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Reboot your eye for art

Reboot your Eye

Reboot your eye for art…We live in a culture of mass production and “sameness” yet we are all unique individuals with different tastes. So for the art collector we must be careful to challenge our eye – think about different approaches.

What is Modernism and how did it transform the American Art Scene? Well, there are books written on the introduction of European moderns to American painters and audiences in the 1913 Armory show and from that time forward the art world was in flux, realist academic painting challenged with the new urban realism of America and the new perspectives of European artists.It is interesting to look at artists such as James Herbert and see how he straddled this fluid art world.

The “Flag Dance” series clearly places James Herbert in the 20th century tradition of figurative American painting. Herbert throughout his youth was surrounded by New York’s throbbing urban reality with its dense and diversified populace. As a student of Kenneth Hayes Miller and a classmate of Reginald Marsh at the New York Arts Student League, Herbert honed his skill for figurative drawing and evidenced a fascination with stage “performers” rather than the local neighbors that attracted his artist colleagues. New York City showgirls and theatrical performers assimilate into his imagery of French inspired Napoleonic and court dancers. Courtesy Mary Tinti , PhD

James D. Herbert, Flag Dance #1, Oil on canvas 16” x 20” , $4,000.

Cathy @ 10:54 am

Tagged in: Reboot your eye for art

Reboot your eye…Thomas Sgorous

Reboot your eye for art…we live in a culture of mass production and “sameness” yet we are all unique individuals with different tastes. So for the art collector we must be careful to challenge our eye – think about different approaches. No better way to do this than seek an accomplished artist’s eye.  Thomas Sgorous had an eclectic personal collection showing that he “rebooted” his eye often.  Here a sampling of the array of works for sale from his personal collection.

From the personal collection of Thomas Sgorous (1927 – 2012)

Thomas Sgouros’ career spanned over 56 years, as a renowned illustrator and a distinguished painter of sublime watercolors and still life canvases in his later career.  Sgouros was a Professor Emeritus of the Rhode Island School of Design and recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts. Currently his work is handled by Cade Tompkins Projects in Providence.

For those who got to know Tom personally he was a very gentle, thoughtful and productive artist. His passion for his art remained consistent throughout his whole life. As with most artists Tom collected an assortment of artworks throughout his lifetime from friends and colleagues. Bert Gallery is pleased to have a number of those works for sale during the Winter Exhibition. His family wanted to place these works into the collection of other art appreciators in the community to cherish and enjoy the same way they did as children growing up surrounded by Tom’s favorites.

1. Pasquale Masiello, Washington Bridge, Oil on Canvas 30” x 36”, $850. SALE $700.

2. David Aldrich, Rock and Red and Green, Watercolor 13″ x 17″, framed $300. SALE $250.

3. Roger Pontbriand, Beach Scene, Oil on Canvas 20” x 30”, framed  $2,700. SALE $2,400.


4. Grace Albee, LEscarene 11/30, Wood Engraving, framed, $350.  SALE $275.

5. Walter Feldman, Grass, 1989, Lithograph 6″ x 6″ , unframed, Artist Proof  $40. SALE $20.

6. George Morrison, Abstraction,  Ink Paper 13” x 10”, 1959 $1,500. SALE $1,000.


Pasquale Masiello was born in Providence, Rhode Island, a son of Carlo and Angelina Masiello. He was a fine arts graduate of Rhode Island School of Design in 1935. During his college years, he spent summers in Provincetown studying painting with John R. Frazier. He travelled in Italy in 1957 and again in 1985 to paint. He settled in Attleboro where he began a 40 year career with the L.G. Balfour Company as an engraver.

His paintings and etchings have received many national awards and his works are represented in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Library of Congress in Washington, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and in many private collections.

He was a member of the Utopian Club and received a medal from this group of artisans and craftsmen. He was a lifelong member of the Providence Art Club, serving on the board of managers. He was also a member and on the board of managers of the Attleboro Museum. He twice won the Museum Prize at the Rhode Island School of Design.

This artist loved to teach, giving classes and lectures throughout New England in watercolor and etching. He died on April 7, 1987.

