Fall 2012

Mythological Sculpture in the Cornell Fine Arts Museum Collection
Orientation Gallery

Although best known for its extensive holdings of paintings and prints, the Cornell Fine Arts Museum collection is not limited to two-dimensional works.  Our sculptural works include Asian and Christian religious figures and abstract contemporary works side by side with neoclassic statues from Europe and the United States and Japanese warrior and court dolls.  In an effort to make our three-dimensional treasures better known, we will be rotating thematic exhibitions in the Orientation Gallery.  Our first display is dedicated to Greek and Roman mythology.

A myth, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is a traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon.  In the Greek and Roman worlds, mythology was largely the story of the majority religion; in post-antique cultures, it became a treasure trove of subjects for artists in all media.  The captivating stories and the universality of their symbolism offered an almost endless array of interpretations, assuring the survival of mythology as a source of inspiration through the centuries.

                 Hero and Leander                                    Hero and Leander detail

Hippolyte François Moreau (French, 1832–1927)               
Hero Waving to Leander, c. 1895
Bronze, 40 1/2 x 15 x 15 in.
Gift of George H. Sullivan
Cornell Fine Arts Museum 1950.36.S


The son of a sculptor from Dijon, Hippolye François Moreau learned his craft originally in his father's studio and then at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris.  Moreau had a predilection for mythological subjects, which may be why the donor of this piece titled it Hero Waving to Leander, in spite of no specific details pointing to the story.

Star-crossed lovers who cannot bear to live without one another are hard to resist by artists:  the story of Hero and Leander has been used extensively not only in visual art (from the frescoes of Pompeii to this nineteenth-century sculpture) but also in music and literature.  From antiquity's Ovid to Christopher Marlowe in the Renaissance to John Keats during the 1800's, poetry and prose mused on the tragic fate of the young lovers.  Georg Friedrich Handel used it as inspiration for his music, as did Robert Schumann and Franz Liszt.


The Mysterious Content of Softness
(September 15 - December 30, 2012)  NOW THROUGH JAN. 6, 2013

Bringing together 11 national and international artists in various stages of their careers, The Mysterious Content of Softness explores the transformative power of fiber and its connection to the human body.  Whether employing time-honored techniques such as knitting, crochet, embroidery, and loom weaving, or foraying into new uses of traditional textiles, these artists explore the physical, psychological, and cultural associations of fiber to the body. 

The exhibition title is inspired by the words of artist Magdelena Abakanowicz, whose enormous fiber sculptures made her one of the most celebrated artists of our time.  Regarding the fragility of life in an artist's statement from 1979, Abakanowicz observed the "destruction of soft life and the boundless mystery of the content of softness" leading the artist to embrace "that which was soft with a complex tissue" as materials in her work.

Featured artists in The Mysterious Content of Softness include:  Diem Chau, Lauren DiCioccio, Angela Ellsworth, James Gobel, Angela Hennessy, Rock Hushka, Lisa Kellner, Miller & Shellabarger, L.J. Roberts, Jeremy Sanders, and Nathan Vincent.

The Mysterious Content of Softness is organized by the Bellevue Arts Museum and curated by Stefano Catalani.

Click here to read about The Mysterious Content of Softness in the OnView Magazine!

Diem Chau-Bound    Lisa Kellner-Almost Perfect
Diem Chau
Bound, 2010
Porcelain plate, organza, cotton fabric & thread
6 1/2 x 9 x 3/4 in.
Photo courtesy of artist

Lisa M. Kellner
Almost Perfect, 2011
Silk, pigment, paint, thread, embroidered text, surgical pins
42 x 31 x 6 in.
Photo courtesy of artist



Nathan Vincent-Locker Room  
Nathan Vincent
Locker Room, 2010
Crocheted yarn, foam, wire, and polyester stuffing
Yarn donated by Lion Brand Yarn
Photo by Nora Atkinson or Steven Miller

Watch an Interview with Nathan Vincent
See Nathan Vincent on the Martha Stewart  Show 


roberts   Angela Hennessy

L.J. Roberts
We Couldn't Get In.  We Couldn't Get Out.(detail), 2006-2007
Hand-woven wire, crank-knit yarn, steel poles, assorted hardware
Courtesy of artist
Photo by Team Photogenic

Angela Hennessy
Midnight Disease, 2010
Crocheted thread, hairnets, velvet fuzz, framed in between glass
One of eight in the series
12 x 15 in.
Courtesy of artist



