BUTLER MASTER PAINTING BRINGS YOUNGSTOWN GOODWILL TO PARIS, FRANCE
Edward Hopper (1882-1967) Pennsylvania Coal Town, 1947 Oil on canvas 28 x 40 inches Butler Collection, acquired 1948
Edward Hopper's "Pennsylvania Coal Town," one of the best-loved works from the collection of The Butler Institute of American Art, is currently on view at the Galeries Nationales, Grand Palais in Paris, France. The Butler's painting joins works from other prominent American museums, including New York's Whitney Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago, as part of an important Hopper retrospective, the first to ever be in staged in Paris. The exhibition has crowds flocking to the Grand Palais, an iconic Paris landmark located on the Champs-Elysées, that was built as an exhibition hall for the 1900 World's Fair.
Hopper, known above all for his paintings of the United States, first honed his art in Paris in the early 20th century before returning to New York to perfect his melancholic style, which often shows scenes from the everyday life of the American middle class. "Pennsylvania Coal Town" (painted in 1947) is one such work, and a highlight of this Paris retrospective. Recent European exhibits of American art have also included the Butler's Edward Hopper master painting, including a 2010 exhibition at the Fondation Hermitage in Switzerland, as well as recent exhibits in London, Rome and Berlin.
Other works from the Butler's famous collection have recently been seen by art audiences worldwide. Everett R. Kinstler's Portrait of Will Barnet was seen recently at the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, MA; and Martin Johnson Heade's Salt Marsh Hay was on view at the Groninger Museum, the Netherlands.
Other Butler works soon to be loaned include: Joseph Sheppard's Mr. Mack's Fighter's Gym will travel to the University of Maryland Art Museum; Edward Potthast's Afternoon Fun will be on view at the Cincinnati Art Museum; two works by Thomas Sully will be loaned to the Milwaukee Art Museum (Wisconsin); William Ranney's On the Wing will travel to the Allentown Museum of Art (Pennsylvania); Maurice Prendergast's Sunset and Sea Fog will be included in an exhibition at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art (Maine); and Sidney Goodman's The Artist's Parents in the Store" will travel to the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery (Washington DC).
Butler museum acquires realist master painting
(Article courtesy of the Youngstown Vindicator)
December 2011 (Youngstown) – The Butler Institute of American Art has acquired a master painting by renowned American realist painter Audrey Flack. The painting, titled “Baba,” is a 7-by 13-foot oil and acrylic on canvas painting that was begun by Flack in 1980 and completed in 1983. The work, among the largest paintings in the Butler’s holdings, was a gift to the museum’s permanent collection by art enthusiast A. Barry Hirschfeld of Colorado. “Baba” is the second work by Flack to enter the Butler’s collection.
“The Butler is known for its collection of masterpieces,” said Louis Zona, director of the museum. “This remarkable painting is considered to be one of the very best examples of the work of Audrey Flack, who is one of America’s premier realist painters. The Butler’s great collection of art has just become even greater with the addition of this work.”
Flack, who lives and works in New York City and Long Island, is a pioneer of photorealism and a nationally recognized painter and sculptor. Her work is in the collections of major museums around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Whitney Museum of American Art (all in New York City), as well as in the National Museum of Art in Canberra, Australia. She was the first photo- realist painter to have a work purchased by the Museum of Modern Art.
Flack’s work has been featured in numerous traveling museum exhibitions and has been displayed at the Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, N.Y.; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; the Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan; the Cincinnati Art Museum; the New Orleans Museum of Art; the Denver Art Museum; and the Butler Institute.
“Baba” depicts an Indian philanthropist, a descendant from a long line of spiritual masters, who in 1965 took a vow of silence, and who communicated only through sign language. Flack shot hundreds of photographs of the subject, and Baba’s face was painted by the artist in three days in 1980.
The unfinished canvas remained in Flack’s studio for three years while she worked on other paintings. A year and a half later, she painted the three roses next to Baba’s face. She completed the skyscape and seascape late in the summer of 1983.
