“The Red Parasol” by Frederick Milton Grant(Photo: Photo provided/Tom Shafer)

“The Red Parasol” by Frederick Milton Grant(Photo: Photo provided/Tom Shafer)

Delve into Art Museum’s permanent collection

Journal & Courier, May 14, 2015

By Tom Shafer
orieshafer@hotmail.com.

“Strong foundations are essential for the future.”

Thus begins the Art Museum of Greater Lafayette’s statement about “Foundations and Forward: Works from the Permanent Collection,” currently showing in Weil Gallery B.

For more than 100 years, the museum has been collecting art for its permanent collection and art lovers will be delighted with this small sampling from years past.

Weil Gallery B is a small room that immediately radiates a sense of calm. It is a quiet space that lends itself to extended contemplation.

Much of the work on display is from the earliest period of the museum’s collection. The artists’ subject matter in most cases is laid back and illustrates a time when people lived at a slower pace.

The tranquil landscape paintings will allow each viewer to get up close to each work and not only enjoy the subject matter, but also the elegant textured applications of each brush stroke.

Artistic appreciation and enjoyment can be achieved by taking a visual stroll through each composition, slowly observing the color changes and the artist’s use of light and shadow.

The oil painting by Louise Kelly (1879-1945) titled “Cornish Cottages” gives each viewer an actual path to follow. The artist has given us a narrow dirt footpath that edges several small thatched roofed cottages as it descends to the sea.

The small, colorful work of illustrates a sense of warmth and serenity that will allow the viewer to wander quietly through the composition.

“The Red Parasol” by Frederick Milton Grant (1886-1959) shows a crowded beach scene from the early 1900s. Unlike contemporary beach scenes where people wearing swim apparel that leaves very little to the imagination, Grant’s setting is filled with not only colorful large umbrellas and individual parasols but also women dressed in ankle length dresses with long shelves, and hats of every size and shape.

The painting is a beautiful glimpse into history on how people dressed and interacted.

On a more contemporary note the exhibit contains two abstract paintings that begin to show the collection’s complex aesthetic.

“Bacchus IX” by Abstract Expressionist Elaine de Kooning (1920-1989) and Wabash College art professor Greg Huebner’s “Search #3” separate themselves completely from the rest of this wonderful exhibit.