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The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is committed to engage and inspire through the arts, gardens and education. A permanent collection of nearly 5,000 works of art on a riverfront campus offers more than 95,000 annual visitors a truly unique experience on the First Coast. Nationally recognized education programs serve adults and children of all abilities.

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#5WomenArtists – Augusta Savage

Mar

24

Can you name 5 women artists? It turns out, most people can’t. This simple question calls attention to the inequity women artists face, inspires conversation, and brings awareness to a larger audience. As a part of the #5WomenArtists initiative through the National Museum of Women in the Arts and in celebration of Women’s History Month, we will be highlighting women artists in the Cummer Collection. Museum founder Ninah Cummer was a supporter of women artists. Each of the artists we are highlighting this month will be from the original 60 pieces of artwork donated by Ninah Cummer, that are the foundation of our collection. To learn more about women artists, follow the National Museum of Women in the Arts on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or follow #5WomenArtists. This post is the fourth of five that will be published this month as part of our #5WomenArtists series.

Born in Green Cove Springs, Florida, Augusta Savage (1892 – 1962) is considered one of the most important sculptors of the 20th century, and the first African American elected to the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors. Full of hope and ambition, she moved to New York in 1921 and was accepted at the Pratt Institute and the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. Her talent earned her many scholarships but unfortunately some of them fell through: in 1923 she received a grant from the French government to study at the château of Fontainebleau, but when her racial identity was discovered the offer was withdrawn; in 1926 the Italian-American Society awarded Savage a scholarship to study in Rome, but she was unable to raise money for expenses abroad. Savage finally went to Paris in 1929, supported by the Julius Rosenwald Fund. During her two years in the French capital, she exhibited her work — black female nudes, portraits, and expressionistic pieces in bronze and plaster — at important venues such as the Salon d’Automne and the Colonial Exhibition of 1931.

Back in New York, she opened the Savage School of Arts and Crafts in Harlem. She soon became a central figure in what is now known as the Harlem Renaissance, a movement in which African American literature, art, and music flourished, and political debates were encouraged. Savage’s efforts to raise the status of African American art culminated in the opening of the Harlem Community Art Center in 1937, a Works Progress Administration-funded initiative (one of the many launched by President Franklin Roosevelt after the Great Depression). Throughout her career, she supported and mentored many young artists who later became nationally recognized, including Jacob Lawrence, Norman Lewis, William Artis, and Gwendolyn Knight.

One of her most important works was The Harp. The nearly 16-foot plaster sculpture celebrated James Weldon Johnson’s poem, Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing. It was exhibited at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York, where Savage was the only African American, and one of just four women to receive a commission for the event. Sadly, the funds she received for her commission did not cover the costs of casting the sculpture in bronze and the plaster sculpture was destroyed at the end of the World’s Fair. The artist was able, however, to cast a few pieces in bronze. One of those is The Diving Boy, which became a prominent feature in Mrs. Cummer’s Gardens. Originally placed at one end of a reflecting pond in Mrs. Cummer’s Italian Garden, the sculpture — now housed in the galleries — is typical of the artist’s interest in combining realistic details with moving expressiveness.

Although Augusta Savage retired from active public and artistic life in the mid-1940s, interest in her work is stronger than ever. Her sculptures are housed in prestigious collections across the United States, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Seattle Art Museum.

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#5WomenArtists – Alice Kent Stoddard

Mar

21

Can you name 5 women artists? It turns out, most people can’t. This simple question calls attention to the inequity women artists face, inspires conversation, and brings awareness to a larger audience. As a part of the #5WomenArtists initiative through the National Museum of Women in the Arts and in celebration of Women’s History Month, we will be highlighting women artists in the Cummer Collection. Museum founder Ninah Cummer was a supporter of women artists. Each of the artists we are highlighting this month will be from the original 60 pieces of artwork donated by Ninah Cummer, that are the foundation of our collection. To learn more about women artists, follow the National Museum of Women in the Arts on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or follow #5WomenArtists. This post is the third of five that will be published this month as part of our #5WomenArtists series.

BEFORE RESTORATION – The painting was examined at the Cummer Museum and transported to the ArtCare Miami Studio. Discolored varnish had become imbedded in the interstices of the impasto and was removed, after testing, with a mixture of organic solvents.

Mrs. Ninah Cummer (1875 – 1958) had her portrait painted in 1927, when she was in her early fifties. The artist, Alice Kent Stoddard (1885 – 1976), was born in Watertown, Connecticut, but left her hometown to study at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women (now Moore College of Art and Design), and at the renowned Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts under the guidance of famous artists Thomas Eakins (1844 – 1916) and William Merritt Chase (1849 – 1916).

