Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Memphis Beat

Anthropologie and the Dixon are teaming up for a celebration of women artists, Wonderland, on Friday, July 30 from 6 to 8 p.m. The festivities will include an Anthro fashion show, wine tastings and pairings, giveaways, and live music from Valencia Robinson. Tickets are $30 per person.

[Images courtesy Dixon Gallery and Gardens.]

Occupying a spacious John F. Staub-designed house and verdant surrounding grounds in Memphis, Dixon Gallery and Gardens opened to the public in the 1970s. This summer the museum has brought into focus the work of several persevering artists. Just to name two, Helen Turner (1858 - 1958), the well-known painter from New Orleans, and Clare Leighton (1898 - 1989), the British printmaker and illustrator, are both highlighted in eponymous retrospective shows. With Anthro's continuing interest in women artists, the Dixon event seems like a natural fit.

[Artist Anna-Wili Highfield, one of many creative people highlighted by Anthropologie, is pictured with her paper horse as featured in Man Shops Globe, from Sundance Channel.]

[Helen M. Turner (1858-1958) Sunny Room – Model Posing, 1924, Oil on canvas, 20 x 24 inches, 
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, Tennessee,
Gift of the Artist through the Isaac Delgado Museum of Art 50.26.]

I think Wonderland will help introduce younger guests to previous generations of artists with ties to the region. Although Turner's skillful, impressionist and representational paintings of interiors and domestic scenes may, at first glance, seem docile to contemporary audiences, she clearly had an adventurous, determined spirit to pursue an art career in the late 19th century.

 [Helen M. Turner (1858-1958) La Belle Creole, c. 1910, Oil on canvas, 30 1/8 x 25 inches,
    Collection of Rockford Art Museum, Rockford, Illinois.]

Her formal studies began with the New Orleans Art Union, and after years of working to earn her own money, she headed to the progressive Art Students League of New York where she was guided by William Merritt Chase. Always challenging herself, Turner also took advantage of free courses at the Cooper Union School of Design, completing her academic training when she was nearing middle age.

Today her work can be found in the permanent collections of museums including the Met, the High and the Morris. Looking through the Dixon's exhibition catalog, I was especially struck by Turner's lovely sense of color. More background is available here.

1 comment:

Emile de Bruijn said...

What an interesting painter, Helen Turner. The interior view gives a fascinating glimpse of the interiors of that period (the entirely bare wall!). And the woman with the fan reminds one of the marvellous Velazquez in the Wallace Collection in London:$