Thursday, September 17, 2015

Albert Christ-Janer Donor of Francis Quirk Painting to Georgia Museum of Art

In researching Quirk's painting "The Soloist"  we learned that it was donated to the Georgia Museum of Art by Albert Christ-Janer.  It appears that he was a well-known artist himself.  This is another Harvard connection for Quirk as he exhibited a painting of another Harvard Man in Providence RI.

Here is a bit about Christ-Janer

Painter, graphic artist, writer, and teacher Albert William Christ-Janer was born in Appleton, Minnesota. He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, Yale University, and Harvard University. Christ-Janer wrote about American artists Boardman Robinson and John Caleb Bingham, and taught at a variety of institutions, including Stephens College, Cranbrook Academy, Pratt Institute Art School, and the University of Georgia. He was also an artist-in-residence at Tamarind Lithography Workshop in 1972.

An avid printmaker, Christ-Janer developed personal working methods that often involved a good deal of risk and uncertainty. Through his experimentations he created a range of tones and textures that deepen and enliven his abstract forms. Nature was always his starting point, and he once stated, "The earth, sky, and the sea are my sources of information; art is my inspiration."

lithograph by Albert Christ-Janner
Work by Albert Christ-Janner Landforms GA 11, n.d  Lithograph on Paper  Courtesy of the Art Institue of Chicago.

He taught at the University of Georgia during the last three years of his life. After his death the created a major award in his honor. 

Janner also was affiliated with Penn State and designed a noteworthy house to live in. Below are some excerpts from a web-site discussing the house.
525 Glenn Road
Albert W. and Virginia Christ-Janer

Albert Christ-Janer was Dean of Arts and Architecture at Penn State. A brother was an architect of some note (who said that the secret to success as an architect was to marry a wealthy woman). Architecture historian Richard Porter recalls that at the time of completion, the house was the most discussed in town and guests to parties there thought that if they ever had a house like this, they would have truly "arrived." Also the furnishings included that icon of the period, an Eames lounge chair, as well as other noted mid-century modern pieces and appropriate large art works.

The front entry to the house is directly behind the chimney. The entry is located midway between the two levels of the main house wing. Notice the dramatic use of natural lighting and the compression-expansion technique so prized by Wright.

Window wall interior

These are pictures of the window wall of the great room Looking out per the photo, one has the feeling of being in a secluded woods. This is quite amazing considering that the two adjacent houses are quite close by.

Window wall middle detail
These photos are details of the window wall of the great room. While in-room closet space is generous, storage for out-of-season items is scarce. If you look carefully at the base of the window wall, you can see that the inside flooring stops short and flagstone is to both sides of the glass to enhance the feeling of being outdoors. The main entry way can be seen in the upper center of the right photo.

Great room

The dining area of the great room is tucked dramatically under a balcony room. Live trailing ivy grows from planters in the dividing wall above. The side of the house has no desirable view (in fact, the reverse is true), so the full length windows are semi-opaque to hide the outside while letting natural light flow in.

Sadly, Christ-Janer died in an auto crash near Como, Italy during a 4 month stay there. He was only 63. There is a scholarship awarded each year in his honor.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Francis J. Quirk Painting at the Georgia Museum of Art Portrait of Queenie Williams

The Georgia Museum of Art has graciously supported the efforts to bring the works of Quirk back to light by sharing a photo of his portrait of Queenie Williams. (Thank you Sarah!)

The Georgia Museum of Art is both a university museum at the University of Georgia and, since 1982, the official state museum of art. Located on the East Campus of UGA, in the Performing and Visual Arts Complex, it opened in 1948. Recently, it completed an extensive expansion and remodeling of its building, paid for entirely with externally raised funds, that has allowed it to display its permanent collection continually. The museum offers programming for patrons of all ages, from child to senior citizen, as well as free admission to the public for all exhibitions. It organizes its own exhibitions in-house, creates traveling exhibitions for other museums and galleries and plays host to traveling exhibitions from around the country and the globe. The museum strives, most of all, to fulfill the legacy of its founder, Alfred Heber Holbrook, and provide art for everyone, removing barriers to accessibility and seeking to foster an open, educational and inspiring environment for students, scholars and the general public.

Wow! It is good to see that there is nice culture going on in the city that produces football powerhouses, providing a nice option for those who want to grow culturally before heading over to the game..

