Monthly Archives: August 2011

First Friday Trunk Shows at the Museum Store

By Sally Struever
Museum Store Manager

This Friday during September’s First Friday Art Walk, we are excited to feature AU Bags in the Museum Store as part of our ongoing series of First Friday Trunk Shows. We want to give you the opportunity to meet the artists, designers, and craftspeople, who are featured in the Store and to see the full spectrum of their work.

Located in Portland, AU Bags makes a variety of totes, daybags, weekender, and toiletry bags. Local designer Erin Flett designed many of the surface patterns on the bags—including Maine coast inspired patterns Island Edge and Worn Current, both sold in the Store.

Owner John Milburn will be here with LOTS of bags, including some that we don’t always sell in the Museum Store! For a sampling of AU, Bags currently available at the Store, check out the products online.

Upcoming Trunk Shows include South Street Linen (October), Mia Kanazawa and her amazing felted puppets, Tandem Glass, and CHART Metalworks. This is a great opportunity to meet these talented and local vendors in person!

Herb & Dorothy: You Can’t Spell Heart Without Art

By Caitlin Brooke
Marketing and Public Relations Assistant

“If you’re rich, it’s easy to start a collection. But if you need your paycheck to pay the rent and phone bill, and you want to collect, you’ve got to depend on instinct. What you feel in your head and heart. Wits and guts.”  —Herbert Vogel, 1992

“I think knowing the artists adds another dimension because you get to really know the work a lot better. You understand it better, and you see things through their eyes.” —Dorothy Vogel, 1994

Last week, the Museum opened The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Maine, an exhibition not only of a visionary collection, but also a compelling story of two ordinary people who, driven by an unyielding passion for art, developed one of the most important contemporary art collections in the country.

Herbert Vogel spent most of his working life as a postman and Dorothy Vogel was a reference librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library. Setting their collecting priorities above those of personal comfort, the couple devoted Herbert’s salary to the acquisition of contemporary art. Devoting all of Herb’s salary to purchase art they liked, and living on Dorothy’s paycheck alone, they continued collecting artworks guided by two rules: the piece had to be affordable, and it had to be small enough to fit in their one-bedroom Manhattan apartment. What they may have lacked in material wealth was more than matched by their knowledge and passion for art, their delight in discovering new work, and their commitment to particular artists whose work moved them.

In 1992, the Vogels decided to give most of their collection to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. The sheer size of the gift, which included 2,500 drawings, paintings, objects, prints, and photographs by 177 artists, led to the development of a program in which the National Gallery would distribute 50 works from the collection to one institution in each of the 50 states. Thankfully, the Portland Museum of Art is the Maine recipient of The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States gift.

Learn more about the Vogels from this article in The Washington Post.

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In the Studio: Winslow Homer and Yourspace

By Julia Einstein
Coordinator of Youth and Family Programs

I’m pleased to present a view into the studio practice of Savannah Walz, Josephine Luka, and Julie Orrego, our Yourspace Summer Interns from Deering High School, Casco Bay High School, and Portland High School. Yourspace, a three-week studio art and Museum summer internship program, provides six of Portland’s most talented young artists at Deering High School, Casco Bay High School, and Portland High School with access to the renowned works of art at Portland Museum of Art, experience with professional art educators, intensive art-making, and a paid internship to help prepare them for their futures.

A Closer Look at Winslow Homer
By Josephine Luka, Deering High School

Before coming to the Portland Museum of Art, I had absolutely no idea who Winslow Homer was. It was a surprise to me when, after our second session at the Museum, Julia Einstein (Coordinator of Youth and Family Programs) and Dana Baldwin (Director of Education) took our group to the Winslow Homer Gallery to talk about some of the artist’s paintings. When Dana asked us to look at Winslow Homer’s painting Weatherbeaten for a few minutes and list some of the stuff we noticed, I thought, “Oh, this should be easy.” After about two minutes passed, I had no idea what to write. Another minute passed and I still had nothing written down on my paper. So, I decided to take an even closer look at the painting. At last, I began to notice and write about the ocean in the painting. It isn’t just one tone of blue, but many shades. I started to notice how the sky wasn’t gray as I thought before, but a purplish pinkish color. I noted how jagged Homer’s rocks are in comparison to seascape paintings I’d seen by other artists. Surprisingly, when about five minutes passed and Dana called for our attention, I was sad because I was beginning to find the details in Homer’s painting. Sharing as a group, most of us spoke about either the paint or the jagged rocks and some didn’t really have much to say. Julia spoke about a little yellow triangle of paint at the bottom of the painting and called our attention to it. Homer’s little yellow triangle reminded me of Japanese artist, Hokusai, who always paints Mt. Fuji in all his paintings as a tribute to Japan.

Following Homer’s Footsteps
By Savannah Walz, Casco Bay High School

As we all sat around Winslow Homer’s painting, Weatherbeaten, it gave me a chance to really see it differently. I looked at the waves and thought about the colors I hadn’t noticed before. I also got a chance to hear other people’s opinions and thoughts on the painting. Julie (Orreggo, Portland High School) mentioned the color of the jagged rocks and how rich it was. I couldn’t help but agree with her. Cleo (Barker, Deering High School) talked about the color of the sky and how realistic it was. When Cleo said that it just made me wonder: How many times Homer must have watched the ocean and those rocks to get that color? How much did he study this spot before making this painting? He must have studied the spot quite often to get the feel. Later in the day we visited Homer’s studio. I thought it was cool for me to see the place where so many famous paintings were made. There was something very cool about walking the same steps he did. When I was there, I wondered what it looked like when he was still alive. How did he set it up? Did he keep it neat or was it really messy? Studying Homer’s work gave me a chance to see what kind of artist he was. In a way, Homer gave me inspiration. Looking at his work really helped me grow as an artist.

Recreating the Wave
By Julie Oreggo, Portland High School
When I had the chance to experiment with paint, I was eager to recreate Winslow Homer’s wave. Want to know why? I was eager because I wanted to capture the blue of the waves and the pink of the sky. That’s right, there is pink in the grey sky! Want to know what was the hardest thing to do? It was making the blue fade into the pink. I found out it isn’t as hard to show brush strokes with acrylic paint as compared to when I used watercolor paint. I experimented with techniques as I dragged my brush from the blue of the wave across the whole painting. When I was done, I felt like I did a good job, but I could’ve blended the colors much better and probably could’ve used a darker pink for the sky.