An Afternoon at the Joslyn

I’m a big fan of the Denver Art Museum.  At least, the old building, and the stuff inside the new building.  The inside of the new building itself gives me vertigo.

Which is partly why I like the Joslyn so much.

That’s a painting celebrating a 1717 Venetian naval victory over the heathen Turk on the far side of the room. The artist actually put a key to all the ships on the painting itself. It’s a little jarring, that mixing of art and military history handbook, though.

For another thing, the sculpture garden features art that doesn’t look like the shavings from an 8th-grade metal shop class.  This is supposed to be reminiscent of the Missouri river.  It seems to be mostly fed by rainwater, but it does have the added realistic feature of overflowing its banks:

Then there’s this brass work by Tom Otterman.  Whimsical enough from the front:

With an added bonus on the back:

The museum is currently running an exhibit of Currier and Ives plates.  Y0u know them from the winter, Christmas scenes of sleds, sleighs, and snow.  They also did a nice job with some of the southern plantations and Mississippi river boats.  The farther west they got, though, the more fantastical the scenes become:

That last one looks like it’s halfway from typical C&I realism to this:

They also have Grant Wood’s Stone City, Iowa.

I have to confess, I’m a complete sucker for 1930’s WPA modern-realist stuff.

Compare the following two sculptures of riders and horses. The first, the cowboy, is a Remington. The second, a Sioux warrior, is a 1930s piece by a sculptor named Brcin, and is the model of a multi-lize-sized piece out in the sculpture garden.

The Remington’s masters technical detail. But I have to confess, the Brcin captures motion and action better, I think.

The museum isn’t all that big, but they have some very nice pieces, from a lot of different times and styles. They have a number from Gerome, a 19th Century French painter who specialized in the Middle East and India. This one is so realistic, it looks almost photographic.

Gerome, The Grief of the Pasha

I know just how you fell, bud.

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