Published: March 13, 2012
The Woodstock Artists Association & Museum presents “Case Studies: Works from the Permanent Collection by George C. Ault, Marion Greenwood and Ezio Martinelli,” on view through June 10.
Through its focus on the careers of these three key artists, the exhibit brings seldom seen works to view and highlights the depth and richness of the museum’s repository, featuring some of the region’s most important cultural assets.
The somber and evocative paintings of George C. Ault (1891‱948) have long intrigued audiences. Showcasing the wealth of works by this tragic artist in the holdings here was the initial motivation behind the exhibition. “WAAM owns seven works by George Ault. Such an overview of one artist’s creative output is seldom retained in one place and becomes a tremendous resource for exhibition and study,” says director and curator Josephine Bloodgood. “This assembly of Ault’s paintings and drawings says a lot about the robustness of our collection.”
Last year, the museum was offered an early painting by Ault, which he completed as a student in Europe. “Our collection committee was thrilled to see this rare and very special work surface from the Schleicher family’s private collection. While we have to be extremely selective due to storage limitations and the expenses involved in maintaining our collection, WAAM welcomed this piece because our approach to acquisitions includes playing to the breadth and strength of important artists like Ault,” she said.
The newly obtained work “Sunlight and Mist,” 1911, depicts haystacks in the French countryside. The painting’s subtle and softly blended colors reveal the influence of Tonalism on the young artist, while the subject harkens to Claude Monet’s Impressionist explorations on the same theme.
Ault’s haystack painting is a stark contrast with his later Precisionist works like his “Jane St Corner, Hudson,” 1931, one of the six works by Ault featured in this exhibition. A seventh work from the organization’s permanent collection, “Late November, Catskills,” 1940, is part of the touring exhibition and catalog organized by the Smithsonian Museum of American Art titled “To Make a World: George Ault and 1940s America.” That exhibition traveled to the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City last year and reaches its final venue, the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia, this spring.
Marion Greenwood (1909‱970) is represented in Woodstock’s collection and “Case Studies” with 12 works, including oils such as “Street Musician,” 1958, and numerous works on paper, including a charcoal portrait of Japanese American sculptor Isamu Noguchi (circa 1930) and colorful, expressive studies of ritual dancers in Haiti. A recently acquired lithograph titled “Carnival in Kripplebush” depicts a lively gathering in that Ulster County town from the 1940s.
A selection of drawings by Ezio Martinelli (1913‱980) featured “Case Studies” reveals the artist’s fascination with abstracting the human form. Study after study in pen or pencil of contorted figural shapes enhance appreciation of the larger than life abstract sculpture by Martinelli that is on permanent display in the museum’s back garden. The focused exhibition in the Towbin Wing also enables two large oils, “Smokey Shapes” and “Gravelly Run,” to be displayed side by side, demonstrating the renowned sculptor’s deftness in the painting medium.
The Woodstock Artists Association & Museum is at 28 Tinker Street. For information, www.woodstockart.org or 845-679-2940.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
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