Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art revealed one more facet in its collection last week: “The Indian and the Lily,” an 1887 painting by George deForest Brush. The announcement came in advance of its inclusion in an exhibition of Brush paintings that will open Sept. 24 at the National Gallery in Washington.
If the painting sounds familiar to you, it might be because you’re either knowledgeable about 19th century American painters or because you read the Arkansas Times in June 2007, where we speculated Alice Walton had purchased the painting and ran a picture of it. (We’re not psychic: The painting sold at a Sotheby’s auction in 2004 at which other works known to have been bought for the museum were sold.) The painting depicts a Native American man bending to touch a lily in a stream, a dead swan slung across his back; it sold for $4.8 million. Brush, who like another famous American painter, Thomas Eakins, studied with Jean-Leon Gerome in Paris, was popular in the late 19th century for his nostalgic American Indian scenes and, later in his career, family portraits.
What has Walton spent acquiring works for the museum? It’s unfathomable. She’s made public only 20 paintings, a tiny portion of her col-lection, perhaps as small as 10 percent. Sale prices can be discovered on only 12 of those, and total to around $88 million. The museum itself is going to cost around $65 million or more when complete in 2010. Is Walton sinking $1 billion into the Bentonville museum? She’ll have several billions left, but still, the figure is staggering.
The “Indian and the Lily” will be on exhibit at the National Gallery in Washington through Jan. 4. It will travel to the Seattle Art Museum in February.
First Lady Ginger Beebe will be at the Cox Creative Center Friday, Sept. 12, to sign copies of the just-released 2009 Arkansas Artists Calen-dar. The first lady will sign between 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. as part of the 2nd Friday Art Night gallery event.
The calendar is a fund-raiser for the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion. Music will be provided by Maria Miller.
2nd Friday Art Night kicks off at 5 p.m. Gallery-goers will see American folk art by William Clarke, Euneda Otis, Robin Bates and Sylvester McKissack at Hearne Fine Art, 500 Clinton Ave., student art from across Arkansas at the Cox Center, 120 Commerce; new paintings by Amy Hill-Imler at River Market ArtSpace, 301 Clinton, and work by V.L. Cox, Lam Tze Sheung and John Kushmaul at the Historic Arkansas Mu-seum, 200 E. Third St.
There’s free parking at the HAM and trolleys to take gallery-goers from venue to venue.
On Saturday morning, chalk artists can hoof it to the Clinton Presidential Library grounds to decorate sidewalks with images of live animals escorted to the event by Heifer International. (UPDATE: This rescheduled to Saturday, Oct. 4, because of weather forecast.)
The third annual Thea Paves the Way sidewalk art event runs from 8 a.m. to noon Sept. 13. Along with the animals, there will be music by Disney Radio, food prepared by Argenta Seafood Factory chef Matt Bell and a college team chalk art competition for cash prizes of $250 and $150. Teachers who bring their students to the event will be eligible to win baskets of art supplies.
The event is being held by the Thea Foundation.
The Baum Gallery at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway opens a couple of intriguing-sounding exhibits by national and interna-tional artists on Thursday, Sept. 11: “Leaded: The Materiality and Metamorphosis of Graphite,” 2- and 3-D works by 16 artists (including the Art Guys); and “New Territories: Ceramics by Justin Novak,” in which bunnies — disfigurines, Novak calls them — illustrate society’s pa-thologies. The shows run through Oct. 30.
Also at the Baum is the MFA Biennial Competitive, sculpture by newly graduated artists from around the country; Novak was the juror.