Kent Stoddard was commissioned by many prominent Philadelphians, and soon gained a reputation as the city’s foremost portrait painter. Artist Rockwell Kent (1882 – 1971), Stoddard’s first cousin, once said “she is the finest portrait painter this country has ever seen.”

She was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Mary Smith Prize from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1911 and 1913, and the Isidor medal from the National Academy of Design in New York City in 1917. Kent Stoddard was the first woman artist to be named in Who’s Who in American Art. Not only was she one of the most prominent women artists of the early 20th century, she also aided young, aspiring artists who could not afford an education.

This portrait of Mrs. Cummer, along with that of her husband, Mr. Arthur Cummer, by Everett Raymond Kinstler, was restored in 2016. Thanks to the generous support of donors Jim and Joan Van Vleck and Helen Lane, visitors can now appreciate the original vibrancy of both paintings.  The conservation treatment was carried out by ArtCare, in Miami.

AFTER RESTORATION

Alice Kent Stoddard (American, 1884 – 1976), Portrait of Mrs. Ninah M. H. Cummer, 1927, oil on canvas, 40 x 35 in., Bequest of Ninah M. H. Cummer, C.0.166.

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What will your child being doing this summer?

Mar

17

Join us at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens for Camp Cummer, our summer art camp.

Rising 1st through 6th graders will experiment with different art mediums and techniques in the studio, explore the Art Connections interactive area, venture out into the gardens and galleries, and much more! The Education staff creates dynamic lesson plans and art projects based on the Museum’s collection, gardens, and traveling exhibitions, that will stimulate your child’s creativity and imagination. Students leave at the end of each week with a diverse portfolio of artwork ranging from watercolor and acrylic paintings, to clay sculptures, to drawings and more.

My son raves about Camp Cummer and the art activities, which is surprising for a 9-year-old boy who is addicted to his video games. 🙂 Thanks for a wonderful experience. – 2016 Camp Cummer Parent

Camp Cummer offers more than just art-making. Children learn to work together in teams, building social skills that will stay with them throughout their lives. Spending time in the gardens and galleries, they develop an appreciation for art and the environment. The Cummer Museum becomes their museum, as they develop an appreciation for the importance of culture in their community.

Come and see what we have to offer this summer! For further information, please visit our website.

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#5WomenArtists – Pauline Vallayer-Moutet

Mar

14

Can you name 5 women artists? It turns out, most people can’t. This simple question calls attention to the inequity women artists face, inspires conversation, and brings awareness to a larger audience. As a part of the #5WomenArtists initiative through the National Museum of Women in the Arts and in celebration of Women’s History Month, we will be highlighting women artists in the Cummer Collection. Museum founder Ninah Cummer was a supporter of women artists. Each of the artists we are highlighting this month will be from the original 60 pieces of artwork donated by Ninah Cummer, that are the foundation of our collection. To learn more about women artists, follow the National Museum of Women in the Arts on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or follow #5WomenArtists. This post is the second of five that will be published this month as part of our #5WomenArtists series.

Pauline Vallayer-Moutet (French, 19th-20th century)

In a 1950 letter to London based art dealer Paul Wengraf, from whom she often purchased artworks, Mrs. Cummer decribes where she has hung some of her paintings:

“In my library are some of my dearest things […] On the right of this picture [1] is a painting of a French interior by Pauline Vallayer-Moutet[2]. The subject portrays two maids polishing the brasses, as only the French can do, and the strong light from a window, such as Vermeer would use in his pictures, streams into the room. And this, by the way, was my first investment in painting (the Paul King picture having been earlier acquired as a gift), and was purchased about 1905, nearly fifty years ago.”

To compare Vallayer-Moutet’s approach to that of the great Johannes Vermeer (1632 – 1675) speaks to how much Mrs. Cummer admired the French artist. The fact that French Interior (Two Girls Polishing Brass) was the first painting she purchased adds to our understanding of Mrs. Cummer as a collector.

Little is known about Vallayer-Moutet, who was a pupil of French artists Jules Joseph Lefebvre (1836 – 1912), Tony Robert-Fleury (1837 – 1911), and Jean-Paul Laurens (1838 – 1921). In 1900, she won the bronze medal at the Exposition Universelle (World Fair) in Paris and that same year became a member of the Association des artistes peintres, sculpteurs, architectes, graveurs et dessinateurs (Association of painters, sculptors, architects, printmakers and draftsmen). Her teacher, Robert-Fleury, was actually the President of the Association from 1908 to 1911, and famous painter William Adolphe Bouguereau — whose work is represented in the Museum’s permanent collection —served as President for 20 years (from 1885 to 1905).

Vallayer-Moutet often depicts scenes of domestic labor that focus on female protagonists such as maids or seamstresses. Her work was well received during her lifetime, and earned honors and prizes at numerous Salon, the most sought after art exhibition in Paris.

