Saturday, October 17, 2015

At the Hyde Collection

The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls NY is both an art museum and a historic house.  I've been there so many times over the years, I sometimes have to force myself to go again, because I think I've seen it all.  But the basic collection of Renaissance and Medieval-era art has some incredible gems that are worth the trip.  Case in point, the two images below.  And so I agreed to tour the Hyde with some out-of-town company.
I think our small city (really more of a town) is very lucky to have an iconic image like this incredible Rembrandt portrait of Christ with Arms Folded.  The painting has a light from within; so sorry I cannot get a better image.  And look at this expressive El Grego below, St. James the Less, ca. 1595.
And anyhow, the idea that I've seen it all is simply not true.  While the original collection of art and furnishings in Hyde House doesn't change much, there are often subtle changes, in location of certain pieces of artwork, or with pieces on loan, or pieces brought out of storage.  The minute I saw the piece below, The Blue Veil, by Edmund James Tarbell, 1898, I knew I'd never seen it before, and I was totally wowed.  It is in the museum on loan. 
And not all of the basic collection is hundreds of years old, either.  For example, I always love seeing this radiant painting Geraniums by Childe Hassan, or this Picasso, Boy Holding a Blue Vase.
By the way, I did not have my camera with me, so I was stuck using my poor-quality phone camera, and with the low light in the rooms combined with some chiarascuro artwork, these photos aren't up to my usual standards.  Oh well.  Here's another piece that really wows me - Abbott Handerson Thayer's Mary: Portrait of the Artist's Daughter, 1894.  Look at the expression on her face!  It says so much!
I have always been fond of this painting Head of a Moor, ca. 1620, below, by Rubens.  To me, it looks like something that could have been painted in the 1900's, not 300 years earlier, with it's expressive brush strokes.  Same thing for light and airy Madonna and Child with St. Catherine and Infant St. John the Baptist, ca. 1755, by Tiepolo, also below.
And, when teaching the grid process to students, isn't it cool to be able to show them this Degas Dancer Tying Her Scarf, an 1879 charcoal sketch using a grid? The museum owns another lovely Degas, not currently on display. 
Below, Yosemite Valley by Alberet Bierstadt, ca.1865.
The lovely painting below is Waterfall at Ornans, ca.1874, by Gustave Courbet. 
I just adore this Angel, ca. 1350, by Niccolo di ser Sozza Tegliacci.  How many modern teenage girls have you seen wearing this EXACT expression on their faces?  I feel like I know her.
I don't know much about this painting St. Peter Enthroned, but it always makes me smile. It is French (artist unidentified), ca.1474-1500.  I've enlarged the king for you.  It makes me think of one of those collages where you stick a different head on a body. 
The Hyde House is also full of historic furnishings.  This is a favorite of mine; a folding chair! ca.1650, Italian.

In the main museum gallery, there is currently an exhibit called Pulled, Pressed, and Screened: Important American Prints.  Again, forgive the photo quality/reflections/etc.  Below, by Andy Warhol, Birmingham Race Riot, 1964, is an appropriated and manipulated image from Life magazine.  Why doesn't the photographer of the original image get any credit for this?
And by Robert Rauschenberg, this 1970 piece Signs (below) reminds me of magazine collages we've all made with our students.  Except the collage has been taken and reproduced in some printing process. 
I feel like I've seen every one of these iconic images from the 60's.  But I'm not sure how I feel about Rauschenberg getting all the credit for the assembling of images into his print.  I haven't worded this well, but perhaps you understand my point?

I'm not much of a print-maker myself, but I know what I like (and don't like, of course!).  I rather enjoyed this piece below because I can tell it's an etching, and I like the expressive line and movemen in the drawing. I have inadvertently deleted the names of the artists in the pieces below.  I apologize. 
My favorite pieces in the print show were these:
This piece below (poor quality photo;sorry) fascinated me because it looked like the paper was rippled and poorly glued, or perhaps torn and layered, but it is all an illusion created by subtleties of shading.  Very cool.
In the smaller gallery is an exhibit of work titled Audrey Flacke: Heroines.  Here's a sampling. 
I had to smile at the glitter and sparkles used in some of the colored pieces. 
Oh, to prove I was there - here I am with hubs in a cool mirror in Hyde House.  I love the asymmetric design of the top. 
Downstairs in the museum is a studio used for classes and workshops and such, as well as an auditorium.  In the stairway hangs this large acrylic painting, Asking, by Sam Gilliam, 1972.  I don't know the process used, but many years ago, at an art show, an artist was displaying work with a similar feel.  I learned that his process included blobbing liquid-y paint on the canvas, and then using a vacuum with the hose attached at the wrong end (or something like that; to blow rather than to suck), he blew the paint around the canvas.  I went home and tried it, very unsuccessfully.  This painting below looks like a successful use of the process; colorful and fun. I wonder if it is actually done that way?
Anyhow - if you are ever in my little hometown, block out some time to make your way to the Hyde.  You won't be disappointed! 


  1. Hey Phyl,

    One of my favorite things about you ( besides your cool shoes!) is your desire to share your love of everything art with all of us. Your photo essay of Hyde House was so enjoyable as well as surprising. Just think how many gems are on display around the USA in places like Hyde House! My favorite was The Blue Veil. Not familiar with the artist, but kinda reminded me of Monet. Or Cassatt. Thanks for sharing and you're so lucky to have a husband who shares your love of art!

    1. Thanks, Pat! And ditto about The Ble Veil. I could just feel the warm summer breeze blowing the veil across her face. I wasn't familiar with the artist either, so I looked him up and actually think I prefer his work to Mary Cassatt's. He is definitely considered an impressionist, but he is American, from Massachussetts.

  2. Here I am, a lazy Sunday morning. What a perfect beginning -- a virtual tour of the Hyde through your eyes!! I love all your photo choices and your narrative, especially the delicate overlapping folds of the blue veil. Leaving us with the visual image of you struggling with a vacuum, in search of art, was a stroke of genius. I'm still chuckling. Thanks for the tour -- happy Sunday, Phyl.