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Farnsworth Art Museum opens American Treasures. Small Treasures

Farnsworth Art Museum opens American Treasures. Small Treasures an exhibition on view February 16, 2013 – December 29, 2013.

George Bellows (1882-1925) Beating Out to Sea, 1913 Oil on plywood panel, 14 5/8 x 18 7/8 inches, Museum Purchase, 1945

A work of art need not be grand in scale to have an impact, and sometimes that impact is made all the more powerful because of what the artist is able to achieve within a relatively small amount of space. This exhibition features a selection of pieces from the museum’s collection that demonstrate that big is not necessarily better. The small scale of the works in this show evolved from various concerns on the part of their makers. Thomas Eakins’ Study for the Thinker, for example, was consciously made as a way of testing out a compositional idea that would later be incorporated into a larger finished painting. Robert Henri’s painting, Monhegan Island, on the other hand, was done quickly and as a means of capturing the essential character of a place at a specific moment, perhaps to be expanded later into a larger painting, but perhaps not. Others, like Paul Manship’s bronze, Europa and the Bull, were intended to be fully self-sufficient, simply a realization of ideas carried out in small scale. Perhaps most intriguing about the works gathered together here is how they reward close looking.

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