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Impressionism at The Crocker

Hi.  I’m Walking Bob, and the last Friday I walked to the bus stop and took YoloBus 42B to Old Sacramento and then took the scenic River Walk along the Sacramento River to O Street.  I walked a couple more blocks and I was outside the Crocker Art Museum.  I was early for the media opening of a new exhibit, so I took some time wandering the grounds around the museum and in the neighboring park.  The historic Crocker building is beautiful on it’s own even before you begin to see the vast art collection inside, and outside, the museum.

It was June 10,which was pretty much the end of the school year, but I saw two busloads of school children coming for a tour of the museum and grounds.  Thousands of students take the 35-50 minute tours throughout the school year.  As I watched the children and their chaperones going in and out of the museum, another small tour rolled up on Segways for the Hysterical Segway City Tour.   They didn’t go into the museum, but the guides did give them historical insights as they rolled around the grounds.

The Crocker has labeled this “The Summer of Impressionism” with three distinct exhibits that are already open or will be opening soon.  The first to open was “Transcending Vision: American Impressionism 1870-1940.” The 135 paintings come from the Bank of America’s collection.  The exhibit “traces the stylistic evolution of landscape painting as well as the changing attitude towards nature” and includes works by George Bellows, George Inness, Ernest Lawson, and Childe Hassam, whose work includes this piece from 1917 titled “Old House, East Hampton.”  This exhibit remains at the Crocker until September 25.

I was also privileged to tour the newest exhibit, “Landscapes from the Age of Impressionism,” under the informed leadership of Curator William Breazeale, shown in the opening photograph, and Chief Curator, Scott Shields, shown here.  The forty paintings include both French and American artists, including Claude Monet, John Singer Sargent and Gustave Courbet.  This exhibit opened on June 11 and will remain through September 18.

A third exhibit, “Gardens and Grandeur: Porcelains and Painting by Franz A Bischoff” opens on June 25.  It contains forty of Bischoff’s works.  Bischoff was born in Austria, but immigrated to the United States and became known as “King of the Rose Painters.”  With a title like that, it seems fitting that his works are on loan from the Pasadena Museum of California Art.  The painting shown here and titled simply “Roses” is from 1912.  This exhibit will be at the Crocker through October 23, 2011.

If you haven’t visited the greatly expanded Crocker Art Museum, you have the whole summer to remedy that.  The art is so much more vivid on the walls than in the tiny photographs shown here.  Some of the large works, like the seven-foot tall painting “The Poacher” by Lilla Cabot Perry, shown here, can only be fully appreciated in person.  The Crocker Art Museum opens at 10 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday, remaining open until 5:00 on Friday through Saturday, until 7:00 on Tuesday and Wednesday and until 9:00 p.m. on Thursday.  If the $10 adult admission seems too high for you, every third Sunday is “Pay What You Want Sunday.”

Finally, I encourage you to move beyond the new exhibits to see more of the permanent collection at the Crocker.  I saw everything from iMac boxes that would make Andy Warhol proud to a retrospective of fifty works by Wayne Thiebaud, one of California’s most renowned artists.  I couldn’t leave the Crocker without capturing a photo of at least one work of art by an artist from Davis.  Here is Robert Arneson’s “Overcooked” from 1973.  Arneson was the creator of the eggheads on campus and so much more mischievous and creative art.

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