This month, we turn our attention to the adventurous, free-spirited Sagittarius! Sagittarius individuals, born November 23 – December 21, are known for their “larger than life” personalities. They view life as a challenge and embrace opportunities for personal growth and development. The ultimate goal for a Sagittarius is to discover the meaning of life, which results in a desire to make the most of every situation. At times, their ambition is equated with recklessness or inconsistency but, in reality, their pursuits are often thoughtful and purposeful. Sagittariuses have a contagious enthusiasm and passion for life and believe nothing is out of reach!
The DMA’s collection features a handful of splendid Sagittarius artists, including Winston Churchill (November 30), Georges Seurat (December 2), Gilbert Stuart (December 3), Stuart Davis (December 7), Helen Frankenthaler (December 12), Wassily Kandinsky (December 16), and Paul Klee (December 18).
Winston Churchill – November 30
Sir Winston Churchill is not often known for his artistry but for his profound impact and contributions as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940-1945 and 1951-1955. His strength and pride guided the British public through the Battle of Britain in 1940 and his speech “We Shall Never Surrender” remains an emblem of British courage today. Yet, through his art, the softer, introspective side of this prominent figure is revealed. As referenced by his daughter Mary Soames in the book Sir Winston Churchill’s Life Through his Paintings, Churchill’s paintings demonstrate a profound sensitivity and keen interest in the therapeutic qualities of art. In fact, in his essay Painting as a Pastime, Churchill raises questions about the relationship between memory and the act of painting. Thus, in his art as in his political policies, Churchill reveals a Sagittarius’ interest in explaining and justifying the world around him.
Wassily Kandinsky – December 16
Wassily Kandinsky traveled extensively between 1903 and 1908, visiting the Netherlands, Italy, Tunisia, France, and Germany. The painting above was created en plein air during his stay in Murnau, Germany, where he eventually settled from 1908 – 1914. His life in Murnau and nearby Munich marked a critical period in his artistic development, beginning his transition from realistic depictions to more abstract and representational forms. The artwork above is indicative of this slow shift as the street begins to dissolve into a field of thick brush-strokes and areas of blocked colors. Ultimately, Kandinsky sought to invest his paintings with spiritual imagery without using representational subjects. In this way, he was operating according to the Sagittarius desire to create a meaningful and purposeful life.
Paul Klee – December 18
Paul Klee aspired to develop an artistic language that “synthesized the ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ worlds into a pictorial whole,” viewing artistic production as a spiritual experience of equal importance to the final product. As such, he was extremely interested in the art produced by tribal cultures, children, and the insane. His art reflects this curiosity and is intended to appear naïve and untutored. Because of his dedication to exploring art production as a spiritual and natural process, Klee is often recognized as a theoretician. He famously stated, “Art does not reproduce the visible but makes visible.”
Thank you for catching up on a few of our favorite DMA Sagittarius artists! Don’t forget to read next month’s blog for information about our caring Capricorns.
- Winston Churchill, View of Menton, 1957, Dallas Museum of Art, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection
- Wassily Kandinsky, Murnau, Burggrabenstrasse 1, 1908, 1908, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Art Association Purchase
- Paul Klee, Around the Core (Um den Kern), 1935, Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift in appreciation for Dr. Dorothy Kosinski, The Barbara Thomas Lemmon Curator of European Art
McDermott Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching
For the past three weeks, C3 has been undergoing some creative construction. Today our gallery reopens with a few new works of art. See if you can piece together one of the new works on view by the details below:
Still need a hint? The origin of this riddle may give you a clue:
“I have billions of eyes yet I live in darkness. I have millions of ears yet only four lobes. I have no muscles, yet I move two hemispheres. What am I?”
Plan your next visit to C3 soon to see this artwork and the other new works that are currently on view!
C3 Gallery Coordinator
For the past six-and-a-half years, the Dallas Museum of Art has been my home. I have often referred to my office as my “apartment,” and my co-workers have come to feel like my family. But sometimes, you need to move away from home and on to something new, and now is that time for me. I have accepted a position as the Assistant Director of Interpretive Programming at the Cincinnati Art Museum, and December 9th will be my last day at the DMA.
It’s very bittersweet to be leaving a place (and people) that I love. But my new job will present opportunities to plan programs for visitors of all ages–from toddlers to adults–and I’m looking forward to broadening my knowledge of Museum Education through this new position. And I’ll be a lot closer to my family in Michigan, which will be wonderful.
As I reflect back on my time in Dallas, it’s tough to narrow down my favorite DMA memories. I’m not sure what I’ll miss most!
Maybe my desk–but a lot of these things will be moving to Ohio with me.
Or maybe the Scrabble game that has been occurring on my file cabinet for the past year.
