New McMullen Show Depicts 'A Perfect World'

New McMullen Show Depicts 'A Perfect World'

By Rosanne Pellegrini Staff Writer

American painters in the 19th and 20th centuries such as Winslow Homer and Georgia O'Keeffe often turned to idealized landscapes to find comfort during troubled times, whether in their own land or the remote idyllic island environment of Bermuda. A new McMullen Museum of Art exhibition opening next week evokes that era at a time, exhibition organizers say, when the aftermath of Sept. 11 and other turmoil has sparked a wide-spread desire for solace.

"In a Perfect World: Bermuda in the Context of American Landscape Painting," which runs from May 16 through Sept. 15, comprises 55 paintings by prominent artists including Homer, O'Keeffe, William Sontag, John Enneking, George Inness, Martin Johnson Heade, Thomas Moran, F. Childe Hassam, John LaFarge, Jasper Cropsey, Sanford Gifford, Charles Demuth, Albert Gleizes and Marsden Hartley.

"The McMullen Museum is pleased to offer this innovative exhibition conceived in the wake of the tragic events of Sept. 11," said McMullen Museum Director Prof. Nancy Netzer (Fine Arts). "This is the first exhibition to examine thematic links between paintings of an idealized American and Bermudan landscape by many of the finest artists working in North America from the mid-19th through the first half of the 20th century.

"It is our hope that this probing of the beautiful in painting might provide to viewers the comfort, solace and place of refuge from a troubled world that it did for our ancestors," added Netzer, who will present an overview of the exhibition on Saturday, May 18, at 2:30 p.m.

In the first section of "In a Perfect World," oil and watercolor paintings will demonstrate how 19th-century American artists constructed an idealized American landscape as an antidote to the problems of the world around them. Included are works of the Hudson River School and later 19th-century Luminist, Tonalist, and Impressionist interpretations.

The second section will show that many painters working in Bermuda in the early 20th century were also inspired to find comfort and solace in the land. Seeking respite from the accelerating pace of increasingly urbanized life, artists from Canada and France and the United States traveled to Bermuda in search of renewed tranquility. Most of the works in this section are from the Masterworks Foundation's Bermudiana Collection.

The accompanying scholarly catalogue, with images of the works displayed in the exhibition, is authored by the curator of "In a Perfect World," part-time faculty member Judith Bookbinder (Fine Arts), an American art scholar.

"In a Perfect World" is presented by Fidelity Investments through the Fidelity Foundation and the FIL Foundation of Bermuda.

Docent tours of the museum will be available at 12:30 p.m. on May 17, 24 and 31.

For information on days and hours of operation, call the Arts Line at ext.2-8100, or visit the museum World Wide Web site at


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