Reality Check: Judgement Calls

On August 24 Amanda Shepard, FWMoA COO, was privileged to judge the purchase prizes for the Kekionga Plein Air Paint Out. Though we all make private judgements of art, the stakes go up when we in the art world must select public winners from a group of highly competent artists. But who is Amanda to judge? Find out why she picked what she did, and the methods she taps into for coming to her conclusions in this "Reality Check".

Eric Kuhne & Headwaters Park

Ever gone to Middle Waves? What about Rib Fest? Or maybe German Fest? Or gone ice skating in the winter months? Headwaters Park is a mainstay in Fort Wayne events, big and small! Collection Information Specialist Suzanne Slick highlights the architect behind this beloved green space, Eric Kuhne. Read on to learn more about this local park.

Off the Cuff: We Love Art More than We Know

What artworks do you love? What artworks make you feel happy in your space? President and CEO Charles Shepard discusses our love of stuff, in particular, our visual stuff: from our kids fridge art to prints by well-known artists to what we find in a gallery or museum.

Off the Cuff: Folk Artist Howard Finster

Throughout my career I’ve been blessed with friendships with some of the most interesting people in the art world.  One of the most fascinating was the self-taught folk artist Howard Finster. I was a myopic art historian in training when I first saw Howard’s work in an art magazine in the library of the Clark Art Institute.  I had no experience with “outsider art” and thought the idea that someone self-taught could actually make art was ridiculous.  Several years later, however, while spending a long weekend in Chicago browsing through the galleries of River North, I called on art dealer Carl Hammer and discovered that his entire gallery was devoted primarily to these “outsiders.” My education about folk- or outsider- art began that afternoon as Carl walked me through his back room pulling painting after painting from the racks and telling me stories about each of his artists, including Howard Finster.

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.

Treasures from the Vault: Richard Müller

Our first official installment of Treasures from the Vault features one of FWMoA’s original treasures: Snails on Rhubarb. Painted in 1919 by German painter Richard Müller, Snails on Rhubarb is a whimsical study of foliage and the critters inhabiting this small ecosystem. Scattered over several large rhubarb leaves are snails, and a frog who seems to be mid-jump. A glimpse of a pond is seen in the background, which we can imagine as the home of our amphibious friend, his gastropod companions, and other creatures out of sight.