A Lovely New Addition to the Collections

Walter Launt Palmer (1854-1932)
Jewelled Pines, 1929
Oil on canvas, 76 x 63 cm.
Gift of Richard A. Scudamore ’55

Walter Launt Palmer’s snow scenes earned him a reputation as a master of capturing winter on canvas. Influenced primarily by the regionalist principles of the Hudson River School, Palmer’s travels through the Catskill Mountains, Hudson River Valley, Paris and Venice are reflected in his landscapes, as well as his domestic interiors and portraits. Born into an artistic Albany, New York household Palmer grew up and interacted with many of the artistic luminaries of his time including Frederic E. Church, James and William Hart, George Boughton, Homer Dodge Martin, and Edward Gay. Palmer studied portrait painting with Charles Loring Elliot and landscape painting with Frederic Church in his early teens, and at the age of eighteen had his work accepted for a show at The National Academy of Design in New York.

In 1873 the Palmer family traveled to Europe and visited Scotland, France, Germany and Italy. While there Palmer studied with Charles Carolus Duran. During his time in Europe Palmer also spent time with many other artists including John Singer Sargent, William Merritt Chase, and Frank Druveneck. On his first visit to Venice Palmer was struck by the city’s natural and historical beauty and began painting its canals, churches, buildings, and interiors, subjects which he returned to often throughout his career.

At the age of 24 Palmer had become a protégé of Frederick Church, and ultimately shared a studio with him in New York city from 1878-1881. When Palmer and Church parted ways professionally, Palmer returned briefly to Europe and upon his return moved back to his native Albany.

A large number of Palmer’s canvases were painted from Palmer’s detailed notes, sketches, and photographs, which he compiled over time. He also was extremely meticulous about keeping records of his works, something he and Frederick Church had in common. While Palmer’s many Venetian scenes were in vogue among his clients and provided a steady income for the artist, he was equally if not better known for his luscious renditions of snowy woods and streams. Many of his winter scenes earned him awards and prizes from various art clubs. Palmer attributed much of his success with winter snow scenes to painters John Ruskin and other Pre-Raphaelites who inspired his experimentation with blue shadows on traditional white snow. He was able to capture the variations of colors reflected in the winter landscapes around the Hudson River Valley.

Walter Launt Palmer lived in Albany from 1882 until April 16, 1932 when he died of pneumonia.

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Study Galleries

Faculty members of the Colleges may arrange to have art installed specifically for the use of their classes in the Abraham Reception Room of the Davis Gallery at Houghton House. Typical study galleries display three or more artworks from the collections for a finite period of time specified by the faculty member with the consultation of the curator. Students visit the study gallery at any time during regular gallery hours. This provides faculty and students with a learning laboratory available for research and study.

The current study gallery is a set of three Japanese prints for Professor Lara Blanchard’s ARTH 103: Introduction to Asian Art:

  • Ando Hiroshige (1797-1858) Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji: 5, Tea-Water Canal, Yedo, 1858. Woodblock, 33 x 22 cm.
  • Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) Umeya, 1820-30. Woodcut, 18 x 28 cm.
  • Utagawa Yasugoro (1794-1832) Hatsu-hana under the Waterfall, 1840. Woodcut, 36 x 25 cm.

Sharing Our Art

In the fall of 2015, the Parrish Art Museum is will present Robert De Niro, Sr.—The Act of Seeing: Paintings and Drawings 1940s–1970s. The exhibition opens at the Parrish on October 26, 2015 and will be on view through January 18, 2016, travelling to the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA, and one additional U.S. museum venue. Organized by the Parrish Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Chief Curator Alicia Longwell, this is the first full scale museum retrospective of this estimable artist’s work. HWS will be loaning our De Niro painting, Still Life with Yellow Chair, 1979.

