Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Love Story

The Arkell Museum in Canajoharie, New York is currently presenting an exhibition exploring the history of romance illustration.

The Arkell Museum recently built a modern new addition with plenty of space for their permanent collection of Homer, Dewing, Inness, and even a full-size copy of Rembrandt’s Night Watch. Now they have ample space for special and traveling exhibitions.

The “Love Story” show, on view through May 3, contains 53 original illustrations borrowed from the New Britain Museum of American Art.

The artwork illustrated amorous stories from the books and magazines published during the Golden Age of illustration. Many of the great illustrators are represented: James Montgomery Flagg, Harvey Dunn, Dean Cornwell, Henry Raleigh, Coby Whitmore, Al Parker, Pruett Carter (shown above), and Alice Barber Stephens.

Arkell’s curator Diane Forsberg explained the changes in social history reflected by the artwork. “The goal was for women to get married and stay married, no matter what,” she said, “and it stayed that way” even into the 60s and 70s when the final works were created.

Guest curator Martha Hoppin observed, “about half the works shown here accompanied stories about troubled marriages.” But they all had happy endings. The advent of television soap operas undercut the demand for illustrated women’s magazines and most of the illustrators found work in paperbacks or other places.

The guard told us, “People come in here and they spend a lot of time looking at the art.”

Arkell Museum, link.


r8r said...

The guard told us, “People come in here and they spend a lot of time looking at the art.”


I would hope so.


Erik Bongers said...

True, it's an evident statement but...
JG has also put such simple and evident quotes in his sketchbooks next to portraits he's made.

It's difficult to explain but there's something comforting about those little statements. As if the world makes sense sometimes...

Andy said...

People do come in our galleries and do other things... like the teenage girl who was pirouetting around on her tiptoes a few weekends ago. I guess our great art inspired her own interpretive dance. Who knew.

-Andy Albertson
Curator of Education
Arkell Museum

Devan Foster said...

I was really struck by 'Love Scene' by Carter you put up on your blog today and sent it straight away to my wife to share it with her! It captures how I feel about her, even when we argue.
Thanks for great posts and introducing great artists I haven't come across before.

Dan Gurney said...

Carter's illustration reminded me accustomed we've become to moving images, as opposed to still images.

Carter's image involves the viewer because it is so open to interpretation. For example, I see evidence that the woman wants to resist the man's advances. Her arm and hand seem poised to hold the man off. His expression is ambiguous, too. Is he (are they) overcome with amour, or is he intent on gripping her against her will in a forced embrace?

Or is it simply a moment of lust after a long military deployment.

On TV or in the movies, a similar scene would unfold and leave the viewer without much opportunity to wonder what the image might mean.