Minneapolis Institute of Art in Minneapolis, MN

The Minneapolis Institute of Art is a treasure. To get a sense of the vastness and variety of their collection, have a look at two prior blog posts I did on the Portraits from the Kunin Collection, and a special exhibition In the Presence of Our Ancestors.

Below are some of the highlights from the rest of the museum. I had to be ruthless in editing down the photos I took from a truly spectacular visit. A trip to Minneapolis must include a visit to the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Max Beckmann, Blind Man’s Bluff, 1945
Oil on canvas

Blind Man’s Bluff is the most important of the five triptychs created by Max Beckmann while exiled in Holland between 1937-1947 – an exile necessitated by the Nazi’s inclusion of ten of his works in their exhibition of “degenerate art” in 1937.” (MIA)

The Beckmann piece was so large. In stark contrast was the Vuillard painting below. It was quite small, and there was a plexiglass box over the frame and painting. It was incredibly charming.

Edouard Vuillard, The Artist’s Mother Opening a Door, c. 1891-92
Oil on cardboard
John Singer Sargent, The Birthday Party, 1885
Oil on canvas
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Seated Girl, 1910 (altered 1920)
Oil on canvas
Egon Schiele, Portrait of Paris von Gutersloh, 1918
Oil on canvas

Having not heard of Myron Kunin until my visit to the MIA, I was on the lookout for other paintings that were part of his collection, after seeing the amazing Portrait Collection. “Over a span of four decades, Myron Kunin assembled one of the most important private collections of American Modernism from the first half of the 20th century. It covers the diverse artistic styles and movements of the time, with innovative American modernists included alongside celebrated American realists. The strengths of the collection, and favorites of Mr. Kunin, are represented in these galleries: nudes, circus talent, social themes, land-and-seascapes, abstraction and portraits. That the story of American art can be told so thoroughly and so engagingly through this slice from a much larger collection is a credit to Mr. Kunin’s eye and to his irrepressible love of the chase after great art.” (MIA)

Philip Guston, Halloween Party, 1943
Oil on canvas
Myron Kunin Collection of American Art
Marsden Hartley, Prayer on Park Avenue, 1942
Oil on panel
Myron Kunin Collection of American Art
George Tooker, Coney Island, 1948
Tempera on panel
Myron Kunin Collection of American Art

I think I found my favorite Jacob Lawrence painting of all time: Subway Acrobats.

Jacob Lawrence, Subway Acrobats, 1959
Tempura on board
Myron Kunin Collection of American Art
Beaufort Delaney, Sheridan Square, 1951
Oil on canvas
Myron Kunin Collection of American Art
Beaufort Delaney, Untitled (Washington Square Park), 1952
Oil on canvas
Myron Kunin Collection of American Art
Vincent D. Smith, Basketball Players, 1965
Oil on board
Myron Kunin Collection of American Art
George Ault, Leaving Port, 1927
Oil on canvas
Myron Kunin Collection of American Art
Horace Pippin, John Brown Reading His Bible, 1942
Oil on canvas board
Myron Kunin Collection of American Art
Peter Blume, Maine Coast, 1026
Oil on canvas
Myron Kunin Collection of American Art
Bob Thompson, Bird Bacchaneal, 1964
Oil on canvas
Myron Kunin Collection of American Art

If you follow my instagram (womanseekingart), and if you don’t, please do, you will know of my obsession with Surrealism. The MIA features a large room filled with work by surrealist artists. I narrowed it down to the three images below, or you’d honestly be here all day.

“Many artists in Europe and the Americas found their relationship to reality tested by catastrophic events in the first half of the 20th century. Two devastating world wars (1914-1918 and 1939-45) brought unprecedented death and destruction. The collapse of the U.S. economy during the Great Depression (1929-39) disrupted commerce through the world. Lives were turned upside down, and many people found their beliefs challenged.

Artists in this period responded by imaginatively reshaping their world. Many depicted dreamlike and nightmarish imageRay as clearly as possible. Some preferred to reorder the world into a system of personal symbols or a network of entangled lines. Others become social critics, pointing to inequities in society and depicting politicians as fools. Whatever approach artists took, the artwork remains dramatic and full of mysterious possibilities.” (MIA)

Yves Tanguy, Through Birds, Through Fire but Not Through Glass, 1943
Oil on canvas
Salvador Dali, Aphrodisiac Telephone, 1938
Plastic, metal
Joseph Cornell, Dovecoat: Hinged Columbier (Untitled), 1950
Box construction

“Georgia O’Keefe produced more than twenty scenes of New York City between 1925 and 1930.” (MIA) I really like the painting below as, at least to me, it didn’t immediately say O’Keefe.

