[Patrick Henry Bruce (1881-1936) Leaves, ca. 1912, Oil on canvas, 10-1/2 x 14 inches, Spanierman Gallery LLC.]
Lately I've been revisiting the High's permanent collection, specifically the American art from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. One of the paintings that really has a hold on me is a vivid green Fauve-influenced take on leaves by expat Virginian, Patrick Henry Bruce. It's from around 1910 when he was in Paris studying with Matisse and, at the same time, very inspired by Cézanne's style. (Spanierman Gallery has another lovely example of Bruce's work from this period, shown above.) Later Bruce became influenced by Sonia and Robert Delaunay and Orphism but, as Grace Glueck notes here, throughout his life Bruce was sadly under-appreciated. Tides turn, though, and decades after his death scholars and gallerists came to admire his contribution as an American Modernist.
Fig Leaf on a smaller footstool that may or may not be the same age as his earlier works. Everytime I look at it, I think of the High's painting.
[George Bellows, Portrait of Anne, 1915 High Museum of Art.]
For any designer looking to be inspired by rich turquoise-blues, greens and purples, these hues can be found in abundance in the High's galleries of early-20th-century American art (pottery, glass and paintings). The collection also includes a tiny gem, View of Fez, one of Henry Ossawa Tanner's less conservative paintings influenced by his Moroccan travels. And I always like to stop and study the small works by George Ferdinand Of (1876 - 1954).
By the way, LACMA has more information on Tanner in Tangiers.
[Joseph Rodefer DeCamp, The Blue Mandarin Coat (The Blue Kimono), 1922 High Museum of Art.]
Patrick Henry Bruce's work is included in Picasso and the Avant-Garde in Paris, currently on view through April 25 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. As the Museum explains, Bruce was among the artists who followed Picasso’s example and moved to Paris during the first half of the 20th century, a critical period in the history of art.
I recieve no compensation for talking about Fig Leaf. Just obsessed with it. Speaking of passion for art and design, click here to learn about the Vogel Collection.