Besides the Inness room, I was quite impressed by two paintings. Early Morning in Cold Spring, a painting by Asher Brown Durand shows a perfect balance between naturalism and romanticism. The fact that I just visited Cold Spring, NY a few weeks ago made the painting more personal to me. There is always a sense of freshness in Durand’s painting: The nature, depicted truthful but poetic, exists in harmony with minds of intellectual. In this painting, Durand was inspired by a William Cullen Byant‘s poem:
And o’er the clear still water swells
The music of the Sabbath bells
Philip Pearlstein‘s exhibition “Objectification” takes almost half of the first floor exhibition space. The figure paintings demonstrate a sense of objectivity with cut-off faces, obtruded features. He treated the human body with the same degree of coolness as other objects from his collections that were painted with the bodies. They are marvelous in the techniques but to see Pearlstein after Inness (that’s how the exhibition rooms are arranged) is like to read a math dissertation after reading essays by Heinrich Heine. From the short video, Eric commented the way Pearlstein works on his paintings is almost the opposite to how Inness created his own imagination on the canvas.
Before we left, Eric asked how often the museum rotates the paintings by Inness since at least half of the collection are not on display. Unfortunately, we were told the rotation has not been done quite often. Maybe in the curator’s point of view, the nine paintings in that room give the audience a complete image of Inness’ style in different periods and of course his association with the town when at his peak power. We will probably go back in the near future on a Saturday when those antique stores may open. And after all, “Christmas Evening” by George Inness is Eric’s favorite painting!