I’ll certainly miss our docents, whose passion and dedication to the DMA continues to amaze and inspire me.
And I will most definitely miss the clever and talented students of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. My time with them has been one of the highlights.
I’ll miss the DMA’s amazing collection, including The Icebergs. We all jumped for joy when it returned to the galleries earlier this year.
And most of all, I will miss the DMA Education department. They have taught me everything I know about being a Museum Educator, and they’re not just my colleagues. They are my dearest friends. I’ll especially miss our retreats and off-site meetings–we know how to have fun while getting work done!
Thank you to everyone who has made my time at the DMA so memorable–from students to teachers and from the docents to my colleagues. I will miss everyone very much, but hope to see y’all again soon!
Manager of Docent and Teacher Programs
Hopper Drawing: A Painter’s Process, currently on view at the DMA, is the first exhibition to explore the drawings of American artist Edward Hopper. Hopper is most well-known for his paintings. In fact, Hopper’s paintings inspired some Alfred Hitchcock films! It’s not as widely known that Hopper was great with a pencil or pen and paper, and he often sketched to work out themes that interested him. Many of these themes later became the subjects of his celebrated paintings.
Hopper did not draw strictly from reality. The artist explained that he worked both “from the fact” and by “improvising,” or working from his imagination. Though he worked from visual observation, he would tweak elements of his composition. Perhaps he would remove a lamppost, add a figure, or slightly change the angle of perspective.
In this exhibition, you can learn about Hopper’s process not only by observing his drawings, but also by trying it out yourself. After entering Hopper Drawing, pick up a pencil and a clipboard from the wall in the first gallery. Be inspired by Hopper’s sketches around you and draw your own surroundings. This could be people, things, or the interiors or exteriors of buildings. Then, combine your observational sketches into one composition that incorporates elements from reality and your imagination, in the same way Hopper worked out compositions for his paintings through sketching.
We look forward to seeing what you create!
Andrea Severin Goins
On Monday, DMA staff broke bread together for a Thanksgiving potluck. Check out all the amazing treats and eats we enjoyed!
We hope you and yours enjoyed a delicious Thanksgiving holiday too!
Assistant to the Chair of Learning Initiatives
At this time of year, many people begin to take stock of moments and experiences they are thankful for. The act of sharing this gratitude with others, and reviewing those things that may have been taken for granted, can actually increase an individual’s well-being. According to Cicero, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues but the parent of all others.” In an effort to spread this sense of well-being to our Canvas blog readers, I asked my colleagues in the Education Division to share a work of art from the DMA’s permanent collection or special exhibitions that they are thankful for—whether it is a work they enjoy visiting in a moment of free time; or perhaps one they regularly use in a program; or even a work of art they would like to learn more about. Enjoy their responses below and of course, feel free to share your own!
- Amanda Batson – C3 Program Coordinator. I am thankful for The Halberdier by Ferdinand Hodler, located in our European collection. This massive work of art confronts you as you exit the blue elevators in an inescapable way. At first glance, the soldier seems fierce and almost living up to his reputation as the ultimate protector of Switzerland. I am incredibly thankful for this work of art by Hodler because no matter how fierce or stoic it may seem—it has a bit of whimsy. If you look closely you will notice that the mustache of the Swiss soldier goes up towards his cheek on one side and down towards his chin on the other. I am not sure what the intention of the artist was but I cannot help but laugh about this every time I see it! Some days you just really need a laugh!
- Amelia Wood - McDermott Intern for Family and Access Teaching. When Jim Hodges: Give More Than YouTake opened in October, I immediately felt a connection with the artwork.I was especially struck by Diary of Flowers (When We Met). My interest in diaries was sparked when I saw Day After Day: The Diaristic Impulse at the University Art Museum in Albany, NY, last spring.Artists involved in this show were focused on recording their daily lives, including personal rituals, narratives, and experiences. I’ve never been great at keeping a diary, and I was moved by the way in which the process of keeping a diary forces you to slow down and appreciate day-to-day life. Hodges Diary of Flowers has evoked a similar response in me, and I’ve enjoyed revisiting the artwork when I need a reminder to slow down and, well, smell the flowers.
- Rhiannon Martin – Volunteer Coordinator. I am thankful for the sculpture garden as a whole, because it is a nice place to escape from the busy work day for a bit and enjoy the weather when it’s nice out. The sculptures throughout the lawn are a beautiful backdrop and help to create a wonderful space to sit and relax.
Amy Elms - McDermott Intern for Visitor Engagement. I’m thankful for Family Portrait 1963 because it helped me to become oriented with the DMA’s weekend Studio Creations when my internship first began. Martin Delabano’s sculpture is filled with so much hidden meaning and is also made from a variety of found objects. While helping with Studio Creations in September, I really enjoyed learning about ways that visitors of all ages can become engaged with a work of art.
