Monthly Archives: January 2013

February and Families in the Galleries

By Julia Einstein, Assistant Director of Family and Studio Learning

School vacation week is the perfect time for families to discover new adventures in their own backyard. From Neo-Classicial sculptures to Impressionist paintings of Europe, let the PMA take your family on a worldly tour—all without leaving the museum!

Family Voices Cell Phone Tour
To get the most out of your family’s visit, make sure you have your cellphone with you! With a quick call, you and your child can listen to audio tours of other children with their parents discussing works in the museum’s collection. Designed to encourage you and your family into the conversation. Bring art to life and dial in some fun!

Stop and Look Stations
Stop and Look Stations, encourage your child to take the lead! Located throughout the galleries, each station is equipped with audio iPods, cards with questions and facts about artwork, and interactive learning tools. Families with children of all ages will experience an array of perspectives for a variety of learning styles. Enjoy a take-away card to continue the conversation at home.

PMA Family Space
This brand new activity room is located in the Federal-era McLellan House. Throughout the year, different artists will curate new, artful activities for you family in the space. Draw a family portrait or sit at the writing desk and share your museum experience. Look at art, read, draw, and play together!

PMA Café
A clean plate is the best kind of happy meal! We’ve added new, kid-friendly items to our menu for a delicious break from your museum visit. Peanut butter and jelly, ham and cheese, spaghetti and meatballs, and macaroni and cheese are great options for lunch, while we also have apples with peanut butter, Stonyfield yogurt, and Aurora Provision’s snack mix for a lighter treat. Questions about the menu or an item you’d like to see? Ask our staff, we’re happy to help however we can!

A Fresh Look

By Vanessa Nesvig

Recently, we received an email from a patron who noticed something incredible about a work in our collection. The painting, titled John Calvin Stevens (1855-1940) by Portland native Claude Montgomery, is a portrait of the Maine artist and architect and is currently on view in our exhibition The Portland Society of Art and Winslow Homer’s Legacy in Maine. In the portrait, John Calvin Stevens is shown seated in an elegant interior decorated with a small landscape painting in the background to the left of the mantel. This painting-within-a-painting was originally assumed to represent a work by Stevens based on his involvement with the Portland-based painting group The Brush’uns and his dedication to the city’s artistic life.

Now, thanks to the keen eye of a visitor, we realize that this landscape image is not of a painting by John Calvin Stevens but, rather, is the iconic painting The Artist’s Studio in an Afternoon Fog by Winslow Homer. Homer’s composition is recognizable by the dark shapes, the glistening of light off of the water, and the halo around the sun—definitive characteristics apparent in the landscape near the mantel.

In 1901, Homer gave The Artist’s Studio in an Afternoon Fog to Stevens who asked for “any production of Winslow Homer” as payment for architectural plans he had drawn for Kettle Cove, a cottage at Prouts Neck that Homer used as a summer rental property. (Stevens had also worked on Homer’s studio in 1884 and 1890.) In a letter to Stevens that accompanied the painting, Homer noted, “I am very much surprised and pleased at your bill. This kind of thing occurs seldom in matters of business . . . I can greet you as a brother artist and thank you sincerely. I send you this sketch of mine that I think is appropriate and will please you.”1

1 Earle G. Shettleworth Jr. and William David Barry, “Brother Artists,” Bowdoin, Fall 1988: 18.

Image credits: (Top to bottom) Claude Montgomery, “John Calvin Stevens (1855-1940),” 1935, oil on canvas, 40 x 32 1/2 inches. Gift of the artist.; Winslow Homer, “The Artist’s Studio in an Afternoon Fog,” 1894, oil on canvas, 24 x 30 1/4 inches. Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester; R.T. Miller Fund.

Artists’ Studios: Lois Dodd

In our Artists’ Studios series four artists talk about how their studio and sense of place affect their work, and what Maine means to them.

American painter Lois Dodd began her career in New York during the postwar art scene and was the only female founding member of Tanager Gallery, one of the 10th Street Cooperatives. During the summers, Dodd migrated to mid-coast Maine along with her many of contemporaries, including Alex Katz and Neil Welliver, to create work inspired by the rich character and natural beauty of the region.

Lois Dodd’s first museum retrospective, Lois Dodd: Catching the Light, will be on view at the PMA from January 17 through April 7.

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