David Aldrich (1907 – 2002)  American watercolor painter and architect from Rhode Island.  The landscapes and city scapes that he painted were not painted with literal realism but rather with freedom and spontaneity in an attempt to capture the essence of the scene.

Alrich’s artistic career began as an architect in New York City, New York in 1933, with his uncle, Chester Holmes Aldrich, at Delano & Aldrich.  After his time in New York, he spent two years in Washington DC at the US Treasury Department.  In 1937 he became a partner in the architectural firm of Kent & Aldrich in Providence, RI.

He retained his interest in watercolor painting throughout his life, studying at the O’Hara School, the Positanto Workshop, the Rhode Island School of Design and attending figure study classes every week at the Providence Art Club, where he was a life member.

Roger Pontbriand is a recognized New England landscape painter and illustrator. Retired from his 30-year post as Associate Professor of Illustration at Rhode Island School of Design, Mr. Pontbriand spends his time painting the Outer Cape shore. Roger’s work uses color and form to move the eye into and around the canvas. With bold strokes, pulled together by pallet knife, and recognizable subject matter Pontbriand’s end result is a feast to the eye.

Roger Pontbriand (ILLUS ’59) former faculty member, passed away this February (2012).  Roger came to teach in 1961 as an Instructor in Illustration and retired as  Associate Professor in 1991. He served as Head of the Department of Illustration Studies, 1973-1977. Pontbriand was a recognized New England landscape painter and illustrator. After he retired, Pontbriand spent his time painting the Outer Cape shore.

Grace Albee (1890 -1985) Grace Albee’s wood engravings are testimony to a perceptive observer and skilled craftsman. The seasoned artist produced over two hundred prints in a sixty year career span and became noted as a keen observer of the world around her, be it a scene of Paris, elsewhere in France, Pennsylvania farm country, or the Rhode Island Sea Coast. Throughout her career she gained entry into thirty-three museum collections, membership to the National Academy of Design, and a retrospective exhibition of 93 wood engravings in 1976 at the Brooklyn Museum.

Walter Feldman (1925 – 2017) was born in 1925 in Lynn Massachusetts. After high school he became a student at the Yale School of the Fine Arts in 1942. After one semester he joined the army and served for two years in the European theatre in the infantry. He was awarded 4 battle stars, the Purple Heart and the combat infantry badge.

He reentered Yale in 1946, studied with Whilhem deKooning and Josef Albers . He received the BFA in 1950 and was awarded the Alice Kimball English Traveling Fellowship and spent the next months traveling and studying in France and Italy. He returned to Yale and received the MFA in 1951 and stayed on as Instructor of Painting for the next two years. In 1952 he received the print prize at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for his wood cut “ The Final Agony” .

In 1953 he was appointed to the art faculty at Brown University.

His work in printmaking received awards in a number of national exhibitions in 1953 ’54 and ’55. In 1957 he was awarded a senior Fulbright Fellowship and worked in painting and mosaic in Rome. In that same year he was awarded the gold medal in Milan’s “Mostra International for his self portrait. In the same year he received two major commissions: a multi color woodcut for the International Graphic Arts Society and for a series of exterior mosaic pavements for the new Temple Beth-El in Providence, Rhode Island

In 1959 he received the Childe Hassam purchase prize from the National Academy of Design and the Tonner prize from the American Color Print Society.

In 1960 he designed and executed a large exterior mosaic mural for Temple Emanu-el in Providence and was followed in 1961 with a series of seven stained glass windows in a Memorial Chapel in Providence.

He was awarded the George A. and Eliza Gardener Howard Fellowship and spent 1962 painting in Mexico where he absorbed a great deal of the pre Columbian imagery and culture. In1966 he painted a 32 panel mural for the new meeting hall of Temple Emanu-el in Providence. He was commissioned by the Gorham Silver Company to design a commemorative silver plate in 1973.

In 1976 he painted a 4,500 square foot exterior mural for the Union paper company.

