In a better world we would all be thronging the doors of the Newark Museum; in the best of worlds Ulysses Grant Dietz would be there to meet us, taking us through the galleries with fellow curators Christa Clarke and Katherine Anne Paul
The term "old school" could almost have been invented to describe the Vose Galleries, that venerable Boston art institution now celebrating its 175th year in business. In honor of that almost unprecedented milestone for an art gallery, the two owners, Abbot "Bill" and Marcia Vose, who have been married for forty-four years, have decided to put on display a selection of their private collection of American impressionists, assembled over the past four decades, as part of an exhibition titled Crosscurrents: The Colonies, Clubs & Schools That Established Impressionism in America.
A rather depressing article appeared recently in the New York Times concerning a steep and sudden decline in the market for old master paintings. "At a time when contemporary art is all the rage among collectors, viewers, and donors," Robin Pogrebin wrote, "many experts are questioning whether old master artwork—once the most coveted—can stay relevant at auction houses, galleries, and museums." There can be a no more thunderous rebuttal to the notion that old masters are irrelevant than the new exhibition of Valentin de Boulogne at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Every photographic portrait confers on its subject some degree of immortality. We take for granted the ability to know what a person looks like, since images of family, friends, and famous strangers dead and alive are at our fingertips through a Google Images or Facebook search. But until 1839 only the wealthy could have a likeness recorded, share it with others, and leave it behind for future generations.