The Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati, OH, “Wealthy collector sough escape”, December 25, 2005, page D5, illustrated: B&W
ECA Record Control Number: 11155
Record Level: Reference
Record Type: Newspaper
Article Type: Work mention
Key Title: Wealthy collector sough escape
Sub Title: -none-
Author: Sara Pearce
Publisher: The Cincinnati Enquirer
Publish Location: Cincinnati, OH
Date of Publication: December 25, 2005
Page: D5, illustrated: b&w
Source: Newspapers.com paid subscription
Description: 1 newspaper clipping
Subjects: Carlsen, Emil, 1848-1932.
Number of copies: 1
‘Wealthy collector sough escape
by Sara Pearce, Enquirer staff writer
This is life as we might like it, Dappled sunshine. Unspoiled landscapes. Beautiful men, women and children, elegantly dressed. Restful. Carefree.
And life as art collector Edwin Coupland Shaw liked it — at least on the walls of Wytchwood, his 60-acre Akron estate.
Shaw, an engineer, moved to Akron in 1893 to fix the city’s lighting system and eventually became a member of the powerful board of directors of BFGoodrich Co. His keen eye for fine art is evident in American Impressions: An Arcardian Vision, a new exhibit at the Taft Museum of Art dominated by works that Shaw bequeathed to the Akron Art Institute, the predecessor of the Akron Art Museum.
The exhibit starts with realists and ends with Impressionists. It includes landscapes, portraits, still lifes — and its title’s allusion to Greece’s pastoral Arcadia suits it.
“It really is about presenting a bucolic vision of America,” says Kathryn Wat, the Akron Art Museum’s curator of exhibitions. “Ironically, the rural imagery and idyllic images of women are very much removed from the Rubber Capital of the World in the early 20th century.”
Akron’s moneyed art collectors, she says, sought imagery of places they didn’t see every day: seascapes, such as Paul Dougherty’s dramatic “Foam Lace” (1910-15) with its frothy waves crashing against a rocky shore, and landscapes, such as Frederick Childe Hassam’s vibrant “Bedford Hills” (1908) in which a stream runs past leafy trees and grassy fields under a blue sky dotted with clouds.
The dominant impulse in American painting in the early 20th century was the familiar, says Lynne Ambrosini, the Taft’s chief curator. “By and large, there was a preference for images of beautiful American landscape, attractive personalities as portrait sitters and still lives.”
Americans, she adds, had a vision of inhabiting a natural paradise, “a fantastic continental landscape and in a pre-photographic age, they wanted portraits of their nearest and dearest — people they could admire and recognize.”
There was a decided lack of interest in social commentary. “There were artist doing that,” Ambrosini says, “but these Akron rubber executives did not collect that kind of art.
“What you see in this exhibit is what was collected if you were well-to-do and living in the Midwest and wanted art to make you feel happy. …It is just as interesting for what it leaves out.”
Shaw was an avid and serious collector who documented his collection in 22 notebooks and created scrapbooks of his art-related correspondence.
“He was an amazingly independent collector,” says Wat. “He read voraciously and knew who was who and who was hot.”
Paintings by George Inness, William Merritt Chase and Cincinnatians John Henry Twachtman and Frank Duveneck are in the collection.
Ambrosini describes the collection as rich in color, “exciting to the senses, poetic and relaxing.”
She says the works fell into three neat categories, which is how she organized the exhibit: older artists working in the European realist tradition; emotionally charged abstract tonalists; and American Impressionists.
“This is the flowering of American art,” shw saus of the Impressionists. “They are lyrical, celebratory paintings of great delicate beauty that create a lovely climax for the exhibit.”‘
WORKS BY EMIL CARLSEN
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Record Birth Date:
June 24, 2016
June 8, 2017