Here is how they have it cataloged.
Francis J. Quirk
The Soloist (Queenie Williams), 1968
Acrylic on board
36 x 30
GMOA 1971.2686

Credit: Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia; Gift of Albert Christ-Janer

Portrait of Queenie Williams by Francis Quirk
The Soloist (Queenie Williams) by Francis J. Quirk
 On the portrait, the handling of the white neck piece is done particularly. It brings to mind the quote "Without color there is no white."

Here is an uncropped view with the color chart.

We have only had a little time to search for information on Ms. Williams.  If you have any information on her, please leave it as a comment.


Friday, September 4, 2015

Four more Francis Quirk Paintings at Lehigh University

Today we post the images of the final five paintings from the Lehigh University Art Gallery collection. 

Image of Lehigh University President John McDowell Leavitt
John McDowell Leavitt by Francis Quirk Oil on Canvas Image Courtesy of Lehigh University

The first is of an earlier President of the University, John McDowell Leavitt DD who was in charge from 1875-1879. The profile portrait was painted from a picture or some other source as Quirk was not even born until 1907. The painting hangs in the University's Presidents Gallery. It is reminiscent of a Lincoln cent profile, technically very well executed with nice hands and execution of the fabrics, but is relatively uninspiring. We do not hold this against Quirk as it was probably painted to order.

"The Lunenberger R. W. F" by Francis Quirk Oil on Canvas Image Courtesy of Lehigh University
The second painting is a nautical scene of “The Lunenberger, R.W.F.” and was painted in 1970. As a boy coming of age at this time, I remember well ethereal posters and artworks such as 'Yes' Album Covers and the like that appealed to smokers of cannabis. 

Yes Album Cover Art

These were plastered all over the fraternity houses at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute that I frequented to access their Foosball tables or comic books. With its swirling clouds, this painting fits into this genre, which holds little appeal for this viewer.
painting of Spring on South Mountain by Francis J. Quirk
Spring on South Mountain by Francis Quirk Oil on Canvas   Image Courtesy of Lehigh University
On a more positive note, the third painting from 1955 “Spring On South Mountain” holds greater appeal. The eye follows a stream up into the spring hills giving the work surprising depth.  As the trees bud out and dogwood flowers, the world transforms from the browns of winter to the bright green of early spring. The color palette is unusual, but oddly appealing. This is the first landscape of Quirk’s to come to our attention and it is a creditable work.

image of Biddle Pool Maine painted by Francis Quirk
Biddle Pool Maine by Francis Quirk Oil on Canvas Image Courtesy of Lehigh University
The fourth painting from 1956 is “Biddle Pool Maine” and it probably was executed during one of his summers in “Vacationland.” Executed in a more painterly, ‘en plein aire’ fashion it does capture the movement of the massive waves of water one can see along the Maine Coast. 

View from Marginal Way in Ogunquit Maine

Map of Ogunquit Maine
Again hearkening back to my youth I remember walking on the Marginal Way in Ogunquit looking down over the massive rocks as gigantic waves rolled in. (How my parents let me climb among those rocks without freaking out amazes me. Perhaps that was one of the benefits of a large family- if they lost one or two there were others to carry on the family name. The portfolio theory of genetics.)

The final painting is “Young Pakistani Lady #1” and it was gifted to the school by Viola Fearnsworth. The relatively small oil on board may have been a study for something else or part of a series of studies. It is endearing in a certain way with soft hues. Beyond that there is not much more to say.

Image of Young Pakistani Lady #3 by Francis J. Quirk
Young Pakistani Lady by Francis Quirk  
Image Courtesy of Lehigh University

We continue to scour the world for Quirk works. There are no paintings in the collection of Penn State University Museum. But there may be a few old paintings hanging around the old Ogontz College campus that is now Penn State Abington.

Map of the Penn State University System  Abington is in the lower right, near Philadelphia.

We are waiting on images from the University of Georgia and the University of Notre Dame.

The ball may have been dropped on one picture that was auctioned in New England recently. It was a landscape of fields and trees signed “T. Quirk.” After seeing more of Quirk’s signatures, I now believe in hindsight that it was executed by Francis Quirk with the ‘F’ missing the lower cross hatch. Efforts to relocate that image have been fruitless. If it turns up, we will post it for you to make your own decision.

This lengthy post would not be complete without a thank you to the helpful people at Lehigh University Art Gallery who reached into their archives for us.