His paintings during the period before and after the turn of the century were shown in numerous one man and group exhibitions in New York, Mexico City , London, Milan, and Boston. Since 1985 he has divided his time in painting and as the designer and publisher of artists’ book under the Ziggurat press imprint. His artists’ books are in over a 150 public collections including the museum of Modern Art and the Albert and Victoria Museum.

Retiring in 2007 he is now Visual Art Professor Emeritus of Brown University and continues painting and producing artists’ books .

George Morrison (1919 – 2000) From Grand Marais, Minnesota, George Morrison was an abstract-expressionist painter and sculptor, known for his wood collages and paintings inspired by Lake Superior. His focus was on texture: “I like the so-called magical surface of a painting, the marks the painter makes”. (234-Herskovik)

HIs training was in traditional art but in the late 1930s and early 1940s, he became established as an Abstract Expressionist and “for year was better known outside Native American art circles than within”. (375-Lester).

He was born on the Grand Portage Ojibwa Reservation in northern Minnesota and earned a scholarship to study commercial art in Minneapolis. He graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, went to New York City to the Art Students League, and then to Paris on a Fulbright Scholarship.

For 20 years he lived in New York and also taught at the Rhode Island School of Design, but returned to Minnesota in 1970. There he founded the Indian Studies Program at the University of Minnesota and was a professor of art until 1983. After that, he moved to the North Shore of Lake Superior until his death.

He became the first artist honored with the Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Fine Art from the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, Indiana, and in 1992, the Tweed Museum at the University of Minnesota in Duluth and the Minnesota Museum of American Art in St. Paul gave him a retrospective exhibition. In 2003, a solo exhibition is planned at the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian.
Marika Herskovic, Editor, “American Abstract Expressionism of the 1950s”
Jeanne Snodgrass, “American Indian Painters”
Patrick Lester, “Biographical Directory of Native American Painters”



Cathy @ 7:08 am

Tagged in: Reboot your eye for art

Reboot your eye for art….

Reboot your eye for art…we live in a culture of mass production and “sameness” yet we are all unique individuals with different tastes. So for the art collector we must be careful to challenge our eye – think about different approaches.

Vigorous Watercolors

For many years watercolors were considered an inferior art form as compared to oils, but by the late 19th century watercolors found an audience among artists, collectors and museums. Evidence of the master of watercolor is the exhibit of the French painter Jean Fragonard (1732- 1806) currently at the National Gallery in Washington DC.  Fragonard is  known for his rapidly executed, brightly colored paintings of lavishly costumed individuals and his work exemplifies the acceptance of watercolor as an important medium in the 18th century.

Watercolors by Marianne Stokes (1855-1927) and Sydney Burleigh are good examples of artists who have mastered the medium.  Both artists and others are now on view at Bert Gallery.

Marianne Stokes (1855-1927)


Stokes, Marianne (1855-1927), SLR, Undated., Portrait of a Victorian Lady

Watercolor on paper 16” diameter.                              $1,500.


Stokes, Marianne (1855-1927), SLR, Undated. Portrait of a Victorian Lady

watercolor on paper 15 ½” diameter.                           $1,500.


Marianne Stokes, born Marianne Preindlsberger, was an Austrian painter. She settled in England after her marriage to Adrian Scott Stokes (1854–1935), the landscape painter, whom she had met in Pont-Aven, Brittany in 1883. Stokes was considered one of the leading artists in Victorian England.

Preindlsberger was born in Graz, Austria. She first studied in Munich under Lindenschmidt and having been awarded a scholarship for her first painting Muttergluck, she moved to Paris to study under Pascal Adolphe Jean Dagnan_Bouveret and Gustave Courtois. As with many of her contemporary painters she sought out rural communities in the French countryside, sources for a “plein air” social realism, subject matter popularized by the leading proponents Jules Bastien- Lepage and Jean Francois Millet. In 1883, she visited the rural community of Pont-Aven on a painting sojourn, and there met her future husband. They married in 1884.

