Saturday, April 26, 2014

Art Forgery, Steampunk and the Cat in the Hat

Do you like green eggs and ham?
As is often the case, you can overlook things that are almost in your own backyard. There was an exhibit on art forgery ending this weekend, so that lit the fire to finally make a trip out to the Springfield, MA museum complex about 60 miles from us.

The museums in downtown Springfield include a science/natural history museum, two art museums, and a historical museum which is currently closed for refurbishing. The buildings are grouped in "the quadrangle, whose center includes a whimsical monument to one of Springfield's famous sons, Theodor Geisel, aka "Dr. Seuss".

"Intent to Deceive" was an interesting exhibit on fakes, although without the amount of depth and history I would have liked. One of the highlights for me was finally seeing some of the Han van Meegeren "Vermeers" in person. Even when seeing the photographs in art books, my reaction was always "How could anyone be fooled by these?". The story of van Meegeren was about more than simply faking art - and you can read more in this article.

But this exhibit did get me to finally see the D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts. Not the largest museum or collection you will visit, but does include some gems. I was astounded to see, almost immediately upon entering the front door, the monumental "The Historical Monument of the American Republic" by Erastus Salisbury Field. I knew of the painting, but it never registered with me that it was about one hour from home.


We were on a tight schedule this visit, but we did take time for a quick look at the Smith Art Museum  as well. I enjoy idiosyncratic collections, and this one was not only a reflection of the original benefactors' tastes, but is still retained in a late-Victorian display format. So rare to see such a time capsule. A large gallery of 19th century paintings hung "salon style", large Asian art collections and a hall of classical and antique casts. The museum was, appropriately enough, hosting a "Steampunk" exhibit on view through September 28, which fits well with the Victorian architecture.

Great hall of casts

Nicolas Tesla and Thomas Edison united in Springfield.


Outfits for your steampunk wedding