Published: September 16, 2003
Robert Laurent’s “Drawing of a Dog,” with its sinuous line and smooth contours, evokes the feeling of furlike silk, warm and pliant to the touch. One almost expects this little hound to stretch and sigh in contentment. In Adolf Schreyer’s exotic “Arab Horsemen, Defeat and Hate,” a pair of magnificent stallions carrying wounded riders dominate the scene; one can almost hear their frantic snorts and the echoes of their headlong gallop.
These works, one intimate and one heroic in scale, come together in the Heckscher Museum of Art’s exhibit “All Creatures Great and Small,” on view through November 16. This exhibition, which is drawn from the Heckscher’s permanent collection, explores not only these two extremes, but also the myriad of ways in which animals have been depicted in art.
For Schreyer, a Nineteenth Century German artist, horses were part of the romantic tableaux he established in his stirring work, a vehicle for his bravado brushwork. Laurent, a modernist, was clearly drawn to the wonderful form of the sleeping dog, which he simplifies to great expressive effect in his drawing.
William Holbrook Beard was a Nineteenth Century artist who specialized in humorous animal scenes that often grant furred and feathered friends human foibles. In “Give Up That Egg,” an abashed brown bear is caught in an act of thievery by an outraged goose. The Nineteenth Century sculptor Paul Wayland Bartlett, an American artist who studied and worked in Paris, takes a far more serious approach in his “Bohemian Bear Tamer,” a beautifully modeled bronze that helped to establish his artistic reputation.
Some of the other artists featured in the exhibition include: Thomas Hart Benton, George Grosz, William Zorach, Gifford Beal, Jean-Louise-Ernest Meissonier, Esphyr Slobodkina and Elie Nadleman.
The museum is at 2 Prime Avenue. For information, 631-351-3250.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
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