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#5WomenArtists – Anna Hyatt Huntington: ‘Diana of the Hunt’

Mar

30

WRITTEN BY SASHA KUNTSEVICH, MARKETING INTERN

Image from Wikipedia

Anna Hyatt Huntington (1876-1973) was an American sculptress born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. From an early age, Huntington was encouraged by her father to develop and hone her artistic talents. She was mostly self-taught, with the exception of doing a brief study in Boston and at the Art Students League in New York. When she was 24 years old, Huntington held her first solo exhibition, where she was praised for her powerful and classical style. She went on to have a successful career, exhibiting her work regularly, and winning numerous awards and commissions.

One of her most significant works, Joan of Arc (1915), was the first public monument by a woman in New York City. Today, she is recognized as one of the finest American sculptors of the 20th century. Her work is displayed in public locations and museums throughout the country and around the world. Huntington’s biggest legacy remains Brookgreen Gardens. In 1923, Huntington married philanthropist and scholar Archer Milton Huntington. In 1930, they purchased Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina and soon transformed the property into a public space for more than 300 sculptures. It became the first public sculpture garden in America. Today its permanent collection represents the best of American sculpture from the 19th century to the present.

Anna Hyatt Huntington (American, 1876 – 1973), ‘Diana of the Hunt’, 1922; recast 1960, bronze, Gift of Anna Hyatt Huntington, AG.1961.15.1

Diana of the Hunt was given to the Cummer Museum by Huntington in celebration of its opening in 1961. She is highly regarded for her depiction of human and animal anatomy, and Diana of the Hunt combines these two strengths. Perched atop a globe, Diana, Roman goddess of women and patroness of the hunt, shoots an arrow towards the moon as her hunting dog jumps in excitement. It has become an important element of the Museum’s beautiful and historic gardens.

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#5WomenArtists – Vardi Kahana: ‘The Grandchildren of Cousin Shmuel, Copenhagen, Denmark’

Mar

29

WRITTEN BY SASHA KUNTSEVICH, MARKETING INTERN

Photo by Ingrid Damiani

Vardi Kahana (b. 1959) is a photojournalist born in Tel Aviv, Israel. She grew up in an orthodox home with two brothers and parents who encouraged her talent for drawing from an early age. Kahana discovered her passion for photography during her first year of college. She soon started working as a photojournalist, capturing people’s expressions and stories. Kahana has often spoken about how she’s always “tried to portray the local Israeli society in an anthropological gaze.” In 2011, Kahana received the Sokolov award for outstanding achievement in journalism, the first photographer to receive this award for print journalism.

Vardi Kahana (Israeli, b. 1959), ‘The Grandchildren of Cousin Shmuel, Copenhagen, Denmark’, 2004, archival inkjet print, Gift from the Artist, AG.2014.6.1

The Grandchildren of Cousin Shmuel, Copenhagen, Denmark is part of Kahana’s most personal project, One Family. The series, which includes 60 photographs, is the result of Kahana documenting her family for more than 15 years. Tracing four generations in the years following the Holocaust, her work weaves a complex narrative of Jewish Israeli society from her parents and their siblings, all Holocaust survivors, to their great grandchildren. The Grandchildren was given to the Cummer Museum by the artist. This photograph shows the grandchildren of her cousin, Shmuel, living in Denmark. Together, the children have grandparents who are Jewish, Christian, and Muslim, but they share a grandfather who was a survivor of the Holocaust. Kahana captures the three religions through these children on a trampoline as an image of hope.

Sources:

Kahana, Vardi. “BIO.” VARDI KAHANA, www.vardikahana.com/bio/

Kahana, Vardi. “One Family.” VARDI KAHANA, www.vardikahana.com/myarticle/one-family/

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#5WomenArtists – Marie Laurencin: ‘Woman with a Guitar’

Mar

28

WRITTEN BY SASHA KUNTSEVICH, MARKETING INTERN

Photo from http//www.musee-orangerie.fr/en/artist/marie-laurencin

Marie Laurencin was born in Paris in 1885. Her love for painting came early when, as a child, she would try to capture her cat’s features, which she felt had the face of a woman. Today, she is mostly known for images of women depicted in delicate pastel colors. She painted mythological creatures, dancers, and actresses in an intentionally “feminine” style instigated by her belief that male and female art was intrinsically different. Laurencin made her professional debut at the 1902 Salon des Indépendants.