[1] Paul King (American, 1867 – 1947), Along the Strand, c. 1905, oil on canvas, 32 x 40 in., Bequest of Ninah M. H. Cummer, C.0.160.1.

[2] Pauline Vallayer-Moutet (French, 19-20th century), French Interior (Two Girls Polishing Brass), 19th century, oil on canvas, 25 ¾ x 21 ¼ in., Bequest of Ninah M. H. Cummer, C.0.159.1.

 

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Distinguished Lecture: P. Allen Smith

Mar

06

P. Allen Smith is an author, television host, entrepreneur, and conservationist, who has a passion for American style. On Wednesday, March 22, Smith will present ‘Naturally: The Love of Gardening’ from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens as part of the Museum’s ongoing Distinguished Lecture series. He has a passion for American style; inspired by the ferme ornée concept for Monticello, Allen created his own Moss Mountain Farm as a demonstration ground for principles of good design, conservation, and stewardship. Take a virtual tour of Moss Mountain over lunch and see how Allen is creating a new chapter in the evolution of the classic American farm.

Smith uses his Arkansas home, Moss Mountain Farm, which The New York Times hails as a “stunning estate,” as an epicenter for promoting the local food movement, organic gardening, and the preservation of heritage poultry breeds. Smith created his farm to serve as a place of inspiration, education, and conservation and provides visitors from around the country locally sourced meals to introduce them to an expression of the regional cuisine.

Moss Mountain Farm is grounded in historic precedent, inspired by regional influences and guided by modern-day innovation—all of which are helping to write a new chapter in the evolution of the classic American farm and a celebration of the cuisine of the South.

In 2009, Smith founded the Heritage Poultry Conservancy, which is dedicated to the preservation and support of threatened breeds and strains of domestic poultry. In addition, he strives to educate future generations through his work with Kids Plant It Earth. The curriculum he developed for the program teaches students about being good stewards of the planet through gardening.

Smith studied garden history and design at the University of Manchester in England, is an honorary member of the Garden Club of America and recipient of their Medal of Honor, is a fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society, and a former board member of the Royal Oak Society. His work is featured in national publications, highlighted at key events and commemorated in bestselling titles including “P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home” and “P. Allen Smith’s Seasonal Recipes from the Garden,” which is a nod to his love for organic, regional cuisine. His media company, Hortus Ltd, produces three national, award-winning television shows: Garden Home (which has enjoyed 15 seasons on PBS, aired in Jacksonville on WJCT), Garden to Table, also on Public Television, and Garden Style, now in its 17th season of syndication (aired in Jacksonville on RLTV).

Smith is the author of “Seasonal Recipes from the Garden,” which showcases the bounty of each season with recipes arranged according to when ingredients are at their garden-fresh best. He features 120 Southern recipes peppered with wit, personal anecdotes, gardening tips, and cooking tricks. He also includes a short how-to guide in the back of the book which includes information about the food he grows in his garden and some simple ideas on how readers can do the same. This book will be available for purchase at the Cummer Shop, and Smith will be available to autograph the purchase prior to his lecture.

Join us for lunch and an engaging conversation with P. Allen Smith on March 22 as part of our Garden Month festivities. The cost for Museum Members is $45 and Non-Members can attend for $55. Registration is required.

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#5WomenArtists – Elizabeth Gulland

Mar

02

Can you name 5 women artists? It turns out, most people can’t. This simple questions calls attention to the inequity women artists face, inspires conversation, and brings awareness to a larger audience. As a part of the #5WomenArtists initiative through the National Museum of Women in the Arts and in celebration of Women’s History Month, we will be highlighting women artists in the Cummer Collection. It turns out, Museum founder Ninah Cummer supported at least 5 women artists. Each of the artists we are highlighting this month will be from the original 60 pieces of artwork donated by Ninah Cummer, that are the foundation of our collection. To learn more about women artists, follow the National Museum of Women in the Arts on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or follow #5WomenArtists. This blog is the first of five that will be published this month.

Elizabeth Gulland was a talented painter and a gifted engraver known mainly for her mezzotint portraits. The mezzotint technique — appreciated for its subtle gradations of light and shade — was exceptionally successful in 18th century England. Originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, Gulland worked primarily in Bushey, England, while studying under prolific portrait painter, Hubert von Herkomer (1849 – 1914). She exhibited her work regularly from the early 1880s until 1910, in venues as prestigious as The Royal Academy in London and the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh.

Mrs. Cummer was especially fond of Gulland’s talent, buying three of her mezzotint portraits in the 1930s. The engraving below is a reproduction of a painting by famed society portraitist George Ramsey (1834 – 1902).

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