…by Anura Guruge
Yesterday we visited the Currier and had a wonderful museum experience. It is a small collection, but they have some outstanding works (by the likes of Monet, Constable, Degas, Picasso, Edwin Church, Homer, O’Keeffe, Wyeth), very well presented in a tranquil, conducive setting. I had been to the Currier before, but that was about 6 years ago. I was suitably impressed on that visit too. Since then they have done some major renovation. I had remembered the ‘man with a hat’, the Gossart, from my prior visit. I was looking forward to seeing it. I was not disappointed. I love the way the texture and the decorations on the hat are captured. I always find Constable arresting; the brushwork is divine.
To my delight I discovered another painter, the French Emile Meyer, of amusing cardinal pictures to complement Francesco Brunery. There European collection, though limited, is a gem. I could spend hours just in that gallery.
My wife got a kick from seeing a Wyeth; a 1950s painting of an ol’ rowing skiff used for lobstering. She, a daughter of lobsterman, as a ’10 year’ old knew Wyeth who was a neighbor in Cushing, Maine. Wyeth used to give her quarters to buy candy. ‘Siri‘ that he often painted, c. 1970, was her Aunt by marriage. [Talking of ‘regional’ art museums I am a great fan of the Farnsworth in Rockland, ME (Wyeth’s museum so to speak) — and wish they would let me write a book about how they acquired their initial collection thanks to a little red checkbook.]
My favorite, serendipitous, find yesterday was James Aponovich, a local, still alive (5 years older than me), still-life artist. There were two of his works on display and they took my breath away. Wow. I became an instant fan. Came home and bookmarked some of his works. This was one of the two that were on display yesterday.
The bottom line here is that I strongly recommend that if you like art and want to have a glorious few hours in a quiet, airy, beautifully laid out museum think about visiting the Currier in Manchester. It is ‘inexpensive’ too — with many specials that you can find on the Web (such as two for $10, with kids always free).
In case you are wondering what experience I have of art museums, other than the Farnsworth, I will have to confess that as somebody who has lived in Paris and London, and used to bum around the worlf quite a bit since he was 14, I have done my share of museums, especially art museums. I was trying to work it out; I am sure I have visited the Lourve at least 25 times. I even used to have a 17 minute tour of the Lourve for visitors from Ceylon who wanted to say that they had ‘done the Lourve’ but didn’t want to spend too much time doing so. I was at the d’Orsay shortly after it opened. I have also toured the Hermitage. Closer to ‘home’ I visited the Getty the year it was open and go to the Met whenever I can. I once had to write an IT Case Study on MoMA and enjoyed visiting it after I had written the piece. As with the Met, I am no stranger to the museums on the Mall in D.C. Off the top of my head I also know that I have visited the key art museums in Brussels, Geneva, Albany and Boston. So, I have seen enough art museums to have some appreciation. All the best. Cheers.
P.S., I have also written a children’s book on artists, ‘Teischan’s ABC Book of Great Artists‘.