Laurencin’s relationship with Guillaume Apollinaire (1880 – 1918), a French poet, is what made her an emerging household name in the Parisian cultural scene. Apollinaire invited her into his circle of friends and introduced her to Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973), George Braque (1882 – 1963), André Derain (1880 – 1954), and Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954). She became Apollinaire’s muse and he championed her work, constantly defending Laurencin from critics who called her superficial. In 1908, Laurencin’s painting Group of Artists, which included Picasso and his model Fernande Olivier together with Apollinaire and herself, garnered the respect she deserved. The painting (now at the Baltimore Museum of Art) was bought by famed writer and passionate art collector Gertrude Stein (1874 – 1946) for her Paris home gallery and became Laurencin’s first art sale. In addition to her paintings, Laurencin illustrated writings by Apollinaire and designed costumes and theatre sets, most notably for the Ballets Russes. She died in the French capital in 1956.

Marie Laurencin (French, 1885 – 1956), ‘Femme et Mandolin’ (‘Woman with a Guitar’), 1943, oil on canvas, 33 ¾ x 29 ⅜ in., Gift of Jack and Marcelle Bear in honor of John S. Bunker, AG.1995.2.1 © 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Woman with a Guitar is a clear representation of her style. She loved to draw women in these dream-like tones of grey and blue. Here, the woman, dressed in a draped garment with a crown of leaves, can be interpreted as a modern muse.

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#5WomenArtists – Augusta Savage: ‘Gamin’ and ‘The Diving Boy’

Mar

27

WRITTEN BY SASHA KUNTSEVICH, MARKETING INTERN

Augusta Savage (1892 – 1962) was an internationally renowned African American sculptor in the 1920s and 1930s. Born in Green Cove Springs, Florida she and her family moved to West Palm Beach.  In 1919, she entered the West Palm Beach County Fair, and her work was awarded a special prize. As a result, Savage was encouraged to pursue her art career. She moved to New York and enrolled at the Copper Union School of Art. During her time in New York, Savage sculpted Gamin, which is thought to be a portrait bust of her nephew.  Savage was awarded a Julius Rosenwald Fellowship to study in Paris in 1929.

Augusta Savage (American, 1892 – 1962), ‘Gamin’, c. 1930, painted plaster, Purchased with funds from the Morton R. Hirschberg Bequest, AP.2013.1.1

When she returned to New York, she established the Savage Studio of Arts and Crafts in 1932 and became an inspiring and influential teacher in Harlem. In 1934, she became the first African American member of the National Association of Woman Painters and Sculptors. Following her appointment as the first director of the Harlem Community Art Center, Savage was commissioned by the 1939 New York World’s Fair to create a sculpture, which is considered one of her most important and significant pieces. Titled The Harp, it was inspired by the lyrics of James Weldon Johnson’s poem, Lift Every Voice and Sing. Sadly, due to a lack of funding, she was not able to cast the completed sculpture in bronze, and its original plaster version was destroyed at the close of the fair.

Augusta Savage at work on ‘The Harp’, 1935-1945, New York World’s Fair (1939-1940). Photographs and Prints Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations.

Savage taught children throughout her career and considered them hope for the future. She has been quoted saying, “I have created nothing really beautiful, really lasting, but if I can inspire one of these youngsters to develop the talent I know they possess, then my monument will be their work.”

Gamin, which is part of the Cummer Museum of Arts & Gardens’ permanent collection, was a pivotal piece in Augusta Savage’s career. In this bust, the artist cleverly captures her subject’s personality. This sculpture is also important because it depicts a Black youth in a humane way, challenging the visual culture of the period that presented African American children as dirty and ragtag.

The Diving Boy was owned by Museum founder Ninah Cummer, where it was originally placed at one end of a reflecting pool in Mrs. Cummer’s Italian Garden. It is typical of Savage’s interest in combining realistic details with powerful expressiveness.

Augusta Savage (American, 1892 – 1962), ‘The Diving Boy’, c. 1939, bronze, 32 ½ in., Bequest of Ninah M. H. Cummer, C.0.602.1

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#5WomenArtists: Marie-Victoire Lemoine – Portrait of a Youth in an Embroidered Vest

Mar

26

WRITTEN BY SASHA KUNTSEVICH, MARKETING INTERN

Via Wikipedia

Marie-Victoire Lemoine (1754-1820) was a French painter who was born in Paris. She led a surprisingly quiet life in one of history’s most violent and chaotic eras. She was brought up along with her three sisters, two of whom also became professional artists. Unlike her sisters, Lemoine never married, instead concentrating on her career and remaining single throughout her lifetime. She became one of the few contemporary women artists to make a living thorough her painting. Lemoine is known for her concentration on the painting of portraits, miniatures, and genre subjects.

