Published: February 19, 2002
DOYLESTOWN-Roy C. For the first time, an exhibition of his figurative and landscape paintings will be on view at the James A. Michener Art Museum through May 12.
Erika Smith, curator of the exhibition, remarked, “Nuse began his formal training at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, embarking on what would be a lengthy training in the academic tradition that spanned more than a decade of study at several art schools.” Following his marriage to fellow academy student Ellen Guthrie, the couple moved to Bucks County so that Nuse could attend the renowned Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, where he studied with Daniel Garber. Nuse developed his talents and adopted the favorite method of the Impressionists-painting outdoors directly from nature.
Nuse earned top honors at PAFA, winning the First Toppan Prize and two Cresson European Traveling Fellowships among others. However, the single most important element in Nuse’s life continued to be a devotion to his family, and to the land around his adopted home of Bucks County, which became an ongoing source of inspiration throughout his career.
Nuse’s known work numbers over 250 paintings and drawings covering some seven decades from 1905 through 1975. The works in this retrospective exhibition reveal the Nuse family lovingly rendered at various ages, and landscapes that are personal and familiar-almost always his own gardens, streams, bridges, and quarry, which were his everyday views.
The portraits are mostly of family members, including each of his many grandchildren as they came along, and a few close neighbors. Starting at an early age and continuing late into his career, Nuse created an interesting group of self-portraits. A second group of figurative paintings included several series of figures in landscape settings, particularly “boys in the glen,” which he considered among his most important work. The remainder of figures in the landscape included paintings of his wife and children in flower-filled gardens. One final group of figure paintings is a sequence of genre scenes portraying life on a typical farm in Bucks County.
His landscape paintings are among his most lyrical and many of the works employ the broken brush strokes of the Impressionist style, though he was equally proficient in painting in a smoothly finished way that showed little evidence of brushwork.
Nuse exhibited at many venues including the Corcoran Gallery, Washington D.C.; the Art Institute of Chicago; The Cincinnati Art Museum; The Pennsylvania Academy, and many others.
Nuse’s love of family inspired his passion for painting. In the end he gave nearly all of his works to his children, which were then handed down through generations, and now are finally brought together for this exhibition in his honor.
The James A. Michener Art Museum is located at 138 South Pine Street, Doylestown. Gallery hours: Tuesday through Friday 10 – 4:30; Saturday and Sunday 10 – 5; and Wednesday evenings until 9 p.m. Galleries are closed Monday. Admission: Members free; general admission $6, students (with current I.D.) $2.50, senior citizens age 60 and older $5.50. Group tours: extension 131. More information available at 215/340-9800 or www.michenerartmuseum.org
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