The Muscatine Art Center’s collections were significantly enriched in 1992 by a gift of 27 works by such notables as Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse, Degas, Boudin, Chagall, Renoir and other European artists. The collection came from the estate of Mary Musser Gilmore in honor of her parents, Richard Drew Musser and Sarah Walker Musser.
This spring, the art center is welcoming art history speaker Carol Ehlers to present a series of lectures on featured artists from the Mary Musser Gilmore Collection. The series is titled “Artists Inspirations” and will focus on Pablo Picasso, Paul Signac and Raoul Dufy, as well as the artists who influenced each of them. The lectures will be held on the fourth Thursday of each month, beginning this week. The lectures will start promptly at 5:30 p.m. Admission is free.
Here is a glance at the series:
n Thursday, March 28. “Pablo Picasso Looks at Edgar Degas”
Picasso is said to have remarked that “good artists copy; great artists steal.” Throughout his long and prolific career, he often made works of art in response to his predecessors, quoting famous compositions by other artists. The subjects that had come to define Degas’ works — cabarets and cafes, portraits, women bathing and ballet dancers — can be seen in a variety of pieces from his early periods. His interest in Degas even inspired a series of etchings, made late in his career, in which Picasso depicted Degas himself.
n April 25 — “Paul Signac and the Utilization of Scientific Theory and Pointillism”
Neo-Impressionist Signac adopted the scientific theory of color and light refraction published by Eugene Chevreul and the model of pointillism he developed with his contemporary, Georges Seurat, to create a new phase of Post-Impressionism. See how these theories of color and the phenomena of perception influenced Signac’s art.
n May 23 — “Raoul Dufy Looks at Pissarro, Matisse and Braque”
Like Camille Pissarro and the Impressionists at the time, Dufy’s cheerful paintings depict events of the time, including views of the French Riviera and musical events. However, Impressionism was simply a step artistically. He then fell under the influence of the Fauves after being mesmerized by Henri Matisse. He later found that he needed to instill more austerity and soberness in his works, and Cubism fit the bill. Dufy preferred Georges Braque’s neutral, fractured paintings to the wild and painterly Fauvist style. He later gained a reputation for being a commercial artist after a lifetime of borrowing from different artistic movements.