According to Flack scholar Thalia Gouma-Peterson, Flack transformed “Baba” into an icon of spiritual significance through this painting, making him the modern equivalent of a Byzantine icon. “The horizontal edges are defined by an intense sunset ... and by waves splashing upwards toward the clouds, both painted in thick impasto in almost relief-like, emphatic, abstract brush strokes. This expansive, elemental and mystical setting is Flack’s most monumental seascape. It was the result of her direct involvement with nature and pays homage to the early American landscape tradition of large vistas and untamed nature. The painting is a modern combination of the human and the sublime,” writes Gouma-Peterson.
“Baba” is on view at the Butler in Youngstown, in the second level Beecher Court galleries.
Flack earned a graduate degree and an honorary doctorate from Cooper Union in New York City, and a bachelor of fine arts degree from Yale University. She attended New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, where she studied the history of art. She was awarded the St. Gaudens Medal from Cooper Union and the honorary Albert Dome professorship from Bridgeport University. She is an honorary professor at George Washington University and is a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
For further information, contact Kathryn Earnhart, 330.743.1107, ext. 123.
Butler Museum Acquires 1892 American Genre Painting – J. L. Wood Painting Complements Museum's Master Homer Painting
June 2011 (Youngstown) – Officials from The Butler Institute of American Art, located at 524 Wick Avenue in Youngstown, have announced that the museum has acquired a master work by American painter James Longacre Wood (c. 1863-1938) titled "Mumble the Peg." Painted in 1892, a full twenty years after Winslow Homer (1836-1910) painted "Snap the Whip." (Homer's famed genre work of boys playing outside a one-room school house, is an iconic painting that has been the centerpiece of the Butler's collection since the Institute's founding in 1919.) "Mumble the Peg" was previously owned by the late Sherman Lee (1918-2008), longtime director of The Cleveland Museum of Art (Ohio).
According to Butler Director and Chief Curator, Dr. Louis Zona, "This painting is a most wonderful addition the museum's prestigious collection. It is a complement to 'Snap the Whip,' painted in 1872 before Wood's painting, and both works are great examples of American 19th Century genre painting. Both parallel the writings of the period by American master, author Mark Twain (1835-1910)."
"Mumble the Peg" depicts three young boys engaged in the popular pastime of tossing a jack knife so that its blade sticks firmly in the ground. At the left, a boy with jack knife in hand, takes his turn while the others watch intently. The informality and naturalness of their poses reveals the influence of Wood's mentor, Thomas Eakins (1844-1916).
James Longacre Wood was best-known as a genre and portrait painter. (The term genre is used to describe works that represent ordinary people engaged in everyday activities.) He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and later the Art Students' League of Pennsylvania. In 1887, he arrived in Paris where he was a student of Jean-Léon Gérome at the École des Beaux-Arts. Upon his return to America, he became an instructor at the Drexel Institute, where he remained until 1905. His work was included in exhibitions of note, including those at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and at the Art Institute of Chicago. Wood died in Philadelphia in 1938.
"Mumble the Peg" was purchased by the Butler Institute with funds earmarked for the acquisition of historic art works, donated by the late Max Draime and Cecile M. Draime in 1997. The work will be installed in the Butler's Cushwa Gallery, near other works of the era including Homer's "Snap the Whip." For further information, contact Kathryn Earnhart, 330.743.1107, ext. 123.
Butler Art Museum Acquires Pierre Soulages Mural
July 2010 (Youngstown) – Pierre Soulages (born 1919), an internationally renowned artist of French origin, has a worldwide following. Recently, the Pompidou Centre in Paris hosted a retrospective of work by Frances famed “painter of black,” drawing from collections around the globe to honor Soulages, a French cultural icon. In 1968, Pierre Soulages created a site-specific tile mural commissioned by the owners of One Oliver Plaza, a building in Pittsburgh. In the spring of 2009, the Oliver building was sold and the new owners planned to remove the 14 x 20 foot mural, composed of 294 individual, hand-formed ceramic tiles.