Lemoine studied with the history painter François Guillaume Ménageot (1744-1816) who was a member of the Académie royale de Peinture et de sculpture. She is rumored to have also taken lessons from Élisabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun (1755-1842), who along with her husband owned the home where Ménageot lived. She exhibited at the Salon, the official annual exhibition in Paris, irregularly from 1796 to 1814. This was a milestone achievement that could not have been possible without the French Revolution.

Her most important work, Interior of an Atelier of a Woman Painter, was exhibited at the Salon of 1796. Although it is not likely, some critics say that this painting is a portrait of or homage to Vigée-LeBrun, whose own work inspired Lemoine. It is currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Portrait of 18th Century black youth in an embroidered vest and silk shirt

Marie-Victoire Lemoine (French, 1754 – 1820), Portrait of a Youth in an Embroidered Vest, 1785, oil on canvas, 25 5/8 x 21 ½ in., Purchased with funds from the Cummer Council, AP.1994.3.1.

 

Portrait of a Youth in an Embroidered Vest was once thought to be a portrait of the well-known Louis Benoît Zamor. He was protégé to King Louis XV’s mistress, Madame Du Barry (1743 — 1793). Zamor fell out of favor for sympathizing with the French Revolution and his testimony against his former patroness at the Committee of Public Safety lead to her execution by guillotine in 1793. Given the richness of the subject’s attire, another hypothesis is that the young man may be one of the two servants of the house of the Duchess d’Orléans (1753-1821) for whom the artist worked.

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Extinction is Forever

Mar

12

In the 19th century, passenger pigeons numbered nearly 4 billion individuals. Massive hunting and habitat destruction were the main causes of the species’ demise. “Martha,” the last passenger pigeon, died in captivity on September 1, 1914. Image from Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Extinction is defined by Merriam-Webster as the condition or fact of being extinct or extinguished; no longer existing. There are many species of plants and animals that have become extinct, and many more are expected to become extinct. Gone from our planet. Forever. Think about that.

The Carolina parakeet was the only parrot species native to the eastern United States. Its forest habitats were removed to make space for agriculture, and they were hunted heavily to provide feathers for ladies’ hats. The last captive Carolina parakeet died in captivity on February 21, 1918. Painting by John James Audubon

Even though extinction is a naturally occurring phenomenon, the normal “background rate” for the loss of species is one to five per year. Unfortunately, scientists predict that we are currently losing plants and animals at a rate of 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate, translating to dozens being lost every day, and we could see many as 30 to 50% of our species head toward extinction by the middle of this century. This crisis is almost entirely due to the actions of mankind, through the loss of habitat, the introduction of species not normally part of a landscape, environmental pollution, the spread of disease, and climate change.

‘The Lost Bird Project’ on display at McCall City Park, Portland, Oregon in 2010. Photo from toddmcgrain.com

Todd McGrain: The Lost Bird Project is an exhibition on view in the Museum’s J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Community Sculpture Garden & Plaza through October 21, 2018. The exhibition features five large-scale sculptures and is supplemented by the presentation of preparatory drawings in the Bank of America Concourse, a gallery inside the Museum. As a chronicle of humankind’s impact on our changing world — excessive hunting and fishing, commerce, deforestation — and a record of dwindling biodiversity (the variety of life), The Lost Bird Project memorializes North American birds that have been driven to extinction. The great auk, Labrador duck, passenger pigeon, Carolina parakeet, and heath hen were birds that once filled unique niches in the North American landscape from the shores of Labrador and New York to the Midwestern plains. Moved by their stories, American artist Todd McGrain (b. 1961) set out to bring their vanished forms back into the world. More importantly, these sculptures ask us not to forget, and remind us of our duty to save fragile habitats and prevent further extinction.

The heath hen lived in abundance along the Atlantic Seaboard from Massachusetts to Virginia. Because of overharvest and habitat destruction, by the mid-1800s there was only a single population left on Martha’s Vineyard. Despite efforts to save the species, the last bird was seen there in 1932. Photo courtesy of The Vineyard Gazette

The species on earth don’t live in a vacuum, and it is not known how the loss of one species will affect the other species within its ecosystem, but it is known that the removal of just one species from an ecosystem can set off a chain reaction among all the remaining plants and animals. This, in turn, negatively affects the natural processes or the species composition of the ecosystem. But why should we care? What do all these species mean to humans, anyway?

