitors, made magic happen as you ventured out and became part of the art. Here’s a look back at what you experienced.

The colorful energy of Alex Da Corte’s unmissable Rubber Pencil Devil:

The whimsy of the Drawers, Chests, and Wardrobes section, featuring works by Olivia Erlanger, Robert Pruitt, and Sarah Lucas:

The awe-inspiring immersion of Francisco Moreno’s Chapel:

The intimate materials of Janine Antoni’s Grope:

The delicate beauty of Do Ho Suh’s Hub, 260-10 Sungbook-dong, Sungbook-ku, Seoul, Korea:

. . . and much more.

There’s still a bit of time left for you to visit For a Dreamer of Houses before the exhibition closes on July 4, 2021. Be sure to book your visit soon and make yourself at home.

Hayley Caldwell is the Social Media and Content Manager at the DMA.

Connections Across Collections: Fatherhood

With Father’s Day just around the corner, we asked DMA staff to highlight their favorite works across our collections that connect to the art of fatherhood. See what they selected, and celebrate your own father or father figure with a visit to the DMA on June 20!

Nicole R. Myers, The Barbara Thomas Lemmon Senior Curator of European Art

One of the things I love most about this grand self-portrait by Carpentier is that it celebrates his role as a father and husband as much as it does his profession as painter. By tightly grouping the figures, the women’s arms lovingly intertwined, Carpentier places familial love and support at the center of his studio practice.

Listen to Laura Eva Hartman, Paintings Conservator at the DMA, discuss this painting here.

Paul Claude-Michel Carpentier, Self-Portrait with Family in the Artist’s Studio, 1833, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund, 2014.38.FA

Stacey Lizotte, DMA League Director of Adult Programs

Julian Onderdonk was one of the greatest early Texas artists known for his paintings of bluebonnets, the state flower of Texas. Julian was originally trained by his father, Robert Jenkins Onderdonk, an artist and art teacher in San Antonio and Dallas who was known as the “Dean of Texas’s Artists” for his contributions to the arts in Texas.

Julian Onderdonk, Untitled (Field of Bluebonnets), 1918–1920, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, bequest of Margaret M. Ferris, 1990.153

Mark Castro, The Jorge Baldor Curator of Latin American Art

In the Americas, Saint Joseph is depicted as youthful and strong, often carrying the child Christ in his arms, like in this New Mexican bulto currently on view in Devoted: Art and Spirituality in Mexico and New Mexico. This reinforced his role as Christ’s earthly father and the protector of the Holy Family.

José Benito Ortega, Saint Joseph, Late 19th–Early 20th century, wood, gesso, and paint, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Marcus, 1961.51.A-C

Leah Hanson, Director of Family, Youth, and School Programs

This might seem an unusual choice to celebrate fathers, but what you can’t see behind the scenes is a father who supported his daughter in becoming an artist. This love even extended to a menagerie of animals he brought to the family studio for Rosa to study and paint!

Rosa Bonheur, A Sheep at Rest, second half of the 19th century, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Dr. Alessandra Comini in honor of Charlotte Whaley, 2018.44

Martha MacLeod, Senior Curatorial Administrator and Curatorial Assistant for Decorative Arts/Design, Latin American Art, and American Art

Chase was one of America’s leading painters and teachers. He completed about a dozen portraits of his daughter Dieudonnée. Here she is in her early teens. Also, one of her father’s students, she was an accomplished still life and landscape painter.

William Merritt Chase, Dieudonnée, c. 1899, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, 1922.2

Japanese Printmaking Family Visits the DMFA

Fujio, Hodaka, and Chizuko Yoshida

For three generations, the Yoshida family has produced woodblock print artists integral to major 20th-century Japanese print movements. Fujio, Hodaka, and Chizuko Yoshida arrived in Dallas on April 25, 1957. Hodaka; his wife, Chizuko; and his mother, Fujio, represent two generations of the Yoshida family of artists and printmakers active from the 19th century to the present. The trio’s Dallas engagement included lecture demonstrations of woodblock printmaking at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, the Art Club of McKinney, the Fort Worth Art Center, and TSCW in Denton.

A small exhibition of 30 prints by the Yoshida family were also on view and for sale during their visit. In the top right of the photo, you can see one of Hodaka Yoshida’s prints that was acquired by the DMFA from the exhibition.

Hodaka Yoshida, Ancient People B, 1956, woodcut, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase, 1957.17

Hodaka Yoshida’s work was completely abstract. He first worked in oils but didn’t start making prints until 1950, though he was steeped in the technique since he was a child. He carved his own blocks and printed his own works from the beginning. Hodaka’s focus on abstraction was a great departure from the style of his father, Hiroshi, a prominent figure in modern Japanese prints who is well known for his landscapes. The DMA’s collection includes 64 prints by Hiroshi Yoshida.

Photo from Dallas Morning News article

The Dallas Morning News article on the trio’s Dallas engagement describes Hodaka (1926-1995) as teaching at the University of Oregon, having previously taught at the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Hawaii. Though not noted in the article, Fujio and Chizuko were also accomplished artists and printmakers.

