Last week I visited a show called “Coastal Impressions” Painters of the Jersey Shore 1880 -1940. It’s a small show with a lot of spirit. The 120 select works of art tell a story of significance and value that in my opinion should not to be missed.
Each room had a breath taking collection of impressionist art that I took my time absorbing. What stood out for me though was the thoughtfulness and respect given to acknowledging the less known but equally talented women of that time. For me it put a lot into perspective as I can tend to focus on women such as Cassatt and Morisot and cut myself off from the other women painters of that time. And they aren’t always easy to find information on.
I loved the diversity of interpretation and the opportunity to learn about artist’s I had not known of who painted right here in New Jersey in places I am familiar with. Two of the women represented were the mother and daughter duo Ida and Clara Stroud. Both Ida and Clara were accomplished watercolorists who studied at Pratt. I love the whimsical, folk art feel of some of Clara’s work. Both of the artists to me exhibited a high quality of sensitivity in their painting. The two women are also accredited for the inception of what became “The Manasquan River Group” a local painting group where Ida and Clara held classes and exhibitions. It still exists today.
Mildred Bunting Miller is another female artist represented in this show. Born in Philadelphia she began studying art at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts and The Art Students League. After a long career with the Academy she taught private lessons in Cape May and Birington, NJ. I love her use of color and light. For me there is a quiet, stillness that runs beneath the picture.
It’s an inspiring show that I highly recommend if you are in the Princeton, NJ area. It’s at the Morven Museum you can visit http://www.morven.org to learn more.
As an artist myself I find so much joy in viewing all these amazing pieces and especially those of the women. I admire and resonate with their courage and passion which is something to be celebrated! And it’s wonderful to have people and places that are inspired to put collections like this together so that the public can benefit from the rich history and talent that came before us!