Art Term Tuesday: Murrini

When you walk into the 46th International Glass Invitational Award Winners exhibition here at FWMoA, it’s likely that your eye will be immediately drawn to a pair of large, brightly-colored pieces standing in one of the gallery’s corners. These works by American glass artist Stephen Powell have playful, enigmatic titles, and, with their size and thinly curved structures, seem to be part-sculpture, part-architectural element.

Docent Dialogue: The Marvelous Ms. Marlene

With the start of the school year also comes the start of our docent training for the year. What better time to get to know another of our wonderful docents, Marlene Cooper! Marlene’s enthusiasm for and love of art is infectious. Read on, and watch a short interview, to see why FWMoA is her happy place and the children she gives tours to are her favorite people.

Off the Cuff: Fort Wayne’s Past in a Portrait

Whoever is shown in this painting, parts of it were painted well and parts of it show a great lack of skill or a disinterest in accurately depicting parts of the picture. This painting was commissioned to local painter Horace Rockwell, who made a modest living in the business of commercial portraiture and occasionally executed nearly life-sized family portraits like that of the Hanna family. Rockwell, exercising the style of the time that people should be depicted naturally and without idealization, paid special attention to the faces of the Hanna family and rather skillfully shows how these people probably looked in real life. Ironically, the bodies of these people look quite unnatural, lacking anatomically correct bone structure and proportion. Feet look more like wooden wedges, shoulders slump like shapeless sacks of flour, and the youngest Hanna in the portrait is shown to have only four toes.  Rockwell has problems with his composition as well. An empty spot in the middle of the painting leaves an awkward division between the sitters, and almost no attention is paid to the background, which the artist has chosen to resolve by painting it a flat brown with no clue to tell us where this family is sitting.

Winslow Homer takes FWMoA Back to School

It’s that time of year again: Back to School! While students of all ages cling to their final vestiges of freedom, we at FWMoA welcome this time of year. It’s when our galleries fill up again with tour groups and brighten our days. I was one of those kids excited to go back to school—I could learn and see my friends? Yes, please! I can see you shaking your head and smiling about how that eager little girl ended up in a museum (where she can now learn literally every day of the year) but I’m not the only one! There are artists who look back on school days with fondness, and one of them is on display just in time for the school year to start: Winslow Homer.

Art Term Tuesday: Engraving

“Winslow Homer: From Poetry to Fiction” opened at the museum on July 28, celebrating the engraved works of one of America’s most famous artists. Winslow Homer, a mostly self-taught artist of the 19th century, is well-known for his paintings and watercolors of American life and marine seascapes. However, Homer also created many engravings for Harper’s Weekly before his painting career took off, and a selection of those engravings are on view at FWMoA now. In honor of this exhibit, let’s explore what an “engraving” is in today’s Art Term Tuesday.

Treasures from the Vault: Robert Stackhouse

Over the course of his 30+ year career, Stackhouse has refined his style. He almost exclusively crafts around the forms of ships and snakes, believing that a great artist doesn’t need an abundance of new information. He’s found what works for him, and if it’s not broken, he doesn’t plan on fixing it.

Treasures from the Vault: Polaroid Pictures

Today, we are more accustomed to posting digital images on social media than printing photographs and putting them in albums.  Recently, companies like Polaroid and Fujifilm have manufactured a line of retro looking cameras, like the Fujifilm Instax Mini, that produce prints almost immediately without the need for a darkroom.  Perhaps it is a mixture of nostalgia and novelty that has caused a resurgence in popularity with these instant print cameras.  

Art Term Tuesday: Macchia

A trio of vibrant, eye-catching glass sculptures from the FWMoA permanent collection have recently been put on display in the museum's Karl S. and Ella L. Bolander Gallery. These large, multihued vessels--featuring undulating rims and exteriors spotted with bright pops of color--are from renowned studio glass artist Dale Chihuly's Macchia series. Once you've taken in the visual brilliance of these works, though, you may find yourself wondering: What exactly is a "macchia?" It is an Italian word--derived from the Latin macula--that means "stain," "spot," or "speck;" it can also be used in reference to Mediterranean shrubland. (For the coffee lovers out there: Yep, it is also related to the drink called caffè macchiato, which could be translated as "coffee stained or spotted (with milk).") Looking at how these sculptures are "specked" or "stained" with color, it's possible to understand why Chihuly named this series Macchia. But is there anything more to the word beyond this, especially in relation to art history and technique?