Saturday, May 26, 2018
Arts

Three new works on display at Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg

The permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg is richer by three works that were recently added, the result of funds raised by the Collectors' Circle and contributions from individual donors.

It's an eclectic trio: a bucolic French landscape, an academic drawing and a startling photographic portrait. But their differences are their strengths because each fills a void in the museum's collection.

William Anderson Coffin (1855-1925) was better known as an art critic and writer than painter, but he studied seriously in France after graduating from Yale University and continued to paint when he settled back in the United States. This landscape is a view of the village of Grez-sur-Loing, a French artists' colony whose visitors included writer Robert Louis Stevenson, composer Frederick Delius and painter John Singer Sargent. While not an "academic" painting (heroic, historical scenes were favored with meticulous technique with seamless brushstrokes), it is also not in an emerging genre that came to be known as Impressionism. It has a bit of the Barbizon School's romanticism without the gauziness. It adds to the collection's 19th-century holdings an example of work created in a famous artists' colony that the museum doesn't have and is connected to others in the museum by Coffin's relationships with their artists. This painting was acquired with funds provided by the Collectors' Circle, a fundraising group for the museum.

Until recently, all of photographer Cindy Sherman's portraits were of herself, including this 2003 work, Woman in Sun Dress. But she creates personas, not self-portraits, that make her unrecognizable and exaggerate the details of the character she portrays. Here, a person whose type we have seen if we have lived in Florida for any length of time. Its narrative makes it a good choice for the museum. Sherman (b. 1954) is one of the world's most well-known contemporary photographers and this work is a prestigious addition. This purchase was made with funds from Kathy and Patrick Beyer, Chitranee and Dr. Robert L. Drapkin, Terence Leet, Martha and James Sweeny, and Carol A. Upham.

The museum has few drawings in its collection of more than 15,000 works, only about 50. So when a good one becomes available for the right price (though museums rarely discuss prices publicly), it's good for the collection. Georges Clairin (1843-1919) was a French academic painter with exquisite technique. You see it in this study, probably for one of his famous paintings for the Paris Opera in the late 19th century. This drawing is the gift of John Schloder, director emeritus of the museum.

Lennie Bennett can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8293.

Comments
The Dia de Los Muertos exhibition at Florida CraftArt is full of life and color. As it should be.

The Dia de Los Muertos exhibition at Florida CraftArt is full of life and color. As it should be.

As soon as you pass through the paper flower archway to enter the bright pink gallery, it becomes clear that the "Dia de Los Muertos" exhibition at Florida CraftArt is full of life and color. As it should be: The Mexican holiday that honors loved one...
Published: 05/18/18
Updated: 05/21/18
St. Pete artist holding funeral for 600 block’s vanished art galleries on Sunday

St. Pete artist holding funeral for 600 block’s vanished art galleries on Sunday

Local artist Boo Ehrsam remembers seeing the photo in the news years ago. "It was this dark, empty street, and an egret flying away," she said. "The caption read, ‘Will the last one to leave St. Pete please turn out the lights.’ " That ...
Published: 05/18/18
Deal alert: The Dali Museum offers $10 admission on Friday

Deal alert: The Dali Museum offers $10 admission on Friday

DALÍ DEAL ALERT: NATIONAL MUSEUM DAYFriday is National Museum Day, not to be confused with Free Museum Day, which happens in September. Not as many local institutions participate in this day, except for the Dalí Museum, which will offer $10 admission...
Published: 05/16/18
Groundbreaking artists Larry Bell and Jesus Rafael Soto’s work on display at the Tampa Museum of Art

Groundbreaking artists Larry Bell and Jesus Rafael Soto’s work on display at the Tampa Museum of Art

A new exhibition that opened at the Tampa Museum of Art this week features two of the 20th century’s most innovative artists, Larry Bell and Jesús Rafael Soto."Vapor and Vibration: The Art of Larry Bell and Jesús Rafael Soto" will be the first time ...
Updated one month ago
A Tampa artist made portraits of all 17 Parkland shooting victims

A Tampa artist made portraits of all 17 Parkland shooting victims

TAMPA As the semester comes to a close, University of Tampa art and design students have presented their senior projects. Symone Hall, 21, had another group of students on her mind: the victims of the February mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Doug...
Updated one month ago