pennsylvania academy of fine arts museum

Mary Cassatt (1844-1926)
“Bacchante” (1872)
Oil on canvas
Located in the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Bacchantes were the female followers of
Bacchus, the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, ritual madness, fertility, theatre, and religious ecstasy in ancient Rome.

Last summer, our photography team hit the road to capture brand new images of over a dozen of Louis C. Tiffany’s mosaics still located in their original architectural settings for our exhibition, “Tiffany’s Glass Mosaics.” Here, the team is setting up to photograph “The Dream Garden” at the Curtis Center in Philadelphia. Thanks to their skillful lighting and photography, these works can be appreciated with a level of detail you might not notice if you see them in person.  Come see the hard work of the photography team in the exhibition’s “Mosaic Theater.”

 The Poor Man’s Store, 1885, oil on canvas and wood by John Frederick Peto, American, 1854-1907.  Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusettes, USA.

   The store doesn’t carry items desired by the wealthy but is interesting in its own right. Having studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, Peto used the trompe d’oeil style of painting giving the composition a greater three-dimensional feel.

  He earned his living as a photographer, sculptor, and artist, but sank into obscurity after 1889.   

The Artist in His Museum (1822). Charles Willson Peale (American, 1741-1827). Oil on canvas. Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

Peale literally raises the curtain to reveal the wonders of his collection, then located in the long gallery of Independence Hall. Peale’s museum offered a cabinet of curiosities to instruct and entertain the spectators, from the wild turkey at the lower left, to the skeleton of the mastodon he had exhumed and brought to Philadelphia at the right. 

Portrait of Georgine Shillard-Smith (c.1909). Hugh Henry Breckenridge (American, 1870-1937). Oil on canvas. Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Trained in the academic style of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Breckenridge displayed his academic training in his portraits. Since it was his largest source of income, he spent a great deal of time producing portraiture. His portraits are traditionally in an academic style with clean, smooth brushstrokes, attention to fine detail, subtlety of light, and a focus on realism.

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.