by Stephanie Cassidy | August 10, 2020
Edmond Rochat’s portrait of the architectural historian and critic, Henry Hope Reed, appears in a reissue of Reed’s The Golden City. The book, first published in 1959, offers a “powerful polemic” that helped spur the passage of New York City’s Landmark Law of 1965, “one of the most important milestones in the preservation movement in the United States.”
Instructor Emerita Cornelia Foss has a solo exhibition of recent work opening August 22 at MM Fine Art (Southampton, NY). The show, which includes the painterly Sagg Beach, continues through September 6, 2020.
Wendy Shalen collaborated with fellow artist Celia Wedding on “Personalizing Your Sketchbooks,” an article published in the June 2020 issue of Watercolor Artist.
Bruce Dorfman is participating in an oral history project for the Norton Museum of Art (FL), describing his tenure as their school’s Guest Artist in Residence, 1962–64.
A one-hour instructional plein-air demonstration by Jerry Weiss, “Summer Greens: Starting a Plein Air with Jerry Weiss,” is now available for purchase from the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts.
This summer, Greg Wyatt, National Sculpture Society Fellow and Education Chair, organized and led a five-day workshop outside the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in upper Manhattan. At the event, co-sponsored with Jeffrey Spring of Modern Art Foundry, emerging artists received specialized instruction from sculpture professionals in an outdoor workshop setting surrounding the Peace Fountain on the Cathedral grounds. Three League students, Kristina Kossi, Jeanette Farrow, and Francis Nguyen, were scholarship participants in the program.
“Jack Faragasso: I Have Always Tried to Make My Paintings Have Feeling” is an in-depth interview with the ninety-one-year-old Instructor Emeritus posted on The Rebel Taste. Faragasso discusses the influence of League instructors Frank J. Reilly and Frank Vincent DuMond, photographing 1950s pinup Bettie Page, and creating cover art for mass market paperbacks. The post also includes a video and four digital galleries that offer a well-rounded survey of Faragasso’s portraits and landscapes as well as his covers for science fiction and romance titles. In addition, Faragasso’s Mastering Drawing the Human Figure: From Life, Memory, and Imagination has just been reissued by Dover Press.
Yasumitsu Morito is one of thirty-eight artists represented in Recent Works by Elected Sculptor Members, a digital exhibition on the National Sculpture Society website. The online gallery features pieces in the round and in relief, bronzes fresh from the foundry, and designs for sculptures yet to be realized. In addition to Morito’s ceramic Untitled (Mother and Child on Cloud) is a watercolor by Instructor Emeritus Richard Barnet.
Robert Cenedella is participating in this year’s Hamptons Virtual Art Fair. See his Untitled Number 8 and other works in Robert Cenedella Contemporary Art’s Online Viewing Room.
Dean Hartung is currently at work on mural designs for a yet-to-be-built New Jersey Transit station.
Manhattan Chief of Recreation Kim McNeal dropped in on a Seeds of the League workshop at the Jacob H. Schiff Playground in Harlem on July 30 where Seeds instructor Ian Gabriel was teaching a lesson on how to create monochrome landscapes in watercolor. McNeal expressed her thanks to Board President Robin Frank and Director of Community Programs Denise Greene for the ongoing collaboration with Seeds. As NYC Park’s sole visual arts partner, Seeds of the League brings high-quality art instruction into low-income neighborhoods where few or no visual art activities are offered. Seeds workshops are happening in parks across all five boroughs this summer. Find out more about upcoming Seeds workshops in NYC Parks and Seeds of the League scholarships for high school students.
“Squalid, dark, stuffy little rooms not fit for self-respecting young men and women to be herded together in” is how one writer described the Art Students League’s third residence, known as the Sohmer Building. The League moved into this former pianoforte factory in 1887, remodeling its top two floors to accommodate around 500 students. Consider how this nondescript utilitarian structure compared to the picturesque and dignified building of its nearby rival, the National Academy of Design. Theirs featured a “polychromatic herringbone brick and Gothic tracery drawn from the Doge’s Palace in Venice.” Its interiors were spacious, museum-like, and far less crowded.
Charles Courtney Curran’s An Alcove in the Art Students League offers a glimpse inside of the Sohmer, one of only a few visual records of the League in that space that survives. (The building was demolished in 1927.) A commissioned illustration, Curran’s painting was copied as a wood engraving by Jones Engber and then published as part of an article about art students in New York.
Curran draws the viewer’s attention to the center of the canvas where an archway frames a view of art students crowded into a studio. They are seated and standing, men and women side by side, illuminated by a skylight. Which class they were working in is unknown. But we can infer that it was not a life drawing class, since in this period, study from the nude was segregated by sex. It might have been an antique class or costume class, where students drew from a clothed model. In the painting’s dark foreground, assorted casts are silhouetted in profile, resting atop low painting racks, as two women draw from them. Within a canvas the size of a sheet of copy paper, Curran rendered fifteen students and eight casts, in addition to other details of the tightly-packed space: a makeshift partition separating one studio from another, a box of charcoal resting on a stool, framed reproductions hung around the archway.
When Curran returned to the Art Students League, in 1901, to teach drawing, the school had relocated to the American Fine Art Society building on West 57th Street, a larger, better-appointed quarters, though still guided by a spirit of improvisation.