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Virginia Museum of Fine Arts acquires watershed work by Paul Sérusier

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) announced this week that it has acquired The Three-Pond Cottage at Le Pouldu, an ambitious painting by Paul Sérusier (1864-1927), a pioneering Post-Impressionist who inspired the Nabis art movement and helped revolutionize 19th-century French art.

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The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) announced this week that it has acquired The Three-Pond Cottage at Le Pouldu, an ambitious painting by Paul Sérusier (1864-1927), a pioneering Post-Impressionist who inspired the Nabis art movement and helped revolutionize 19th-century French art.

During the summer of 1888 Sérusier, a student at the Académie Julian, a renowned private art school in Paris, traveled to Pont-Aven (Brittany, northwestern France), a small artist enclave where Paul Gauguin agreed to take him as an apprentice. Rejecting the approach of Impressionists who focused on the light, color and shading to give visual dimension to a subject, Gauguin had already begun to distill subjects to their essence, formed by bold, flat planes of color and contour lines, a style that came to be known as Cloisonnism. Gauguin also delved into Synthetism, a style which sought to explore and visually convey poetry, spirituality and emotion. Working with Gauguin was a transformative experience for Sérusier, helping him expand his own artistic vision.

Sérusier returned to Paris with an unfinished work, created under Gaugin’s direction, that reduced a view of Aven River and the adjoining wooded area to its elemental components. The result was profoundly innovative, sensational and influential. Several of his peers at Académie Julian, including Pierre Bonnard, Maurice Denis, Jean-Édouard Vuillard and Paul-Élie Ranson, exalted the painted sketch, originally titled The Bois d’Amour at Pont Aven before Ranson aptly renamed it The Talisman (now in the collection of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris). Aspiring to re-envision painting, these artists formed a group named the Nabis (French: Les Nabis, a derivation of nebiim, Hebrew for prophet), active in France from 1888 to 1900. The Nabis created art that diverged from realism, infusing their art with vivid color and resonating metaphor and symbolism.

The following year, in 1889, Gauguin left Pont-Aven and settled for a time in nearby Le Pouldu, a Breton fishing village in northwestern France. Sérusier joined him there for a few weeks in the fall and further developed his philosophy of painting, pushing beyond Gauguin’s Synthetism and advancing his own work with more confident, intentional and innovative results. Sérusier’s most ambitious work from this trip, The Three-Pond Cottage at Le Pouldu, began as a plein air sketch and took on new life in the artist’s studio. The cottage and surrounding ponds, marsh grasses, wheat fields and haystacks are formed by the dynamic interplay between flat planes of complementary colors—swaths of warm ochre offset by deep blue and patches of russet red against dark green. The undulating compositional elements and repeated use of colors create a continued sense of movement, interrupted by textured vertical lines which effectively root the viewer in the foreground.

“The overall effect of this experiment was nothing less than the total sublimation of the outward appearance of the painter’s surroundings into a landscape inhabited by spiritual presence, a mystical vision rendered onto the canvas with a bold harmonization of color and form,” said Dr. Sylvain Cordier, VMFA’s Paul Mellon Curator and Head of the Department of European Art. The Three-Pond Cottage at Le Pouldu “is one of the earliest works to demonstrate how the Nabis artists would transform the foundations of art and distinguish their work from their Impressionist predecessors.”

“The Three-Pond Cottage at Le Pouldu is an important addition to the European art collection at VMFA as it provides a crucial contextual link between Post-Impressionist paintings by Gauguin and Vincent Van Gogh in the museum’s Mellon Collection, as well as later modern artists like Bonnard and Matisse.” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA’s Director and CEO.

“When situated between the paintings of Gauguin and Van Gogh in the newly renovated Mellon Galleries at VMFA next year, Sérusier’s The Three-Pond Cottage at Le Poulduwill occupy a vital position in the room dedicated to Post-Impressionism,” added Michael Taylor, VMFA’s Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Art and Education. “This work perfectly illustrates the essential nature of Gauguin’s influence on an entire generation of avant-garde painters, while also demonstrating how Sérusier transcended his mentor in conveying the poetic and the metaphysical through his visionary presentation of color and form. We are delighted to add such an important painting to the museum’s collection.”

