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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Don’t Miss the Women Modernists Show at Norton Museum of Art

On our last day in Florida, we made the wise move to drive the convertible to the Norton Museum of Art in Palm Beach. As luck would have it, a new exhibition had just opened, “Women Modernists in New York,” showcasing the works of four friends from the 1920s and 30s, Marguerite Zorach, Helen Torr, Florine Stettheimer, and the best known of the quartet, Georgia O’Keeffe. I’ve never been a big fan of Zorach’s work, a little too primitive and naïve for me. But the exhibition became intriguing in the next gallery focusing on the works of Helen Torr. Torr was Arthur Dove’s wife, and while the art world was reaping accolades on her adoring husband, they were ridiculing the work of Torr (and, for that matter, most work by women artists at the time). Her charcoals of still lifes are wonderful, but most striking were Torr’s two self-portraits where you can see in those sorrowful eyes the world beating down on her. The next room was a delight, a sampling of works by Florence Stettheimer. On one wall she painted herself and her two sisters wearing garb straight out of a Charleston dance, reclining as if they were sitting on chaise lounge chairs. It’s no wonder one of her works recently sold at auction for $4.5 million. Her joie de vivre and sheer ebullience radiates throughout the room. Thankfully her sister dismissed her request to destroy all her works of art upon her death. 
 
O’Keeffe, of course, is the star of the show. One glance at her vibrant palette in “Red Maple at Lake George” (1926) and I was immediately transported back to my boyhood stomping grounds. But the Norton Museum scored a real coup by getting the National Gallery of Art to part with their series of six Jack-in-the-Pulpit canvases, where O’Keeffe reduces the hyper-sensualized flower down to its abstract parts. I could have stared at this wall for hours, but had to catch a flight back to Boston. If you’re in South Florida at any point until May 15th, do yourself a favor and see this show. If you want to read a manuscript of the story I originally wrote for Art & Antiques Magazine on O’Keeffe’s years in Lake George with her husband, Alfred Stieglitz, please email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/25/16 at 06:00 AM
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Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk.

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