The great auk was plentiful until the mid-16th century, when European sailors began the exploration of the oceans. Over-harvest of eggs, meat, feathers, fat, and oil was the main reason for its extinction. Painting courtesy of Smithsonian Magazine

Many advances in medicine have come from plants and animals; more than a quarter of U.S. prescriptions written each year contain chemicals originally discovered in them. About half of currently available medicines have been derived from a few hundred wild species, including antibiotics, cancer treatments, pain killers, and blood thinners. Every living thing on earth has its very own genetic makeup and biochemistry that has been evolving since they first came into being. Only a small number of species have been examined, and scientists have just begun to unravel their secrets to find benefits to humans. If we lose any single species, that information is gone forever, and that information could have been a treatment or cure for a human disease.

In the field of agriculture, farmers are using insects and other animals, such as bats, that eat pests detrimental to food crops. Plants with natural toxins are being used to repel some of these pests. In most cases these alternatives to synthetic chemical pesticides are less expensive and safer to use, both for the environment and for the people (including consumers) who interact with the crops.

The Florida scrub-jay is listed as a threatened species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Scrub habitat is highly valued for development, and habitat destruction and suppression of fire in the species’ remaining range are the main threats to its existence. There are just over 5,000 Florida scrub-jays remaining.  Photo by James Lyon

Many individual plants and animals are indicators of the quality of the environment. When the number of peregrine falcons and bald eagles declined in the middle of the 20th century, scientists discovered that a common pesticide, DDT, was the cause. Eastern white pine and some lichens serve as indicators of extra sulfur dioxide, ozone, and other air pollutants. A decline in the number of freshwater mussels can indicate water pollution upstream from where they live. The Florida scrub-jay is an indicator species for the scrub ecosystem. When their numbers decline, so do those of the many other species of plants and animals that occupy the scrub habitat.

Plants are being used to remove, stabilize, transfer, and destroy pollutants that are found in the substrate in which they grow, be it soil or sediment. In this new field of study, called phytoremediation, plants remove heavy metals from soil and concentrate them in their stems, which are then harvested and disposed of properly. Some houseplants can remove indoor pollutants from the air in your home as well.

Ecotourism, through activities such as birdwatching, hiking, canoeing, camping, and kayaking add billions of dollars to the economies of countries around the world. Without the natural beauty of the environment, such tourism would diminish, damaging many economies.

These benefits are just a handful of reasons why plants and animals and their habitats should be protected. There are others, like flooding reduction, protecting pollinators for our crops and natural vegetation, buffering land against the impact of storms, and preservation of soil fertility. Many people believe that every life form should be protected simply for its intrinsic value, and that they should be left for future generations because they have been here on earth for so long. Some have compared eliminating entire species to ripping pages out of books that have not yet been read. As species are lost, so are options for the advancement of future generations, our children, our grandchildren, and all who follow behind us. We should, as humans, not be so selfish as to rob the future world of a cure for cancer or other devastating disease. Or rob the world of something that is simply unique. Extinction is forever.

Overharvest of the Labrador duck (or pied duck) and eggs on breeding grounds and habitat destruction following the arrival of Europeans were factors in the species’ extinction. It was last seen in 1875 in Long Island. Painting by John James Audubon

Sources:

Center for Biological Diversity. The Extinction Crisis. biologicaldiversity.org

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. All About Birds. Can We Learn From The History Of The Heath Hen? allaboutbirds.org/can-we-learn-from-the-history-of-the-heath-hen/

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. All About Birds. Even Small, Scattered Florida Scrub-Jay Groups Are Vital To The Survival Of The Species. allaboutbirds.org/even-small-scattered-florida-scrub-jay-groups-are-vital-to-the-survival-of-the-species/

Endangered Species International. Overview – Why Save Endangered Species? endangeredspeciesinternational.org/overview4.html

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Camptorhynchus labradorius (Labrador Duck). iucnredlist.org/details/22680418/0

John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove. The Last Carolina Parakeet. johnjames.audubon.org/last-carolina-parakeet

Smithsonianmag.com. When the Last of the Great Auks Died, It Was by the Crush of a Fisherman’s Boot.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Why Save Endangered Species? July 2005. endangered.fws.gov/

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