Robert De Niro Sr. was part of the celebrated New York School of post-war American artists.  His work blended abstract and expressionist styles of painting with traditional representational subject matter, bridging the divide between European Modernism and Abstract Expressionism. I n 1945, De Niro was included in the Fall exhibition at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century Gallery on 57th Street in New York. Reviews of the exhibition praised the work of De Niro as well as Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko.  He had his first solo exhibition at Art of This Century the following year. Throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, De Niro continued to exhibit in museums and  galleries throughout the United States, including New York, San Francisco, Kansas City, Los Angeles,  Washington, D.C. He taught at several art schools and colleges including the Cooper Union, the New School for Social Research, the School of Visual Arts, and East Michigan State College.  Robert De Niro, Sr. died in 1993 in Manhattan.

The paintings and drawings of Robert De Niro, Sr. show a relationship to the works of Matisse through the creation of certain compositions, graphic assertion of certain drawings, use of the same techniques, like stumping, and the search for harmonies of colors. Influenced by the great European artists, Robert De Niro, Sr. focused his work on the figurative, a more sensitive representation of the world. However, the American artist preserved his own mode of expression, tied to the abstract, which came from his training under American masters like Joseph Albers, founder of optical art, and Hans Hofmann, a follower of Bauhaus, whose scientific approach to the treatment of color and space represents American abstract expressionism, particularly the New York School.

New Acquisition

I have realized I am missing an opportunity to communicate within the Davis Gallery website by not posting new developments here. So this is the first of many to follow.

New acquisition to the Collections of HWS:

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (1940-)
Down the Rabbit Hole, 2014
Woodcut, template, monotype, 38 x 28 cm
Gift of The Rochester Print Club

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith is one of the most acclaimed American Indian artists of today. She has been reviewed in most art periodicals.  Smith has had over 100 solo exhibits in the past 40 years and has done printmaking projects nationwide.  Over that same time, she has organized and/or curated over 30 Native exhibitions, lectured at more than 200 universities, museums and conferences internationally, most recently at 5 universities in China. Smith has completed several collaborative public art works such as the floor design in the Great Hall of the new Denver Airport; an in-situ sculpture piece in Yerba Buena Park, San Francisco and a mile-long sidewalk history trail in West Seattle and recently, a new terrazzo floor design at the Denver Airport.

Smith uses humor and satire to examine myths, stereotypes and the paradox of American Indian life in contrast to the consumerism of American society. Her work is philosophically centered by her strong traditional beliefs and political activism. Smith is internationally known as an artist, curator, lecturer, print-maker and professor. She was born at St. Ignatius Mission on her Reservation and is an enrolled Salish member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation of Montana. She holds 4 honorary doctorates from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Arts, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Mass College of Art and the University of New Mexico. Her work is in collections at the Whitney Museum, the Metropolitan Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Walker, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Museum for World Cultures, Frankfurt, Germany and Museum for Ethnology, Berlin. Recent awards include a grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation to archive her work; the 2011 Art Table Artist Award; Moore College Visionary Woman Award for 2011; Induction into the National Academy of Art 2011; Living Artist of Distinction, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, NM 2012; the Switzer Award for 2012.

Rabbit is part of the creation story for Chippewa, Cree peoples. We have Cree blood so sometimes I use the rabbit figure in my work as a trickster in my stories. Nanabozho is the all-powerful giant rabbit. Though my rabbit looks like Spidey rabbit, I drew the rabbit with hash marks that are used on petroglyphs from the Plateau, which is where my tribe is from. Even though Down the Rabbit Hole is a saying from Alice in Wonderland it has come to mean something like – leaping off a cliff, going on an adventure, taking chances or dealing with what life dishes out to us. Certainly people are going to see that this image is also about leaping into the fire as the saying goes “from the frying pan into the fire.” Neal and I wanted to provide a positive spin on this so we placed a door off to the right of the fire, which is an escape hatch. Neal Ambrose-Smith collaborator

Ecologically safe Akua ink

Four color runs with five colors

Carbon black

Thalo blue over the woodcut

Thalo blue for the sky

Pyrrole orangelhansa yellow for the fire

Carbon blackthalo blue for the door

Legion Folio Antique White, 100% cotton, neutral pH, vellum finish, USA paper

No chlorine use