Friday, July 27, 2012

Students Are Friends

Margaret, Jen, Linda and me in the gallery at Belmont

My students have always taught me more than I have been able to impart to them. They have also become friends over the years. For both reasons, I am very grateful.

Last week, as a result of my friend Linda's coordination, I went to Belmont with our friends Jen and Margaret. We all met one another during my pastel classes. Margaret took the photographs that I have included in this post, for which I am thankful! Belmont is the former home and studio of Gari Melchers, an artist who was living between the years of 1860 and 1932. At the age of seventeen, his parents sent him to Düsseldorf, Germany, to study art. He then studied in Paris, lived in Holland, and also painted in Brittany, France.

Some of Melchers' paintings
He was named an Officer in the French Legion of Honor in 1904, and in 1909 was appointed Professor of Art at the Grand Ducal Saxony School of Art in Weimar, Germany. He returned to the United States in 1915. At this time, he rented a studio in New York City. This studio was in the Bryant Park Studios, which was commissioned to be built by fellow artist Abraham Archibald Anderson. The building was immediately popular and designed with artist’s needs in mind. Other tenants included John LaFarge, Frederick Stuart Church, Winslow Homer, Augustus Saint-Gaudens and William Merritt Chase. Through study in art history, I was aware of all of these artists, but not Melchers. I am always fascinated with artists that are new to me, and would not have gone to Melchers’ home and studio without the prompting of my friends. Speaking of friends, while at Belmont, I discovered that Melchers was a friend of the artists Childe Hassam and John Singer Sargent.

Melchers' studio—Fabulous!!!
Melchers was very successful financially during his lifetime, which refutes the commonly held view that artists have to suffer for their art. His work hangs in many, many well-known museums, such as the Musee d'Orsay in Paris and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Despite the heat, the day was practically perfect. It is always a pleasure to be with fellow artists since we tend to speak the same mother tongue. We get excited about things that others rarely notice because we are always on the lookout for inspiration. The gardens at Belmont were lovely. A painting of the area may be in my future.

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