This masterwork, unveiled in Pittsburgh in May of 1968, was offered to art museums and organizations there; none were willing to undertake the difficult removal of the work. The Director and Board of the Butler Institute accepted the work as a gift from the new owners of the Oliver building, and removed the delicate tile mural in an intensive ten-day time period. The monumental project was accomplished through the dedicated work of Michigan tile restoration expert, Larry Mobley, directed by retired engineer and Butler Board of Trustees President, Vincent Bacon.
This extraordinary work (now in storage and undergoing fine art conservation) will be reinstalled in a glass-fronted room, created specifically for the massive piece. Designed by Bart Gilmore of Cortland, Ohio, the “Soulages Gallery” will be constructed at the Institute's Trumbull branch, located in Howland Township. (A Butler satellite facility founded in 1996, the Trumbull branch mission includes the display of works by internationally acclaimed artists that inform and inspire American artists.) The Soulages mural, titled “14 May, 1968,” will be featured in this new gallery, and will be accessible for public viewing night and day, free of charge. (This work is set to be unveiled at the Butler'sTrumbull branch in 2010.)
Contributions to support this project include; a grant from the Warren Area Chamber Education, Civic and Cultural Foundation (Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber), a gift from the family of Ray Travaglini, Foundation Medici and a grant from the Trumbull County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Additional funds are being sought to assist with this effort. For information and/or to contribute, contact the Butler Institute, 330.743.1107, ext. 123.
The Butler Institute of American Art has announced the publication of its second major art history volume highlighting the museum’s renowned permanent collection.
July 2010 (Youngstown) – Masterworks from The Butler Institute of American Art, a three year effort by Butler staff, contains full color reproductions of one hundred sixty of Butler's most beloved works. Recent acquisitions, including the Butler's new Jackson Pollock and Norman Rockwell paintings, are included in this stunning, 416 page volume, printed in the USA by City Printing Company of Youngstown. Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the Pollock Personal Foundation of Youngstown, and many other generous contributors, this catalogue is a beautiful reflection of the historic Butler Institute, a source of pride for our Ohio community since its founding in 1919.
Designed by art catalogue designer David Hayes (Oneonta, New York) and exquisitely produced utilizing high definition digital photographs taken by Joseph P. Rudinec (Boardman, Ohio), each Butler image is accompanied by a scholarly essay by art authorities from around the globe.
Masterworks from The Butler Institute of American Art is available for purchase exclusively in the Museum Gift Shop in Youngstown. Download a .pdf order form for this book.
Thanks to the generosity of Flora B. Giffuni of New York City, the Butler Institute in Youngstown features a permanent gallery devoted to the display of pastels works. The Flora B. Giffuni Gallery of American Pastel Art offers exhibitions of accomplished American artists, group shows from the Pastel Society of America, as well as the display of pastel works from the Butler's prestigious collection. Information about programs and demonstrations to highlight the Butler's Giffuni Gallery exhibition are planned by the Institute's Education Department.
The Butler's collection now exceeds 20,000 individual works, and conservation needs far exceed the funds available. Through the Institute's Adopt-a-Paining program, generous individuals help the museum meet that need by donating funds to cover the cost of painting restoration. A donation by Neita Burger and Debra Burger has resulted in cleaning and conservation of Gardner Symons' "Silence and Evening Light" , a beautiful plein-air winter scene now on view in the Butler's Watson Gallery of American Impressionism.
You, your friends and/or your company may also "adopt" a work of art from the Butler collection that is in need of conservation. To date, of the ten Butler paintings earmarked for conservation, six have received funding for restoration, and four have been conserved. Adopted paintings will carry permanent signage to acknowledge the donor or donors by name.
For further information, or to adopt a painting through a tax deductible donation to the Butler, contact Butler's registration department, Call ext. 116. or email