corcoran museum of art

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What does it look like to be on the set of a Spike Lee film? That’s what you can find out in the photos of his brother, David Lee, who’s been capturing moments from the making of the 2015 Honorary Oscar recipient’s features through still unit work beginning with Spike’s first feature, She’s Gotta Have It (1986), and up through 2012’s Red Hook Summer.

David Lee has been the still unit photographer for many of the key American films and television series of the modern era, including King of the Hill (1993), Far from Heaven (2002), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), American Gangster (2007), and the first season of HBO’s The Wire (2002). Work from David Lee’s fine art portfolio has been shown at the Museum of the City of New York, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. and Boston’s Photography Resource Center. David was also included in “Songs of My People,” a group show of works from 100 African American photographers that has traveled internationally.  In 2014, the Academy celebrated Lee’s work on his brother’s films in an exhibition titled “WAKE UP! An Exhibition of Still Unit Photography by David Lee.”

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Thomas Alexander Harrison     (1853-1930)

Thomas Alexander Harrison was born and raised in the Germantown area of Philadelphia. When he was a young man he spent six years working for the United States Coastal and Geodetic Society, for whom he surveyed the New England, Florida, and Pacific coastlines. This experience guided his interest in art, which began at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts for a brief period in 1872, towards marine painting, and he would become well known for his horizontal wave seascapes.

After his Survey job ended in 1877, Harrison commenced his studies in earnest, starting with the San Francisco School of Design and ending at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. In 1881 he exhibited at the Paris Salon, and also became friends with Jules Bastien-Lepage. The latter introduced Harrison to plein-aire painting, which he took to immediately and was soon recognized as the leading artist at the colony of Pont-Avon in Brittany. Though he was frequently back in the States, and an active member of arts organizations in Philadelphia and New York, he maintained his ties to Paris—where he died in 1930.

The artist won numerous prizes across the United States and in Paris. Harrison’s works can be found in prestigious institutions such as the Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago, IL; the Dallas Museum of Art in Dallas, TX; the Corcoran Gallery of Art and The White House in Washington, DC; the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Academy of Design Museum in New York, NY; and the Musee D’Orsay in Paris.

Is there a particular painting that immediately reminds you of summertime? Sanford Robinson Gifford captures a glowing view of the Acropolis in “Ruins of the Parthenon” (1880). The artist depicts the hazy atmosphere and bright sunlight of Greece during the summer months. According to the artist, the painting is “not a picture of a building, but a picture of a day.”

Sanford Robinson Gifford, “Ruins of the Parthenon,” 1880, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Corcoran Collection (Museum Purchase, Gallery Fund; Frame restoration generously funded by the Women’s Committee of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, 2009)

Hugh Bolton Jones - Twilight - 1885

Jones is best known for his paintings of the flat country of New England and New Jersey. The influence of Frederic Edwin Church and the Hudson River School shows in his handling of light and the precision of his en plein air depictions of nature. He painted the varying landscapes of each season of the year, in peaceful harmony. His subtle Barbizon-style studies drew praise, but his insistence on accuracy in his representation of nature was also criticized. His earlier paintings are lit by a clear, bright light, and sharply detailed, while his later works were more muted and lyrical. In his last decades, Jones’ work became increasingly stale, repeating the same subjects and compositions in an outdated style. Thomas B. Clarke (1848–1931) said of him in 1891;

A native painter of American landscape, who has never been touched by any fashions in art, is H. Bolton Jones. He paints Nature for herself and not for the sake of illustrating any theory as to how she might or should be painted. He studies her form, color and various characteristics, and gives us the result of his investigations in transcripts of familiar scenes that are rich in rural charms. His drawing is careful and correct, his color vivacious and his execution finished… It is by his American landscape that America knows and will remember him.

Jones exhibited at the National Academy of Design between 1867 and 1927. He exhibited at the Paris Salons (1877–81), Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Annual (1879–85, 1891–1902, 1917–18), Boston Art Club (1881–1909). In 1884 Jones exhibited with the first exhibition of the Society of Painters in Pastels. He also exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, Society of American Artists (1902) and the Corcoran Gallery of Art (1907–12). He won prizes for his submissions at the World’s Columbian Exposition (Chicago, 1893), Exposition Universelle (Paris, 1889), Exposition Universelle (Paris, 1900), Louisiana Purchase Exposition (St. Louis, 1904) and Panama–Pacific International Exposition (San Francisco, 1915).

Jones’ paintings are held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Smithsonian Institution.