Fujio (1887–1987) was the first female artist in the Yoshida family. Like many of the artists in the family, she began in watercolors and oils, exhibiting with her husband, Hiroshi, on their travels to the United States in the early 20th century. After her husband died, she became more influenced by Hodaka’s abstract art and was creating woodblock prints of abstract flowers by 1953.

Chizuko (1924–2017) began studying art at a young age. She met Hodaka through the Taiheyio artist group and shifted away from painting to printmaking after they were married. World travels with Hodaka and Fujio provided inspiration for her prints, which ranged from geometric abstraction to natural forms.

Toshi Yoshida, Shinjuku, date unknown, polychrome woodblock print, Dallas Museum of Art, the Abram C. Joseph and Ruth F. Ring Collection, gift of Miss Ruth F. Ring, 1985.86; Toshi Yoshida, Ishiyama Temple, date unknown, polychrome woodblock print, Dallas Museum of Art, the Abram C. Joseph and Ruth F. Ring Collection, gift of Miss Ruth F. Ring, 1985.87

Hodaka, Chizuko, and Fujio’s visit wasn’t the first introduction Dallas audiences had to the Yoshida family. Hodaka’s older brother Toshi also lectured on woodblock print techniques four years earlier, in 1953. During this trip to the United States, Mexico, London, and the Near East, Toshi gave lectures at 30 museums and galleries in 18 states. 

Hillary Bober is the Archivist at the DMA.

The Many Lives of a Still Life

When you walk past a painting in a museum, do you ever wonder what the back side looks like?

Paul Cézanne, Still Life with Carafe, Milk Can, Bowl, and Orange, 1879–80, oil on canvas, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection, 1985.R.10
Back side of the frame of Still Life with Carafe, Milk Can, Bowl, and Orange

For curators and researchers, the verso, or B-side, of a painting can be a mine of information about its past life. Paul Cézanne’s Still Life with Carafe, Milk Can, Bowl, and Orange, currently featured in the Reves Spotlight rotation gallery on the DMA’s third level, is a case in point: the back of the frame was once filled with stamps and labels applied over many years by the painting’s former owners and their shippers. Those historical records have subsequently been transferred to a backing board to guarantee their preservation and that of the precious information they carry. As a result, this backing board is now reminiscent of an avid traveler’s passport stamp page.

Backing board for Still Life with Carafe, Milk Can, Bowl, and Orange

In the top right, a rectangular piece of cardboard reads “about 1880-2 / Venturi” in faint handwritten pencil. This Italian art historian was the author of the first catalogue raisonné of Cézanne’s works, which is perhaps why his dating of this painting was carefully recorded.

Even before arriving in the US, Cézanne’s Still Life had traveled internationally. From Paris, where the artist likely sold it to a dealer, it entered a private collection in Amsterdam before returning to the French capital in the early 1920s, where it was acquired by Marius de Zaya, an artist and dealer based in New York City who offered it in his newly founded gallery among “drawings, paintings and sculptures of the very best artists of the modern movement.”[1] There, a founder of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Lillie P. Bliss, purchased it, and upon her death she bequeathed it to that institution, which eventually deaccessioned the work in 1944.

As recorded by two large labels on the left side of the panel, at MoMA the painting was known as The Water Can, based on the metal vessel at its center. In 1985 the enigmatic nature of that element was discussed in a letter exchange between then DMA director Steven Nash and Columbia University professor Theodore Reff, who concluded: “The picture is quite wonderful, charming, fresh, simple, almost naïve, and will grace your collections, regardless of the identity of the objects in it.”[2]

Shortly after Wendy and Emery Reves acquired it in 1955, the picture was referred to as simply Nature Morte (still life) or Nature Morte en bleu (still life in blue) in two French exhibitions that were likely the occasion in which the painting received the two transportation labels seen on the right side of the backing board. After entering the DMA’s collection in 1985, the painting’s current title was first formulated in 1998 and slightly revised in 2003 (the term “coffee” referring to the bowl was dropped) in an effort to describe the subject matter as accurately as possible. While we must agree with Reff that the charm of this picture remains unchanged no matter what we call it, by recording the painting’s previous titles and where it traveled, these labels have been essential to the work of art historians to reconstruct the history of the ownership, exhibition, criticism, and scholarship of this object over its 140-plus years of existence.

Stop by to see this work in the Reves Spotlight rotation gallery now through September 27 and admire more still lifes at the DMA in an exhibition focusing on the work of Cubist painter Juan Gris, an avid admirer of Paul Cézanne. In Cubism in Color: The Still Lifes of Juan Gris, the labels and inscriptions on the back of Guitar and Pipe are on full display.

Gloria de Liberali is the Dedo and Barron Kidd McDermott Intern Fellow for European Art at the DMA.


[1] John Rewald, The Paintings of Paul Cézanne. A Catalogue Raisonné (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1996), 1:288.

[2] Their correspondence is preserved in the painting’s object file at the DMA.


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