The Pilots, 1887
On Wednesday, I visited the Taft Museum with my friend. They have two very nice exhibits called Dutch Utopia and Elizabeth Nourse. They will be on display until May 12th. In the exhibit on Dutch Utopia, the paintings were from American Artists that studied in Holland in the late 1800's to the early 1900's. There was a John Singer Sargent and a Elizabeth Nourse among other artist. However, for me the one that stole the exhibit was Gari Melcher, 1863-1932. (http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/melchers_gari.html) He had approximately 9 paintings in the exhibit. Melcher's painted scenes that showed peasants in prayer, in their fields, socializing and at home. the peasant clothing of the period was usually dark and dreary. Melcher's painting of Sisters had the oldest child in a almost neon orange. Another showed the beauty of the outside of a home with the spring flowers and trees in bloom. Until I stepped into this exhibit I had not even heard of Gari Melcher. So I was amazed when I came home and researched him and found out that he was a contemporary to John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, Whistler,George Hitchcock and others that were ex-patriots in the 1890's.
Melchers studied at the Royal Prussian Academy of Art in Dusseldorf, Germany. He then continued his
training at Ecole de Beaux-Arts and the Academie Juilian in Paris in 1881. In 1884, He moved to Holland with a group of artist and built a reputation as a chronicler of Dutch peasant life. In 1889 he won the Grand Prize at the Paris Universal Exposition. In the 1890's he was known, like Sargent, for his portrait work. Melcher's taught taught in Germany before WWI then he returned to the USA.
In NYC he was an instructor at the National Academy of Design. Melcher's moved to Falmouth, Virginia to escape the city. In Virginia he was named to the Virginia Arts Commission and chaired the Smithsonian Commission to establish the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.
Mother and Child, 1888
The other small exhibit was of Elizabeth Nourse (1859-1938). She too was an ex-patriot and she hailed from Cincinnati. Nourse attended the McMicken School of Design at the age of 15. She also studied at the Arts Stuedent League in NYC and Academie Julian in Paris.
This exhibit only had 2 finished paintings, a watercolor sketch of one of the paintings and 2 sketch books. I really enjoyed the watercolor sketch. The sketch had all the qualities of the oil painting. Both showed the soft and pale quality of the child's face and the mother's breast. The peasants garb of dark colors. the folds of the material were nicely depicted. Unfortunately I could not find an example of this painting. The painting to the right is an example of the type of paintings she enjoyed to do. Like Mary Cassett, Nourse liked to capture motherhood.
If you are in or near Cincinnati I recommend that you stop by the Taft and see these exhibits before they move on.