Tuesday, August 25, 2015

An Afternoon of Art in Chattanooga

The Hunter Museum consists of a "mansion wing" and a "modern wing".  The modern wing serves for the special exhibits and collections.  The mansion contains the permanent collections of the museum. As you can see, it was a marvelous afternoon to be in Chattanooga.  Almost fall-like.
Jennifer and I enjoyed some art in Chattanooga today.  It was a fun thing to do with her brother who is visiting from out west and her parents who live near us.  I enjoy going to Chattanooga because there are a lot of cultural attractions there, it is much closer to our home than Atlanta and it is easier to get around in.

This trip we wanted to see the Monet and American Impressionism exhibit at the Hunter Museum of American Art.  We have visited the museum a couple of times in the past but not recently and apparently not since I began this blog. Of course, we are both fans of impressionism so this was a perfect opportunity to do something as a family and and get reacquainted the museum and the quaint Bluff View Art District too.

We had an early lunch at our favorite restaurant and watering hole in Chattanooga, Big River Grille and Brewing Works. Since it was a Tuesday the patrons were sparse and the pace was much more relaxed.

The exhibit itself was a good example of the influence of Claude Monet upon a variety of American painters.  There were a couple of Monet's, both very obvious, that caught my eye. Mary Cassatt was featured in 4 prints (drypoint and monotype), but no paintings.  For me, several paintings by Childe Hassam, someone we first discovered in our trips to DC in 2013 and Chicago last year, were the highlight.  The other works were by lesser artists that were interesting from the perspective of Monet's influence but were otherwise rather mediocre. 

This was the highlight of the special impressionist exhibit in my opinion.  A splendid example of American Impressionism by Childe Hassam entitled French Tea Garden, 1910. The red brushstrokes in the flowers and in the vine twisting upward were exquisite. 

After spending awhile in the museum's modern wing, we ventured over into the Hunter's permanent collection located in the mansion.  I was surprised by the rich variety of the collection, which has greatly expanded since the last time I visited the museum.  We saw many forms of American art and sculpture from romantic and neo-classical to abstract and contemporary.  I was actually more inspired with the permanent collection than I was with the relatively small impressionist exhibit.
The Arrest by Jack Lavine.  This nice abstract oil on canvas from 1983 caught my eye. Part of the Hunter's permanent collection.

Helen Frankenthaler, Around the Clock with Red, 1983. A very large abstract which took up an entire wall of the permanent collection.
After taking in the museum, Jennifer, her brother, and I took in the splendid sunshine of the unusually mild, breezy and arid afternoon on a walk through the nearby sculpture garden overlooking the Tennessee River.  It was enjoyable.

We visited the nearby sculpture garden which overlooks the Tennessee River.  This sculpture was of stone heads facing upward with gigantic eyes.

Jennifer gives the stone head sculpture some scale.
My favorite sculpture was Continuum by Sally Rogers, 2012.  It seemed to be made for a blue sky day.

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