On view September 16 – December 31, 2017
A new exhibition series at the Everson, FOCUS presents selected works from the Museum’s collection in order to spark dialogue about how objects relate to one another across time, medium, and subject matter. Current exhibitions in the Museum inspired this installation, which in turn provides a thematic snapshot of other gallery spaces. Prompted by the exhibitions TR Ericsson: I Was Born To Bring You Into This World, Suné Woods: When a heart scatter, scatter, scatter, Monumental, and That Day Now: Shadows Cast by Hiroshima, the three works displayed here explore themes of monumentality, commemoration, and subjectivity. Whether memorializing specific individuals or addressing the collective memory of a culture, artworks exist as a reminder of our past and as a way to understand the present.
Adelaide Alsop Robineau, American (1865-1929)
Cinerary Urn, 1928-1929
Porcelain, 33 x 5 ½ inches
Everson Museum of Art; Gift of Samuel E. Robineau, 30.4.79
Adelaide Alsop Robineau, today considered one of America’s preeminent studio potters, began her ceramics career as a china painter, painting designs on porcelain blanks produced by other craftsmen. After moving to Syracuse with her husband in 1901, Robineau started experimenting with making her own porcelain forms. She quickly became a master of the medium, known for decorative techniques that included intricate excising and carving away of clay. Robineau also developed an innovative approach to glazing her ceramics, experimenting with and perfecting a number of complex crystalline glazes in greens, blues, ivory, and gold.
Robineau originally planned to decorate the Cinerary Urn with an incised motif depicting human figures passing through tongue-like flames, but she died before completing the work, which was ultimately glazed and fired by her former student Carlton Atherton. An inscription on the bottom of the urn reads De Profundis “Clamavi”, Adelaide Alsop Robineau – Born April 9, 1865 Died February 19 1929 – Samuel Edouard Robineau – Born December 20 1856 Died (left unfinished).
The urn contains the ashes of both Robineau and her husband Samuel, providing the couple with a literal presence inside the museum.
Abbott Handerson Thayer
Portrait of Beatrice Holden, 1902
Oil on canvas, 61 x 30 inches
Everson Museum of Art; Gift of Mr. Robert G. Soule and his children, in memory of Beatrice Holden, 63.21
Abbott Handerson Thayer was a New England painter known for his ethereal angels, landscapes, and floral paintings, as well as society portraits of women and children. He worked during the American Renaissance, a cultural movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries inspired by the Italian Renaissance and characterized by idealized figures and classical Greek and Roman influences. Thayer’s paintings were popular with critics, collectors, and the public, and he was highly sought after by wealthy patrons—so much so that by the 1890s, Thayer began selecting the sitters for portraits himself, rather than relying on commissions. He typically chose young women that fit within his framework of idealized beauty and painted each with a unique spiritual ethereality.
Beatrice Holden, the subject of this portrait, was born in Syracuse in 1892 and was the daughter of Hendrick S. Holden, a longtime Syracuse resident and businessman who also served a brief stint as a New York State Senator. Thayer’s portrait of Beatrice portrays the ten-year-old girl as a dignified and sober child, her unsmiling face following Thayer’s tradition of painting beautiful woman with serious expressions. The Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Massachusetts holds a smaller bust-length portrait of Beatrice that may have been a study for the full-length portrait displayed here; Beatrice wears the same white dress and hairstyle in both paintings.