The Legacy of Frank DuMond
Sept. 12-Oct. 6
Belmont University, 1900 Belmont Blvd.
Hours: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mon-Fri.; 9 a.m.-4:30 Sat.; 2-5 p.m. Sun.
For information, call 460-6770
’Tis the season for art fundraisers. This month alone boasts totally ArtCentric, raising money for Bethlehem Centers of Nashville on Sept. 8-15, and Artrageous, benefiting Nashville CARES on Sept. 28. Then there’s Belmont University’s Alumni Association Fine Art Exposition and Sale, an art fundraiser that’s a little different from the rest. While other fundraisers focus on contemporary art, the Belmont benefit showcases the paintings of an artist who died more than 50 years ago. The artist is Frank Vincent DuMond (1865-1951), an important figure in the American Impressionist movement and a teacher whose influence on today’s artists remains surprisingly strong.
The DuMond exhibit comes to Belmont fresh from a stop at the Hunter Museum in Chattanooga, where works by the artist and those of his student Arthur Maynard (1921-1991) and Maynard’s students John Osborne and Gary Fifer were showcased. The Belmont version of the show includes works by those artists but also highlights the works of Frank Mason, another DuMond student who continues to influence artists working in traditional styles today. Nashville painters Joseph Sulkowski and his wife Elizabeth Brandon both studied with Mason and actually met each other in his class at The Art Students League of New York. The couple’s paintings are also featured in the Belmont show.
DuMond was born in Rochester, N.Y., and studied at The Art Students League himself before heading to Paris in 1888. He enjoyed success there, winning a medal with his first entry to the Paris Salon in 1890. While in Paris he absorbed the influences of French Impressionism, knowledge he would pass on to his pupils during his own 59-year tenure at The Art Students League. His students there included Georgia O’Keeffe and John Marin, though neither followed in DuMond’s more traditional footsteps.
One student who did was Maynard, a painter of landscapes and marine scenes. “The painter is not an accountant,” Maynard once said. “His job is not to record every detail but to simplify and distill the essence of the scene.” Maynard’s Impressionistic approach to art can be seen in the works of Osborne, a New Jersey artist/teacher noted for the atmospheric effects in his landscapes, and Fifer, a plein air painter who will be in Nashville for the opening of the show and will be teaching two outdoor painting classes at Radnor Lake during his visit.
Highlights of the show itself include DuMond’s “Christ and the Fisherman,” an epic-scale biblical painting, as well as several of the artist’s more Impressionistic landscapes like “Misty Day on the Lieutenant River.” Other representative works are Maynard’s “Afternoon Shadows,” which depicts a farm and its workers in the golden light of late afternoon, and Osborne’s “Thompson’s Pass,” a snowy landscape infused with the cold, clear light of a winter’s day. Six paintings by Sulkowski, best known for his hunt and sporting scenes, are also included, and there are five Impres-sionistic paintings by Brandon on view as well.
The show offers Nashvillians a chance to see works by respected American artists working in styles that hover under the radar of the contemporary art scene. “Painters following in the footsteps of Frank DuMond turn their talents toward what is positive and beautiful,” notes the Hunter Museum catalog. “Theirs is an optimistic art and can be seen in contrast to some art of the recent past. Part of a large and powerful plein air movement in the U.S., they are using their trained vision and skill to celebrate the wonder of nature.” The Belmont exhibit is free and open to the public. Many of the works can be purchased at the sale Oct. 4-6, with proceeds benefiting scholarships and other university programs.
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