Arts & Entertainment

Northern Virginia Art Beat

March 11, 2007. The Walters Art Museum, 600 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD. For more information call (410) 547-9000, or see Regular Museum hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with Fridays open till 8 p.m. (Courbet shows seem to close at 5 p.m. though). Note: they WILL be open New Years Eve, and New Years Day. General Admission is, as always, Free.

Another show I’ve yet to see, but it’s definitely on my to-do list for early 2007. This companion show to the Walter’s Courbet show reminds me of another show I saw many years ago. That show dealt with the works of Albert Pinkham Ryder, at the National Museum of American Art in DC (as I recall). More than another show, of yet another artist. The Ryder show was a more true look at the artist and his work than we’re ever normally allowed to see. It included fake Ryder paintings, paintings pre-restoration. And probably the most memorable painting I’ve ever seen by any artist anywhere…. a black Ryder. You see Ryder was a notoriously obsessive odd ball who would work his canvases for years until there were layers upon layers of paint. At times refusing to release the canvases to buyers until he was ‘finished’ with it. You could write books about Ryder, and his ‘quirks’.

That Ryder show offered a glimpse of what art curators, and conservators in museums have to deal with every day. Is it a Ryder? What do we do with this one? And the like. The black Ryder really took the cake though. There it was, owned by the Metropolitan Museum of art (as I recall) an authentic Ryder. The chemicals in the various solvents and pigments had gone after each other over the years and turned the entire painting pitch black. It was in effect gone. You had nary a hint of what the painting was originally. It’s now hopelessly unrestorable, or unrestorable as far as we lay people can tell. A real lesson in archival working methods. All in all, I still think that show was probably the best art show I’ve ever seen, due to this rather revealing look at Ryder’s work.

It seems the Walter’s Art Museum has done something similar with this Courbet show. It should be a real treat to see.

While you still have time yet to see this side show, if you want to see it next to the full Courbet show, you’d better beat feet. ‘Courbet and the Modern Landscape’ closes January 7.


Artistic Opportunities —————


Target Gallery within the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria is accepting entries for ‘Roots and Branches’, which will run from March 24 through April 29. Deadline for 35 mm slide, or digital submissions on CD is 5 p.m. Wednesday January 3. ‘Roots and Branches’ will be an all media juried show dealing with ancestry, migration, and history. Up to three entries for $30. Call (703) 838-4565 extention 4, or see (you’ll have to click through to the Target Gallery) for info and downloadable entry form.