- Leah Hanson - Manager of Early Learning I’m grateful for Henri Matisse’s Ivy in Flower primarily because it just makes me happy. I like the bold, clean shapes, the colors, and the order of it. Matisse was a favorite of mine in the art history classes I took, and I wrote a paper about his cut paper collages in particular. I liked that he found a way to create even at a time when it could have been easy to give up or lose hope. When I finally got to see this in person, I was so amazed at how large it is…you can never tell that in a reproduction or a print. I loved when it was hanging in the Concourse just outside C3 because I saw it every day.
- JC Bigornia - C3 Program Coordinator. I’m impacted to this day by the 2007 special exhibition Phil Collins: The World Won’t Listen. It’s one of my top five all-time favorite DMA exhibitions, and I can still feel the energy and sheer joy of being in that space. It’s hard to describe the appeal of watching people sing karaoke, and I certainly hadn’t listened to much of The Smiths before that show. I think what resonated for me was the absolute love and passion that each person brought to their performance; you could totally empathize with that person’s sense of happiness, loss, etc. I used to spend part of every day in that exhibition because no matter how down I felt, I always came out of there feeling charged up…there’s really no other word to describe it except infectious. I was always thankful to have that kind of place to escape to and I think the lessons I took away from each of the participant’s performances—bravery, honesty, compassion—will always stay with me.
- Jessica Fuentes – C3 Gallery Coordinator. I’m thankful for HI-C Avenger by John Hernandez. I love that this piece is so bright and energetic. It catches the attention of visitors of all ages, and as it is currently installed at the entrance of the Center for Creative Connections, an interactive educational space for all ages, it is a perfect fit! I also love telling visitors that this is a piece by a Texas based artist who used to live in Oak Cliff and graduated from UNT. Having work by local artists can be so inspiring to young artists.
- Hayley Prihoda - McDermott Intern for Gallery and Community Teaching. Picturing that Day stood out to me on my first tour of the Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take exhibition and, after innumerable visits, has remained one of my favorite works in the show. Having performed in choir in high school, the imagery of the sheet music immediately reminded me of my adolescence. Upon closer examination, I was excited to discover that the piece also features two of my favorite songs – “Landslide” and “Climb Every Mountain”. My mom is a beautiful singer and my sister and I grew up listening to Fleetwood Mac and watching the Sound of Music. Now that I am 1000 miles away from my family, I am very grateful to have this connection to home on view at the DMA.
- Amanda Blake – Head of Family, Access, and School Experiences. I am thankful for Isaac Soyer’s Art Beauty Shoppe in the American galleries. In graduate school I focused on American art from the 1920s and 1930s and wrote my thesis on two artists from the Fourteenth Street School. Every time I see this painting it is like visiting a familiar friend and traveling back in time to 14th street in New York City! I love teaching with this artwork because of its narrative aspects and sensory possibilities. I think this painting is a great one to use to teach about the social and cultural changes taking place in the early twentieth century and I enjoy using it with all ages.
Works of art shown:
- Ferdinand Hodler, The Halberdier, 1895, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund and gift of Nona and Richard Barrett
- Jim Hodges, Diary of Flowers (When We Met), 1994, Barbara and Michael Gamson
- Ellsworth Kelly, Untitled, 1982-1983, Dallas Museum of Art, commission made possible through funds donated by Michael J. Collins and matching grants from The 500, Inc., and the 1982 Tiffany & Company benefit opening
- Martin Delabano, Family Portrait 1963, 2001, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Bryant M. Hanley, Jr., Lorine and David H. Gibson, and Sonny Burt and Bob Butler
- Henri Matisse, Ivy in Flower, 1953, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, gift of the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation
- Phil Collins, dunia tak akan mendengar, 2007
- John Hernandez, HI-C Avenger, 1992, acrylic on wood, Dallas Museum of Art, Texas Artists Fund
- Jim Hodges, Picturing That Day, 2002, The Art Institute of Chicago
- Isaac Soyer, Art Beauty Shoppe, 1934, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Public Works of Art Project
I’d like to say how thankful I am to all of you who shared some of your favorite works of art!
In the spirit of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, DMA staff came together yesterday to celebrate with a potluck and pie competition–which of course, yours truly had to enter. And wouldn’t you know, we have the perfect print to match: Thanksgiving. Is this what your kitchen will look like come Thursday? While it was only me in the kitchen baking pie this weekend, it sure felt this chaotic! Although I can’t say my pie was an official DMA winner, the presentation certainly did have that wow factor. And the rich chocolate flavor is bound to knock your socks off. Happy Thanksgiving!
Crust recipe courtesy my mom. Pie recipe adapted from Southern Living.
Assistant to the Chair of Learning Initiatives