Marianne Stokes first painting accepted into the prestigious Paris salon, Reflection, was exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 1885. The work was painted in Brittany. Other works were exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery, New Gallery, and the Society of British Artists annual exhibition, all in London. By this time she was signing her work with her married surname. In 1900, a joint exhibition of her works and that of her husband was held at the prestigious London art gallery, Fine Art Society on New Bond Street. At that time the couple resided in St. Ives, a coastal port town in Cornwall on the Celtic sea. Having no children they travelled abroad regularly to the Tyrol (part of Austria at this time), in 1905 to Hungary and the High Tatra. a mountain range along the northern border of Slovakia. They spent six months sketching and painting in the villages of the mountains. Adrian Stokes concentrated on the landscapes and picturesque cottages, while Marianne painted portraits showing fine details of the garments. These paintings are now a valuable resource of record of Slovak culture at that time.

By the early years of the twentieth century they were living in Chelsea, and in 1921 the Stokes moved to Grantham Place off Park Lane. Marianne. On her return to London, Marianne’s art turned to more varied subject matter; portraiture, religious and historical subjects and children dominated her output. After abandoning oils, and inspired by the Pre-Raphaelite movement, Marianne Stokes painted flat compositions in tempera and gesso, her paintings giving the impression of being frescoes on plaster surfaces. She was voted an Associate of the Royal Society of painters in Water Colours in 1923. Today her works can be seen at the Tate (Candlemas) and National Portrait Gallery (John Westlake) in London, the Musee D’Orsay (Death and the Maiden), as well as in museums in Liverpool (Walker Art Gallery), Nottingham and Pittsburgh.

S.R. Burleigh (1853-1931)  Woman and Loom, Watercolor 14” x 17”        $1,200. SALE $1,000.

Sydney Burleigh (1853 – 1931), Woman Sewing Watercolor 14” x 10”       $ 850. SALE $750.

The artistic community in Providence has always been in step or a step ahead of American art trends. A very fine group of Providence artists emerged in 1880 on par with other colleagues across the country. American art giants such as John La Farge (1835 – 1910) and Winslow Homer (1836 – 1910) showed their watercolor mastery in Rhode Island venues further fueling the local enthusiasm of the medium. Sydney Burleigh (1853 – 1941) ushered in a new level of excellence in watercolors and by the early 20th Century modern trends emerged among top watercolorists.

In the Providence arts arena Sydney Burleigh (1853 – 1941) was the earliest Rhode Island artist to achieve recognition for his mastery of watercolors. The Providence Journal who stated, “The only professed watercolorist in Providence is Mr. Sydney Burleigh”, validated the Little Compton native’s forte in 1885. While certainly there were other artists painting in watercolor before Burleigh, such as the precisely rendered watercolors of S.R. Chaffee (1850 – 1913), Burleigh’s facility in the medium was unmatched. By 1896 he founded the Providence Watercolor Club and was teaching watercolor at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1897. A new era of painters following Burleigh became adept in the medium taking command of the nuances of pigment on paper.


Cathy @ 4:51 pm

Tagged in: Reboot your eye for art

Reboot your eye for art


Salvatore Dahli was part of a cultural movement in the 1920’s known as the Surrealists characterized as unlocking images of the unconscious exploring worlds of sexuality, desire, and violence. Often times my sense is that it presents itself as a distorted reality much like our dreams. In Rhode Island Gordon Peers (1909 -1988), Florence Leif (1913 – 1968) and Louise Marianetti (1916 -2009) experimented in a surreal manner more like a “super real” style so detailed it appears a twisted take on the real world.

These three artists only did paintings like this in the 1940’s as they transitioned from classic academic realist art to their own personal style. My favorite example of this “super real” is by Gordon Peers – “Painters Beach Still Life”. Note all the detail on the objects, the suspended composition, the “trick the eye” properties.

Cathy @ 4:26 pm

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Abstract Art

I’m just back from the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC where a powerful new exhibit, “Magnetic Fields” shows a number of black women artists who were committed to abstract art from the 1960’s to now.

The show is a reminder of the beauty of abstract art and layers of interpretation and visual intrigue.

Long time abstract artist Frank Gasbarro came to mind and how he also has explored abstraction his whole life. A particular favorite series of mine is his small monotypes.

A celebration of shape, form, color and line.

Cathy @ 5:21 pm

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