Let me begin by saying that my visit to the Cincinnati Art Museum was an unfairly brief one. I had less than an hour to spend in the museum which didn’t even allow enough time to see the whole museum, let alone appreciate its contents. Basically it was enough time to form only an impression – hopefully I will be able to come back soon and spend a day.
First let me say that the museum building itself is impressive. The Neo-Greco style lends weight and importance to the building and I felt like I was going to be seeing important works before I even walked up the front steps. The museum is basically divided into three floors – the first floor houses the African, Asian, Ancient, and Ohio galleries (I was only able to breeze through the Ancient Works hall (anyone who knows me knows I have a particular passion for Greek history so I always love to see what a museum has in that department), and the Ohio Gallery (which features works by prominent Ohio artists).
The second floor contains the European and American Masters galleries. The American collection was interesting – I particularly liked a Hopper they own. The European collection was also strong and well organized. I loved several of the altarpieces they have in the collection (see photos below). I’m not a huge Renaissance fan so I admit I moved through most of the classical art pretty quickly. They did have a nice Picasso or two, and it was fun seeing a Cezanne still-life after my recent visit to the exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum.
There is a bit of a transition oddity as you move from some modern European artists into artists who may have been born in Europe, but were really American artists – de Kooning, Rothko and Gorky for example, and then you move right into American Modernism and Post-Modern artists. Or maybe I just didn’t get it because I was moving too quickly.
I did love their Rothko (photo below). I am contemplating becoming obsessed with Rothko and making it a goal to see all of his work that is in public collections. They also had a great Motherwell (I think I got a shot of it).
Finally the third floor, which served as a working studio for much of the museum’s history, has been turned into a contemporary artists’ gallery with several video installations and some interesting larger works, including a nice Rauschenberg.
Well worth the visit, and, as I said, I hope to come back with more time. Also would like to visit the Cincinnati Modern, but I knew I wouldn’t have time on this trip.
Final note: I generally like Chihuly, but the entrance piece (see above) felt a little out of place to me in terms of the surrounding architectural context.
Visit the museum’s website at http://www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org/
Always love to see a good Hopper
Arshile Gorky (I am reading his Biography right now so I had to include this)
Rothko (sorry for the terrible photo from my camera phone, which didn’t like the light in this gallery). This was my favorite piece in the museum
Great Rothko quote – if you could read it. Try squinting.
Typically tacky Warhol – appropriate for the city of course.
In his Amazon.com best-selling book, Xanadu Gallery owner Jason Horejs shares insights gained over a life-time in the art business.