Georgia O’Keefe, City Night, 1926
Oil on canvas
Paul Gauguin, Tahitian Landscape, 1891
Oil on canvas
Amoako Boafo, 2pc Floral Suit, 2020
Oil on canvas with appliqué

I have seen a lot of work by Amy Sherald, but never a screen print. A 35-color screen print no less!

Amy Sherald, Handsome, 2020
35-color screen print on Coventry Rag 335 gsm

I had not heard of Mimi Gross before, and I really like her work. “Gross’s formative years were spent around artists, some of whom, like her father the sculptor Chaim Gross, were Jewish immigrants. Artists Milton Avery, Peter Blume, Stuart Davis, Arshile Gorky, Marsden Hartley, Jacob Lawrence, Ellie Nadelman, all of the Soyer brothers (Moses, Raphael and Isaac), and George Grosz, were constant visitors to their house, creating a rich cultural and intellectual environment in which Mimi found her own artistic identity.” (MIA). Mimi Gross’s partner and fellow artist was Red Grooms.

Mimi Gross, Bagno a Ripoli (Firenze), 1961
Oil on canvas

There were so many rooms, and different collections at the museum, and I had limited time to spend, but who couldn’t stop for Eames and Fornasetti?

Piero Fornasetti, Four-paneled folding screeen, 1958
Laminated wood, pigments

Charles and Ray Eames, DAR (Dining Armchair Rod) armchair, 1952
Fiberglass-reinforced polyester, steel

There was a lovely exhibition of Japanese print artist Amano Kazumi’s (1927-2001) work.

Amano Kazumi, Self-figure (mirror), 1965
Woodblock print, ink and color on embossed paper
Detail of the embossing on another Kazumi piece

Sixties Psychedelia San Francisco Rock Posters from the Paul Maurer Collection was a room full of beautiful vintage posters. “The 1960s was a tumultuous time in the United States. Amid a generational reckoning with racial injustice, authoritarian patriarchy, and an escalating war in Vietnam, San Francisco, California emerged as the center of a youth-oriented, anti-establishment counterculture whose progressive idealism included broad minded acceptance of sexual expression and experimentation with mind-altering hallucinogens. Inventive forms of music and art flourished, fueling the rise of psychedelic rock – a musical genre rooted in early blues, jazz, and folk-based rock. Dance concerts, often accompanied by light shows, became the principal venue for the new “San Francisco” sound. The concert poster was its promotional mainstay.

In 2019, Minneapolis collector Paul Maurer gave more than 200 vintage concert posters to MIA, most dating from the “golden age“ of psychedelic potter design (1966-1969).” (MIA)

A trip to a museum for me is complete if I see at least a few good pieces of ceramics. Well this museum had a lot of wonderful ceramic work, and I narrowed it down to four images.

Zsolnay Art Pottery, Grand vase, 1899
Earthenware with iridescent metallic-lustre “eosin” glaze
Magdalene Odundo
Reduced Black Piece, 1990 Ceramic
Untitled, 1985 Burnished and carbonized terra cotta
Untitled, 1985 Burnished and carbonized terra cotta

Mangbetu artist, Vessel, 1930 Terra cotta
Les Namingha, Overlay, c. 2014
Ceramic pigments
Deep Bowl with Four Projections 2500-1500 BCE
Jomon period, Japan

Be still my heart, as I came upon my absolute favorite time period of all pottery, the Jomon period from Japan. The middle period to be exact. “It’s flamboyant rim, a typical feature of the middle period of Jomon pottery, is known as the “fire-flame” because the coils of clay resemble leaping flames. The word Jomon, after which the historical period is named, means “cord markings” and derives from the distinctive patterns produced by rolling a rope wrapped stick across the surface of the clay. The lower portion of this vessel bears those markings together with whimsical designs carved into the surface of the clay.” (MIA)

It was super hard to photograph this piece as it was in a glass case, but you also get a peek at a pretty green Chihuly piece off to the back right.

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