Dr. Cordier will present a virtual lecture, “Painting Alongside Gauguin: A Masterpiece of the Pont-Aven School by Paul Sérusier” on Thursday, Nov. 5 at 6:30 p.m. EST. The online event, hosted on Zoom, is free to attend. Participants can register to access the lecture at www.VMFA.museum. Sérusier’s painting The Three-Pond Cottage at Le Pouldu is currently on view in VMFA’s Atrium. Other works by the artist can be found in the collections of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts-Houston, Musée d’Orsay in Paris, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Brest and Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

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Arts & Entertainment

Burning Man artist Kate Raudenbush to premiere exhibit at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in 2023

A collaborative effort born out of the legendary Burning Man community, the exhibit will offer a quest for self-inquiry inside the Garden’s peaceful oasis.

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Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden has announced Burning Man artist Kate Raudenbush will premiere her enchanting and evocative new exhibit Incanto: An Oasis of Lyrical Sculpture at the Garden in 2023. In collaboration with poet Sha Michele, the show will feature five monumental sculptures and runs from April 28 through October 29, 2023.

A collaborative effort born out of the legendary Burning Man community, the exhibit will offer a quest for self-inquiry inside the Garden’s peaceful oasis. The artists are designing the experience with Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in mind in this first showing of their art in a botanical garden setting.

Intricately and beautifully designed from a range of laser-cut, mixed metals such as weathered steel; mirror-polished, hammered stainless steel; and patinated bronze, most sculptures will invite visitors to step inside. With heights reaching up to seventeen feet, they will serve as portals to other worlds of thought, meaning, and healing.

Each piece is being created in dialogue with the landscape to embrace companion plantings and water features developed in collaboration with the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Horticulture team. Dramatically lit from within and paired with poetry, the art will create multi-sensory experiences inviting further exploration at night. As a result, the Garden will offer many related events, classes, and even extended hours on select evenings.

The Garden will share the work in progress with exclusive content in the months before the show’s debut. Everyone is invited to follow the journey as these two artists create an experience specially designed for the community. Learn more here.

Currently living and working in New York City, Kate Raudenbush and Sha Michele’s friendship began in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada at Burning Man in 2000. The idea for Incanto was born in the silent spaces of solitary self-inquiry during the global pandemic of 2020. @KateRaudenbush @ShaMicheleArts.

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VMFA, Starr Hill Brewery team up on limited edition beer to celebrate upcoming ‘Storied Strings’ guitar exhibition

The exclusive brew will debut at an evening launch party being held from 4:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 1, 2022, at Starr Hill Beer Hall & Rooftop in Richmond.

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Starr Hill Brewery and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) recently announced the launch of a limited-edition beer, Storied Strings Lager, developed to celebrate the museum’s upcoming exhibition, Storied Strings: The Guitar in American Art.

The exclusive brew will debut at an evening launch party being held from 4:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 1, 2022, at Starr Hill Beer Hall & Rooftop in Richmond. Storied Strings Lager will be available for purchase by guests ages 21 and older with IDs. For more information about the Storied Strings Lager release party, visit www.VMFA.museum.

“To expand the awareness of our institution and to reach new audiences, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts thoughtfully engages local community businesses in smart and unique collaborations,” said Jan Hatchette, VMFA’s Deputy Director for Communications and Marketing. “Working with Starr Hill’s talented brewers to develop Storied Strings Lager has been an exciting creative experience. This carefully crafted beer in its distinctive can will help to introduce VMFA and our upcoming exhibition, Storied Strings: The Guitar in American Art, to a new generation of visitors.”

Storied Strings Lager, available starting October 1, 2022, is a harmonious fusion of Starr Hill and VMFA’s shared passion for music and art. The special brew is a light-bodied beer prominently featuring German malts, which provide its pale amber color and notes of biscuit and toffee on the palate. This subtle malt sweetness is balanced by German Hallertau hops and a crisp, clean finish. It is perfect for a concert or backyard jam.

Available in 4-packs of 16-ounce cans and draft, Storied Strings Lager will be sold across Virginia at Starr Hill’s six breweries and at VMFA’s Best Café and Amuse Restaurant for a limited time — until March 19, 2023, or supplies sell out.

