Friday, August 15, 2014

Springfield Massachusettes Sunday August 24

We were late enough arriving at the Hampton Inn hotel that we did not do more than eat the meal I mentioned in the previously posted.
We did not get such a good sleep here because there was a party down the hall that went until midnight.  Old folks like us with their doors open and very loud.  They finally quieted some when we complained both to them and to the front desk.

In the morning we were slow to get going.  We went swimming in the pool which was as cold as Burden Lake was the day before we left.  I went out swimming there after getting the boat winched up and safe from filling with water.

The pool was small and the folks in it needed their length swims so space was at a premium, but actually it was the cold water that limited our fun.  I napped for a while in the warm sun.

Breakfast here was just great.  Eggs and sausage, fruit and yogurt with added nuts.  Plenty of other choices as well and a free Sunday paper to poke through.


The Springfield Museums cost twelve dollars and the ticket allowed us to visit as many as we wanted.  We paid an extra five dollars for the docent review of the current modern collection and found that well worth the price, especially because it also included a walk through the mechanized dinosaur exhibit.

I have read about the moving dinosaurs, but had never seen them.  It was an amazing experience. Some were very frightening. The Brontosaurus moved just a foot away from our faces as if it really could see us and was aggressively looking us in the eye.  The sound effects in this room were pretty frightening as well.  I'd like to bring Casey here, but I wonder if he would be too frightened.  Included was a wooly mammoth, saber tooth tigers, and other dinosaurs. 
I did not engage with the exhibit promising to recreate the smell of dinosaur poop, but thought that was pretty creative also.  I did mavel at the oviraptor egg fossil.

In another section was a huge plastic dinosaur and an actual piece of an Alamosaurus bone that was impressive by being so massive.
This bone was collected by Frederick Loomis

The museum itself was just packed full of fossils and artifacts.  One section had a beautiful collection of gems and crystals, one of the best I have seen.   Another had a collection of fish fossils.  Elizabeth was taken with this piece.

Of course, I loved the fish fossils, especially the one that looked so much like a bluegill

I was caught by a large scale scene of Indians in camp with buttons that offered a brief talk in the Indians own accented English.  I listened to the one who was a hunter and a fisherman talk about fishing the various seasons.
We walked a ramp around one area filled with large depictions of animals.  It was very well designed. 


The art museum was packed full of wonderful things as well.  We did the talk in the Modern Display  1910-1960 that advertised O'Keefe to Rockwell, but had very few of either of these artists and an eclectic showing of all sorts of things in all sorts of styles.
I could not use my camera in this section, but I've located pictures of the paintings on line and listed the sites to click to see them.

Fifty paintings depicted aspects of modern painting with subfocuses on five different themes: Cubism, Natural Elements, City Structures, Characters and Americana..  It seemed an odd group of choices but the overall idea of the collection was the forces that impacted art between 1910-1960. 
The docent talked about a famous art show created by artists themselves called "The Armory"
 The show became an important event in the history of American art, introducing astonished Americans, who were accustomed to realistic art, to the experimental styles of the European avant garde, including Fauvism, Cubism, and Futurism. The show served as a catalyst for American artists, who became more independent and created their own "artistic language."
She felt this had changed the way modern art was defined.

The docent then spoke of how cubism moved to precisionism the city structures, how still life's and landscapes changed during this time with abstractions, and then the social commentary that came with certain character paintings..loneliness of women in changed roles, the shoe shine boy as a black representation of the paper boy who makes his way in hard times. 
Americana included Grandma Moses but the docent spoke about another very quirky painting with a dog/sheep and woman that was pleasant but not anatomically correct.  the brush strokes built up her nose on the canvas.
The docent took a long while to talk about it.  At first I was not impressed but up close I could see the unusual heavy layering of paint.  I liked it better up close.

On the same wall was "Welcome Home" by Jack Levine.  This seemed ironic.  There was no joy here.  Clearly it was after WWII and the welcome was a little less than wonderful

Here is an interesting discussion of the author's work

Also on that same wall was this delightful Grandma Moses piece. What contrast!

Elizabeth enjoyed that there were so few people there that she could back away from the impressionist's paintings and see them become clear from a distance.

