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Bluemner and Goldberg art exhibits open at SU

Oscar Bluemner's 'Sunset Effect on Rain' is on display at the Hand Art Center.

Stetson University will celebrate the opening of two art exhibitions with a public reception, 6-8 p.m., Friday, Sept. 7 at the Hand Art Center. Oscar Bluemner’s America: Walking Along a New Jersey Canal, will run from Sept. 7 through Dec. 5; and Drawings from the Collection of Arthur Goldberg will run Sept. 7 through Oct. 19. The Hand Art Center is located on the University’s Palm Court/Quad,139 E. Michigan Ave. on the DeLand campus.

Oscar Bluemner’s America: Walking Along a New Jersey Canal continues the Hand Art Center’s mission to display and investigate the work of modernist American painter Oscar Bluemner (1867-1938), that was bequeathed to Stetson University by the artist’s daughter, Vera Bluemner Kouba. This selection focuses on his depictions of scenes of and along the Morris Canal, a manmade waterway which spanned 102 miles in northern New Jersey from Phillipsburg on the Delaware River to Jersey City on the Hudson River. The towpaths along the old canal served as routes for the artist’s far-flung sketching expeditions. The motifs he found along his walks exemplified the balance of natural and human resources that marked his ideal subjects. Artworks in this exhibition span more than 20 years of Bluemner’s career, and range from sketches based on close observation of the subjects to expressive and psychological abstractions distilled from the same subjects many years later. The variety of media in the exhibit ranges from charcoal, ink, or graphite sketches to highly finished works in watercolor, casein, and oil. A wide range of examples demonstrate the artist’s working processes as well as his technical virtuosity.

Dr. Roberta Smith Favis, curator of the Vera Bluemner Kouba Collection, will discuss the current exhibition at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 19, in the duPont-Ball Library Instructional Media Center, lower level room 25, accessed from the Nemec Courtyard on the north side of the library, 134 E. Minnesota Ave. Considered one of the American technological and economic marvels of its day when it opened in 1831, the Morris Canal once spanned 102 miles across northern New Jersey until it fell into disuse in the early 20th century and was finally abandoned. Favis will explore the history and importance of the canal and its intersection with the artistic evolution of the modernist artist Oscar Bluemner. This lecture is open to the public, free of charge.

Drawings from the Collection of Arthur Goldberg includes a variety of different artists’ works that Goldberg has been collecting for more than 30 years. His collection of drawings alone has at times numbered close to 50, including some major artists. Over time, however, he has depleted his collection by a third in generous donations to individuals, schools and galleries. One of the drawings to be featured is a 1993 work by Stetson Art Professor Gary Bolding. Another is a 1930’s work by turn-of-the (20th)-century artist Milton Avery. Goldberg’s first serious purchase was the James Valerio drawing, “Still Life on Dark Drape,” and one of his favorites is the large clock by Shimon Okshteyn.

For more information on the opening reception, the public lecture and the individual art exhibitions, contact Stetson University’s Hand Art Centerat (386) 822-7270, or visit http://www2.stetson.edu/handartcenter/.