Written by Caitlyn Cooney, Curatorial Intern
One of the best approaches to understanding historical events and time periods is to study the art from it. Art, through time, does not only stand as an object from a different era or a depiction of what the artistic tastes were at the time, but also collects a history of its own through the many relationships viewers create with it.
The American Impressionist and Hudson River School movements of the late 19th century through the early 20th century capture a moment of inspiration, emotion, and creativity an individual in their sublime color palettes and impactful scenery. They simultaneously represent a moment for the artist and continue to create moments for the viewers. This collection of viewers’ reactions and relationships with the various pieces of art is the very reason why David and Elaine Strickland collect. Elaine states, “When you look at these works, you can step back in time to see what the painter saw and felt in that moment.” Mr. Strickland, a history major in college, agrees, and says, “Many of these paintings are nearly 160 years old. They’ve been hanging on a lot of walls. There is a lot of history there. It is like an onion; you can peel back the layers as far as you want to go, and now, I just want to keep learning.”
Many of the works in the Strickland’s collection are there not only because they value the relationship they have with the piece, but also because they value each moment they are able to view it. Mrs. Strickland goes on to say, “You get a peaceful feeling when you look at them. We’re so fortunate that we can stop, look, and enjoy them at our leisure.” Their painting titled Palazzo Labia and San Geremia, Venice by John Singer Sargent exhibited within Collectors’ Choice is not only an example of their tastes, but also an ode to the artistic era in general. Sargent was a well-known painter of the period, having received strict academic training as an artist, yet was encouraged by his teachers to execute his work with immediacy and rapidity, disapproving of any re-working. His “in the moment” style reflects his emotional, sublime impression of the scene, featuring loose brushwork and a luminescent color palette.
Mr. and Mrs. Strickland’s collection not only reflects their artistic tastes, but their overall philosophy about life. Mrs. Strickland states, “How often in today’s world do we get a chance to just stop and enjoy? We love to share that opportunity with people.”
The exhibition Collectors’ Choice: Inside the Hearts and Minds of Regional Collectors will be on view until September 14th, 2014.
For more information, please visit The Cummer’s website at http://www.cummer.org/