Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Encounter: Gilcrease Museum

The home of Thomas Gilcrease

Living in rural areas as I do, I don't get to museums very often.  When I do, I want to make sure it's an exceptional one.  The Gilcrease Museum was on my punch list, so on our cross-country trip to Arizona, we decided to stop in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for an extra day to see its fine collection.

Tulsa is a town we've passed through many times on the Interstate.  It's always been a blur as we zip by, and we've always thought of it as just another oil town with all the compounded grittiness that accompanies the cycle of boom and bust.  But we discovered a pleasant little cottage to stay in among several blocks of quaint Craftsman-era houses, and we see now that there's a lot to this town.

The Gilcrease is a gem.  Founded by Thomas Gilcrease early in the last century after making his own millions in oil, it houses his vast collection of paintings, sculpture, rare books and maps.  Now managed by the City of Tulsa and the University of Tulsa in a partnership, the museum has expanded to include an excellent restaurant, outdoors gardens and more. Today, the museum is noted for its strong collection of Western art.

I took a few photos (by permission, of course) of some of my favorites at the museum.  There was much more, and many pieces weren't available for photography, but here are a few I can offer to you with a few notes. I don't remember the titles of all the pieces, but that's probably not important, anyway.

Portrait of Thomas Moran by William Merritt Chase
Moran and Chase have always been two of my favorites painters,
and it's nice to see Chase's vision of Moran

A view of the Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico by Thomas Moran
I lived not too far from here at one time
A Shinnecook scene by Chase

In this detail shot, you can see how Chase added the figures after painting the beach
A nocturne by Whistler

Detail of above. Whistler's brush work in the water is oh-so-subtle
Nocturne by Frederic Remington
There were several nocturnes at the museum, and it was interesting to see how
different artists handled night scenes with respect to color choices

Another nocturne, not by Remington.  I can't remember this artist.  His color is
really just daytime color that has been darkened.  It's not as effective as the Remington above,
in which the artist shifts the light to a cool blue-green.

Another nocturne by Remington, using a similar color-shifted palette.
As I said, there were many beautiful paintings here, and this is just a sampling.

If you haven't heard, the Sedona Plein Air Festival begins this weekend, and I am one of 14 invited landscape artists to participate.  I hope you'll stop by during the event.  Details are at www.SedonaPleinAirFestival.com.  And if you're a painter, please don't forget that I am offering plein air painting workshops in Sedona this winter and spring!  Details for that are at www.PaintSedona.com

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