Thursday, June 13, 2019

San Diego Museum of Art, June 2019

by Patricia Frischer

I very much feel it is time for everyone to make a visit to the San Diego Museum of Art. I went because a friend wanted to see the Eisenstaedt photo exhibition but we stayed for 3 1/2 hours because there was so much to see. Here is a very brief report on just five of the displays. If you have not explored the museum recently, there are changes and changing exhibitions and I encourage you to visit and see for yourself.  What a beautiful treasure we have in our county!

Alfred Eisenstaedt was one of the founding photographers for LIFE magazine and as you would expect, this show covered decades of life in America. 

Before he was hired to work at LIFE this is a photo of a culture fashion show in Switzerland. 

Back in the USA, this is a great view from above of the Cartier Jewelry shop

Here are two charming children dressed in clothes made from cotton bags from 1939

Another charming view of two small children being warned by a policeman to stay out of the streets to be safe

A meat counter during the war years. Notice the "Save Waste Fats for Explosives" sign. 

Eisenstaedt is known for his famous picture of the kiss by the sailor and the girl in white. We even have a controversy n San Diego about the sculpture  inspired by that scene. But this image of sailors coming home is just as impressive 

Students on the University of New Hampshire getting fit for the war effort.

Model in flower sunglasses of 1941

There were many celebrity photos but I choose this one of a young Gregory Peck in La Jolla

An Italian Officer in the Italian Alps enjoys a sled ride in 1934

A small gallery which I had never seen before lies in the middle of the ground floor space between the Asian collection and the Modern section and had this lovely little show Spectacle & Satire featuring quite a few famous artists like Chagall, Picasso, and Klee. I choose a few favorites.

This debauched tavern scene from 1735 is by one of the most famous artist and satirist of England, William Hogarth

Right up there with Hogarth is Thomas Rowlandson who lived from 1756 to 1827. Some of you may have experiences a child like this!
Lawrence Beall Smith, an American captures the Magic of the Theater in this 1938-9 composition. He lived from 1909 to 1995....amazing changes he must have seen.

The famous Scopes Trial (Religion vs Science) f 1925 is depicted in this lithograph by Mabel Dwight. 

She also made this scene of the public in front of an aquarium.
Everett Gee Jackson preaches to "Sailors Beware" as a part of a series which ended with a sailor and his wife and baby. This one shows a lady of the night luring her prey with coffee?!?

Russel Theodore Limbach shows us the relation between artist and devoted student. Tee Hee. He was one of the artist included in a "print of the month" club in 1932. There was an attempt to supply artists with a steady income. Editions were 250 prints each.  

There was a small set of works on display in the back hallway on the ground floor Women of the Southwest

Georgia O'Keeffe and this image is worth a visit if for no other reason!

An artist new to me is Edith Hamlin with this strong work called Black Pool

Art and the Empire: The Golden Age of Spain was what I thought was going to be typical of a mass of private collection exhibitions that have been shown since the current director took over. But this show is different.  It has borrowed some works from outside of our area also has some of the favorites from the SDMA's own collection like the El Greco:  The Penitent Saint Peter, 1595 and the Juan Sanchez Cotan, Still Life with Quince, Cabbage, Melon and Cucumber, from 1602. I was very impressed with the scale of the work on display and it arrangement. There are central and south American  works included because of the Spanish influence and the range of work even including wood work, jewels and tiles gives a total view of the life of the times. This show could occupy three hours of your time on its own.  

I have chosen to write about these two depictions of Saint Michael slaying the demon as they are so large and vivid. It reminds one why religion has such a powerful hold on the community. These very large images brought to life the lessons of the church. Saint Michael is so yummy in both these works that he must of been the superstar of the day. 

This depiction of the Virgin Mary as a child and asleep at her lessons, was a good sign to me that it was time for lunch! You can only take in so much art in one day. and my eyes were starting to cross!

All of these shows and the José-María Cano: Apostolate exhibition are changing exhibitions so check the dates if you want to see them. There are a number of displays of the permanent collection that do change occasionally and one that I liked so much is the relatively new rooms called Visible Vaults. These were works that didn't fit into any of the regular categories that could be included in displays, but were interesting never the less. The large selections of unframed prints could be pulled out one drawer at a time for study and I loved the small collection of Chinese netsuke. 

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