Oil Sketches at CFAM

In July you may have seen me deliver a Collections Conversations talk on one of my favorite objects in the collection, Shoshone Indians Rocky Mountains, an 1859 oil sketch by the American painter Albert Bierstadt. In it, I talked about

Jean Charlot and the Joy of Discovery

As I have written this blog, I have tended to highlight recent scholarship that sheds new light on artists on the collection, or on interesting connections between and among artists and works. Sometimes, however, I find myself simply stopping to

Blackness and Abstraction, Part 2

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the African American abstract painter Sam Gilliam and his sometimes uneasy relationship with the artistic style of Black activists in the 1960s and 1970s. This week, I ran into some of the same

Connoisseurship, Part 2: Jennie Augusta Brownscombe

In the very first entry in this blog series I wrote about connoisseurship, one of the processes art historians use to help determine which works of art are by which artists. I was reminded of that post this morning, as

Sam Gilliam and Blackness

Sam Gilliam has long been one of the foremost American abstract painters, as well as one of the most successful African American artists. He was the first Black artist to represent the United States in the Venice Biennale in 1972.1

On the Direct Encounter with the Work of Art

I live in a smallish college town in the Blue Ridge Mountains, far from the bustling museum and gallery scenes of New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C., three places I have lived over the years. Still, D.C. is about four

Arthur B. Davies, Modern Art, and Yoga

I, like many people across the country, have been using YouTube yoga videos to break up my routine and introduce a little more physical activity in my life during these long months of stay-at-home orders. Even as my state of

Romare Bearden, Activism, and Art

Recently in the United States there has been a great outpouring of activism, causing many of us to examine our places in the country and the world. Activism often goes hand-in-hand with artistic production, with professional and amateur artists alike

Alexander Pope’s Portrait of Duke and the Long History of Animal Portraiture

Pope is not widely known today, and when he is noted it is usually for the handful of still life paintings he made in the style known as trompe l’oeil. French for “fool the eye,” trompe l’oeil refers to paintings

Emory Douglas’s Revolutionary Newspaper Art

Over the past weeks, due to the killing of George Floyd by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, America has been engaged in a national conversation about privilege, bias, and whose voices are heard in our country and its institutions.