Our docent guide was simplistic, but pleased both of us.  In each of the sections she chose one or two paintings on which to focus her talk.  They were not always what we might have chosen, but interesting none the less.
The O'Keefe were two large paintings.  One was very abstract looking and had been inspired by a view of the land and rivers from an airplane.  I thought it was interesting that she would have that sense of beauty.  I am always taken by the views of land from the air and love watching the shapes and colors pass as I fly.
The other was of two yellow leaves
I am not a great O'Keefe fan, but the two ffeatured were fine.  I was more taken by Fishhook in Hawaii

Contrasted was a sea painting by the illustrator of Moby Dick, Rockwell Kent
I really was not attracted to either of these.  They did not capture the sea of Winslow Homer.

The docent also talked about this painting.
I am not a great O'Keefe fan, but the two ffeatured were fine.  I was more taken by Fishhook in Hawaii
comparing the shoeshine boy to the newsboy as American symbols of young people making their way from simple beginnings.

I did respond to this painting mentioned by the docent.
and the angles and shapes.  I have an angle and shape view looking out my bedroom door and I love it.
I also loved the angle and shape view I had when teaching at Harriet Gibbons when my room opened on to an old fire escape that looked out over Albany buildings and once in a while included church chimes.
She thought it was clear the author painted this when depressed, but both Elizabeth and I thought that was a stretch.
She did point out the interesting issue of light coming from many directions.

I do tend to gravitate toward paintings of ocean and forest, fishing and boats, and beautiful women.


The rest of the museum included all sorts of small collections of art and many pieces that grabbed my attention.  Once more I found that I could appreciate the French Impressionists and I best liked a view of the Seine. (left below)

Here I was able to take photographs, so I could better record what we were seeing:

Another exhibit was of Currier and Ives prints and it was fascinating.
Here were even some framed old calendars with prints.  And in the exhibit was a research room with reference books  like

  and a couple computers.  A person could easily sit here all day, surrounded by all the framed prints, and see and read about others.  We saw one representative wooden block too with all the letters and shapes in reverse.
The collection is permanent and every so often they have a larger showing of selected pieces. 
Even in Currier and Ives there are fish.  Here is trout and pickerel, although not a chain pickerel as we have here.

And yet another focused humorously on incidents in the kitchen, many depicting the adventures of "Gladys."   These were cartoon like constructions of bright colored shapes all presented at different angles.  I could not photograph, but here is an example and overview


Here are some of the paintings that caught the attention of my camera.

This boy is fishing.
Here is Paul Sample's "Church Supper"

This one is done by William Adolphe Bouguere in 1886.  It is called "Young Girl"  He painted many young women and girls in sweetness and innocence.


This painting by Adolphe Jourdan was just across the room
In this one a young girl is singing into her mirrored reflection.
Young Girl Singing into a Mirror
Jean Etienne Liotard, 1702-1789

This is a Winslow Homer.  Swinging on a Birch Tree

The painting inspired a poem






Still Life With Duck, 1764

Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin




Here is another:
Glouster Harbor by Glenn O Coleman

And there is a mural inspired by the work of Diego Rivera like the one we saw in Cuernavaca.  This one won a 1940's contest.  Next trip I'll catch the name and artist.

We had a quick lunch at the cafĂ© and found the prices very cheap.  Twelve dollars got us each a sandwich, bag of chips, and a drink.   We ate indoors, but there was a delightful picnic table area and I wished we had gone there. So we did to finish Dewey's tea.  The day was perfect for temp and humidity.

I was inspired here to duplicate O'Keefe's two yellow leaves

And I got carried away and also did one I call "Striped in color cup."

It was great to walk around the outside on such a wonderful day. 

Also outside in the park is what is called the Seuss sculptures.  They were interesting.

Casey would certainly like these.

Then we went back to the museum, but we were pretty tired and did not have the focused and energetic attention that we had experienced earlier.
One great thing about joining the Clark museum is that we can go for just an hour. We don't have to try to get everything in one visit.  No matter how wonderful the exhibits are, after a while our minds get jaded and unreceptive.

The second morning we went swimming again.  It was still cold but uncrowded and more comfortable, but I got too cold quickly and went back to the room.  My poor packing at Burden Lake needed an upgrade, so I rearranged and reduced for an easier pack.  Actually, at Dana's I was to just take some bare essentials to get me through the last day, so it probably was all unnecessary.

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