Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Some New Views of Pleissner

Things may be winding down here for visitors at Shelburne Museum, but here in curatorial, we're busy working on next season's shows. One of the shows I'm putting together is a new rotation of paintings for our Pleissner Gallery.

Exterior of Pleissner Gallery

Visitors enjoying Pleissner Gallery

Pleissner Gallery also includes a recreation of the artist's Manchester, VT studio

If you haven't seen the Museum, or have never visited the Pleissner Gallery, this building is dedicated to the works of Ogden M. Pleissner, a 20th-century American painter.

Self-portrait of Ogden M. Pleissner in fishing gear

 A close friend of the Webb family, Pleissner is probably best known for his sporting scenes today.

Blue Boat on the Ste Anne, one of Pleissner's most famous paintings.

 Yet Pleissner considered himself a landscape painter at heart, calling himself "a painter of landscapes who also liked to hunt and fish." A well-traveled artist, he painted in locations as varied as Wyoming, Scotland, Italy, Spain, and New England. Pleissner was introduced to many of these places during World War II, when he served as an art correspondent, first for the Army Air Force, and later for Life Magazine.

I went down to the storage room for Pleissner Gallery a few weeks ago to take a closer look at some of these landscapes, and was struck by their beauty and display of painterly skill. Check these out:

Pebble Beach Golf Course, ca. 1950-1965, watercolor on paper, 7'' x 10'', gift of Peter Bergh, 1991-52.8

Pleissner enjoyed fishing and fowl shooting, but he also played golf. Pebble Beach was first opened in 1919, and is renowned for its views of Carmel Bay.

Burnside, date unknown, watercolor on paper, 7'' x 10'', bequest of Ogden M. Pleissner, 1986-26.153

Burnside is located in Scotland, and Pleissner visited this region to shoot grouse. Many of his famous shooting scenes are set in this area, but this little painting is all about landscape.

St. Malo, date unknown, watercolor on paper, 7'' x 10'', bequest of Ogden M. Pleissner, 1986-26.144

St. Malo is a port city in Brittany. Pleissner first encountered this landscape during World War II, and visited several times after the war to paint it.

One thing I'm learning to appreciate about Pleissner is his efficiency. Watercolor is a difficult medium, but Pleissner skillfully used it to create naturalistic scenes without overwhelming his compositions with superfluous details. With just a few deft strokes of paint, he's able to turn abstract lines and color...

River, date unknown, watercolor on paper, 7'' x 10'', bequest of Ogden M. Pleissner, 1986-26.41
 ...into reflections of trees on water.

There are plenty of other lovely scenes that will be featured in this show, so be sure to come and visit next summer if you can! The Museum opens on May 12, 2013.

1 comment:

  1. We have been coming to the Shelburne museum for a number of years (from Sutton, QC, not far over the border from Richford) and this summer was the first time I visited this gallery. I was very impressed by the work of M. Pleissner and especially liked the re-creation of his studio, as well as chatting with the museum volunteer who was able to add to my experience. Wish we could come down more often! And we always seem to 'find' something new (to us) on every visit. Nous aimons Shelburne!