Storied Strings Lager’s eye-catching can features Jessie with Guitar (1957), a work by eminent American artist Thomas Hart Benton (1889–1975). The iconic painting is one of more than 150 works of art and instruments that will be included in the exhibition Storied Strings: The Guitar in American Art on view at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts from October 8, 2022 to March 19, 2023.

“Since its inception, Starr Hill has strived to create a connection between high-quality beer and great music. The brewery has supported and will continue to support local artists and musicians across the Commonwealth,” said Allie Hochman, General Manager at Starr Hill Richmond. “Starr Hill is thrilled to partner with VMFA on this collaboration, and we look forward to sharing Storied Strings Lager with art and beer fans everywhere!”

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We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Richmond Folk Festival Poster Revealed

The 18th official Richmond Folk Festival poster artist is Cassandra Kim.

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About the artist from Richmond Folk Festival.

We’re excited to introduce you to the 18th official Richmond Folk Festival poster artist, Cassandra Kim. She joins a storied group of artists that includes Mickael Broth, Chris Milk, Hamilton Glass and more! (See all past 17 posters).

Cassandra’s poster art will also grace the official Richmond Folk Festival beer can brewed by Hardywood Park Brewing Company. Hardywood Folk Festbier (5.4% ABV) pays homage to the modern-day German-style Oktoberfest celebration beer. Brewed with Munich and Vienna malts, this lager beer promotes a full body and malt roundness that is balanced with moderate bitterness from traditional German Tettnang and Spalt hops. Folk Festbier will be available on draft all festival weekend, and in cans with Cassandra’s artwork at Richmond-area Krogers.

Tell us a little bit about you and your background. Are you from Richmond?

I’m a Virginia native and I’ve been a professional artist for almost twenty years, and I transitioned to working with galleries about four years ago. I like to work in acrylic and oil and my pieces are animal-based paintings with a surrealistic twist, typically inspired by art of the past. I like to work with vintage/antique frames and reclaimed wood, and repair and restore them myself. I am married with twin five-year-old girls and am constantly trying to balance painting with parenthood. My studio is in my dining room so it’s a bit of a funny place to create in the midst of the happy chaos of small children, but it surprisingly works great for me. I grew up in Leesburg, Virginia and first came to Richmond as an art student at VCU in 1999. After I graduated I moved back to northern Virginia for a bit and then after I got married I came back in 2013. I lived up to the old local saying, “You never really leave Richmond forever.”

Have you attended the Festival before, if so any good memories or thoughts about it?

I’m a huge fan of the Folk Festival. It always feels like it’s officially Fall here when the festival kicks off. I, unfortunately, haven’t been able to attend the last couple of years due to covid, but I have so many fond memories of meeting up with friends and family, eating yummy food, and listening to fantastic music. I can’t wait for my husband and I to bring our kids this year.

What was your inspiration/thought process for the Folk Fest design?

I seriously geeked out at the chance to create the poster because I love going to the festival as well as I have so much respect for the previous artists that worked on the poster in past years. I wanted my poster to be my pop-surrealistic ode to some of my favorite illustrators of the past. The back circle has a Maxfield Parrish style gradient, and the James River Railway Bridge under the circle is playing on similar design elements I saw in Leyendecker and Rockwell illustrations on their covers of Saturday Evening Posts. I wanted to push a vintage vibe with this, so I hand lettered all of the big type. I also love animals and enjoy the challenge of painting them jamming out as a musical trio in some classy clothes (the paws playing the instruments were the most challenging part). Overall, I hope the feeling you get from this is fun, because that’s what the festival is, fun and welcome to all.

 

What are some of your favorite things to do in Richmond?

This is such a wonderful city! I adore taking my kids to all the parks and museums like: Lewis Ginter, Maymont, Pony Pasture, VMFA, Science Museum, and the Poe Museum. I also love the food scene, we’re lucky here with so many brilliant chefs. The options to kick back with a quality drink and amazing food are endless here.

Artists Website

Original Poster Artwork on Auction!

We will also be auctioning the original art created by Cassandra to benefit the Festival! Start bidding now! The artwork is acrylic and oil on masonite (18in. x 24in.) framed in a gold wood frame 22″ x 28″. This is a rare opportunity to own the original artwork from one of our posters! The auction will close Wednesday, October 12, 2022.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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