Montclair Art Museum

We spent Fathers’ Day visiting the Montclair Art Museum in beautiful Montclair, NJ. Yet another cool place nearby I’ve never visited before, it’s a sweet little collection of really good American paintings and sculptures.

And it’s a very manageable trip — we covered it in detail in about two hours.

The Big Show right now is the Wyeths, work by the three generations of that family, N.C., Andrew and Jamie. N.C. tended to be more of an illustrator — which he was great at — with occasional forays into standalone works.

Andrew we’re all familiar with, though LF and I were blown away by the quality of his watercolors. Reproductions don’t do them any justice so I’m not even going to look for any. It’s all about the subtleties, and reducing them down to screen size is just a waste. Jamie has gone off in another direction, though he still keeps elements of his father’s style right up front.

They’re all realists, but after a certain point — like Whistler — their abstractionists. The objects you see are almost incidental to the form and composition. That triangle could be a sailboat sail or the eaves of a house, but it’s all about the triangle in space.

Not that this makes me famous or anything, but I know personally the direct descendants of two of the artists in the permanent collection.

Another fun thing was learning how many of the Hudson Valley school painters had roots in this area. Maplewood, Montclair, and even Newark back when it was a farming community. Here’s Maplewood homeboy Asher Durand, whom of course we already knew about.

Similar...  Inland Empire

Well worth the trip.

Down in the auditorium was a piano recital by a group of 10-15 year-olds. We caught three of them, a girl no more than 10 knocking out a set of Rachmaninoff variations — really good — a couple of young teenagers doing a four-hands version of one of Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances — pretty good but how could they not be smiling at the end of such a fun piece? — and another girl doing the Brahms A Major Intermezzo, one of my favorite piano works.

[googleMap name=”Montclair Art Museum” width=”440″]3 S Mountain Ave Montclair, NJ 07042[/googleMap]

2 thoughts on “Montclair Art Museum”

  1. Great review, especially because you are clearly knowledgeable about art, yet don’t talk down to (or worse, bore) with pretentious writing. Cheers! Hope you review the Cezanne show in September.

  2. Thanks, Naomi. My companion on the trip is a professional artist, and she keeps me on the straight and narrow.

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