Highlights of the Permanent Collection
Portrait of a Lady by Sir Joshua Reynolds
Sir Joshua Reynolds, an English eighteenth century painter, was the founder and first president of the Royal Academy of Arts. Throughout the duration of his career as an artist, he painted over 2,000 works, many being portraits of royal family members and prominent military figures and perpetuated the “Grand Style” with a focus on the idealization of imperfection. The piece Portrait of a Lady is one of his many smaller works that were created throughout the mid-eighteenth century. There’s no exact identity of this woman, but the pink ribbon, fine dress and pearl drop earrings suggest a wealthy class.
The Quest by Salvador Dali
A famous surrealist known as an entity of modern art and lasting figure in art history, Salvador Dalí was an enigmatic personality who traipsed all mediums throughout his career. The Quest is one of an edition of 300 hand-colored aquatint etchings featuring a geometric headed horseman barreling toward a void-like figure. Produced in 1981, it’s believed to be one of his final works before eventually passing in 1989.
Sing First by Hermann Kern
An academic painter deriving from Hungary, Hermann Kern was an Austrian genre painter. His artistic focus was occupied by playing children, music making gypsies, tavern scenes and single person imagery. Later in Kern’s career, Joseph Franz I, Emperor of Austria, sponsored him. The painting Sing First is a quintessential genre piece and strong representation of Kern’s lifeworks.
Cynthia's Shining Orb by Henry Moore
Henry Moore was an English marine and landscape painter, watercolorist and etcher born in 1831. His technical gift and knowledge of paint material was imposing. He was awarded a medal of honor at the International Exhibition of 1899, together with only one or two other English painters. He was elected Associate of the Royal Academy, received later recognition from the Acedemy in 1885, and finally became Royal Academician in 1893. Throughout the duration of his career, he found peace in marine subject matter. The piece, named after Ben Jonson’s poem “Hymn to Cynthia,” is an extension of this meditative interest.
The Limeburner by James Whistler
James Abbott McNeil Whistler’s The Limeburner is an etching and dry point deriving from 1859. A typical Whistler piece with its framed doorway and glimpse of Thames through the shed, this rare work has been on exhibit on and off since 1860. Whistler’s intent was to highlight the grungy nature of the lime-burning occupation. Lime burning consists of burning limestone, shells and chalk for mortar and plaster, and was once known to cause carbon monoxide poisoning, severe burns and early death. Whistler aimed to create scenes of “modern life, ” originally insisted upon by the Baudelaire.
Portrait of a Lady by Gilbert Stuart
Gilbert Stuart’s eighteenth century Portrait of a Lady portrays a blue-eyed elderly lady with a pleasant face. An American painter from Rhode Island, today Stuart is known as one of America’s foremost portraitists, having painted six American presidents throughout his lifetime. Threatened by the American Revolution, Stuart eventually sought safety in England where he was initially unsuccessful until becoming a protégé of Benjamin West. It wasn’t until his piece The Skater, a portrait of William Grant, was finished did he find himself accessible for both recognition and commission work.