First Impressions at Four Arts

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The Society of the Four Arts al fresco! As many as 200 of Palm Beach’s culturati attended Friday night’s opening of the Esther B. O’Keeffe Gallery’s current exhibition. A plein-air reception was held on the center green allée bordered by the stately royal palms. At one time, the O’Keeffe Gallery and the Gubelmann Auditorium housed E. R. Bradley’s Embassy Club, designed by Addison Mizner.

More than a century ago easel painters were inspired by the wonder of America’s sublime picturesque settings, just as subdivisions, shopping malls, office parks, condominiums, and asphalt parking lots have captured much of today’s imagination. The Society of the Four Arts current exhibition, In a New Light: American Impressionism 1870–1940, focuses on mid-19th and early 20th-century brush-and-canvas artists classified as American Impressionists, among them, George Innes, Childe Hassam, Thomas Moran, John Sloan, Ernest Lawson, Daniel Garber, and Guy Carleton Wiggins. The nostalgic paintings were curated from the Bank of America Collection.

Since 2009 more than 140 museums have borrowed  exhibitions from the bank’s collection. The Four Arts show of 130 works by 75 artists represents “the emergence and evolution of a truly American style,” according to the Bank of America. This broad survey includes works from the era’s prominent regional art colonies, embedding a historical context for American Impressionism by positioning it between the Hudson River School and Modernism, as seen in later pieces on view. Boston, Cos Cob, New Hope, Cape Ann, Taos, Carmel, Santa Barbara, and Pasadena are among the art circles represented.

There was a sense of joie de vivre.

For perspective on The Four Arts’ showcase, I took a look on a recent late Friday afternoon at some of the latest offerings found in Palm Beach galleries located along Worth Avenue and Royal Poinciana Plaza. Considering the gridlock of double-parked cars, the number of Ubers circling the block looking for their passengers, and the cacophony of car horns, Canadian truckers may have met their match, as sporadic blockades have become part of Worth Avenue’s appeal.

Philip Rylands, The Four Arts president and CEO, and Mickey Beyer.
Some guests went from the reception to the exhibition while others toured the gallery first before imbibing at the open bar as trays of hors d’oeuvres were passed by Nosh Catering.
The Esther B. O’Keeffe Building entrance.
Rachel Schipper, The Four Arts director of libraries. Featured on the poster, artist Felicie Waldo Howell’s Wall Street, The Noon Hour, 1925.
Hampton Lynch & April Russell.
Kathryn Vecellio and Michel Witmer, The Four Arts chairman of the Fine Arts committee.
Exhibition entrance. In a New Light: American Impressionism 1870-1940. Works from the Bank of America Collection.
Central gallery, east wall, looking toward the south gallery.
View west from the southeast gallery.
Melinda and Tom Hassen.
L. to r.: Anka Palitz; Nancy Reynolds.
March 2015. Vizcaya Hat Luncheon. The last time I photographed Nancy she was standing to Lucy Day’s right. To Lucy’s left, her husband Nat Day. It was a beautiful day and Nat and Lucy had invited a group to join them for a day at Vizcaya. The photo was taken at Vizcaya’s Casino atop the Garden Mound that affords 360-degree views, including the now Lost Gardens to the south. Lucy passed away in June 2020. Thank you Lucy for the wonderful times. Cheers!
Michael Kovner and Jean Doyen de Montaillou.

Scene at the Gavlak Gallery

FriendsWithYou is the collaboration of Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval who “remix modern archetypes to tell new stories.” Above, Unified Field II, 2019.
ALEX ANDERSON. Burn It All Away, 2021. Earthenware, glaze and gold luster.

At Lehmann Maupin

The work of Osgemeos is the creation of Brazilian street artists who happen to be identical twins, Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo.
A work by Osgemeos.
Longtime Via Parigi gallerist John Surovek with Tilly.

At The Four Arts reception

Ann and Tom Johnson.
Paul and Ami Titus.
Mickey Beyer and Babette Cohen.
Wray Kunkle.
Nightfall at Palm Beach. Guests enjoy the outdoors. In the background: Gioconda & Joseph King Library, The Society of the Four Arts.
O’Keeffe Gallery, center hall. Michel Witmer, Fine Arts committee chairman with Andy Warhol’s exceptional Lamentation, from the series Martha Graham, 1986.
The current exhibition is scheduled for February 12, 2022 – April 16, 2022.

Photography Augustus Mayhew.

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