Sunday, July 8, 2012

Day Trip, Philadelphia, July 6, 2012

It was 95 degrees in Philadelphia on Friday, but the humidity must have been low. It was a bright, cloud-free day, and perfectly comfortable, even walking the tree-less blocks between the Reading Terminal Market and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
Angelo Pinto, Morocco, 1932-37

PAFA and Dr. Barnes was in its last three days at the Academy. According to curator Robert Cozzolino, Barnes first showed works from his European collection there in 1923.  Included in the PAFA’s show were two works by Angelo Pinto, a large version of Amusement Park, 1935, and a related, smaller study. It’s always great to visit that wonderful 1876 building, and, their Isabel Bishop, Young Woman, 1937, was also on view.

Barnes Foundation, July 6, 2012

We made a quick trip to the Philadelphia Museum and managed to see Visions of Arcadia as well as the smaller shows of work by Rockwell Kent and Benton Spruance.  The Arcadia show was a good preview to The Barnes Foundation in its new location on Benjamin Franklin Parkway.  The Cezannes, Henri Rousseaus, Matisses, and Picassos, were all fine, but for my taste, the Gauguins stole both shows.

Hugh Mesibov, Girl in Armchair, 1947

Of course, we were anxious to see Hugh Mesibov’s and Angelo Pinto’s works at the Barnes.   They have Mesibov’s, Byzantine Figure, 1945-46, very like our Girl in Armchair, 1947.

Angelo Pinto, Industrial Scene, 1945

Acquiring nine works by Angelo Pinto, Barnes also hired Pinto to teach at the Foundation and also to take on the job of photographing the collection. Our Morocco, 1932-37 comes close to paintings at the Barnes, and our Industrial Scene, about 1945, has some of the sharp detail of the Pinto’s reverse paintings on glass of which the Barnes has several.  It’s startling to come upon them.  The small 7 x 10 format and solid, clear colors, make for arresting images that range from surrealism to picturesque charm. 

The installation is admired for keeping the spirit of the original building and I think it does – quite well.  The mix of periods, mediums, nationalities, and fine and decorative pieces is always a wonder and seems to work better than ever.