Lauren DiCioccio-Still Life   James Gobel
Lauren DiCioccio
Still, Life (detail), 2012
Hand-embroidery on cotton
2 1/2 x 6 1/4 in.
Photo by Nora Atkinson

James Gobel
Media Blitz, 2009
Felt, yarn, rhinestones, and acrylic on canvas
54 x 40 in.
Photo courtesy of artist


shellabarger and miller 

Miller & Shellabarger
Pink Tube, 2003–present
Various blends of pink yarn
Courtesy of Dutes Miller and Stan Shellabarger, and Western Exhibitions, Chicago
Photo by Derya San Photography


Angela Ellsworth   Rock Hushka

Angela Ellsworth
Seer Bonnet XlX (Flora Ann) detail, 2011
(1 bonnet) 24,182 pearl corsage pins, fabric, steel
60 x 30 x 16 in. (base 25 x 40 x 4 in.)
Image courtesy Lisa Sette Gallery

Rock Hushka
Absorb, 2001
Embroidered cotton (modified bullion stitch and seed stitch), and the artist's blood mounted on velveteen
5 x 4 3/4 in.
Photo courtesy of artist


Jeremy Sanders

Jeremy Sanders
Minister-Doctor-Officer (installation view), 2009-10
Hand dyed, handwoven cloth
Neckties handwoven lyocell and cotton, pigmented ink on silk lining
Shoes/boots handwoven locell and cotton, hand stitched leather, rubber soles, and pigmented ink on cotton lining
Courtesy of artist


The Prints of Gustave Baumann
(September 15 - December 30, 2012)  NOW THROUGH JAN. 6, 2013

Organized by the New Mexico Museum of Art, The Prints of Gustave Baumann centers around the artist's printmaking process.  This exhibition includes a series of prints and opaque watercolor studies that illustrate Baumann's mastery of the woodcut printmaking method; a sequence of blocks the artist carved and used to produce the print Spring Blossoms; and a series of seldom seen color woodcut prints depicting the rugged coast and mammoth trees of Northern California that round out the exhibition. 

Born in Magdeburg, Germany in 1881, Gustave Baumann immigrated to the United States with his family in 1891 where they established a home in Chicago.  At age sixteen, shortly after his father left the family, Baumann became an apprentice at a commercial print studio and began taking evening classes in drawing and design at the Art Institute of Chicago.  By 1903, the artist had established his own commercial art studio and, in 1905, he returned to Germany to study for a year at Munich's Kunstgewerbe Schule (School of Arts and Crafts).  While there, Baumann surveyed wood carving and the graphic arts, in particular the art of relief printmaking from Hans Neumann and Maxamilian Dasio.  Returning from his studies, Baumann resumed his work in Chicago and in Brown County, Indiana, where he perfected his woodcut technique.

The 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exhibition in San Francisco included a showing of artists' prints, where Baumann received his first significant national recognition by winning a gold medal for his color woodcut prints.  With the encouragement of artist Walter Ufer, Gustave Baumann spent the summer of 1918 in Taos, New Mexico.  On route back to the East Coast at the end of that season, Baumann stopped in Santa Fe.  While there, the New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts curator at that time, Paul Walter, arranged for living expenses and studio space for Baumann, located in the newly opened art museum.  Thus began the artist's enchantment with New Mexico, and Santa Fe in particular.  

Gustave Baumann became an integral part of the Santa Fe arts community, living there until his death in 1971.  It is Baumann's timeless images depicting Southwestern landscapes and regional traditions of New Mexico that are his best known.  


Old Santa Fee  Procession

Gustave Baumann (American, 1881-1971)
Old Santa Fe, 1924
Color woodcut, 6 x 7 in.
© New Mexico Museum of Art
Photo by Blair Clark

Gustave Baumann (American, 1881-1971)
Procession, 1930
Color woodcut with aluminum leaf, 14 1/2 x 14 in.
© New Mexico Museum of Art
Photo by Blair Clark


Summer Shadows  Summer Clouds

Gustave Baumann (American, 1881-1971)
Summer Shadows, 1916-1917
Color woodcut, 9 1/2 x 11 in.
© New Mexico Museum of Art
Photo by Blair Clark

Gustave Baumann (American, 1881-1971)
Summer Clouds, 1925
Color woodcut, 10 1/2 x 9 1/2 in.
© New Mexico Museum of Art
Photo by Blair Clark