What student doesn’t look forward to a field trip? It’s true even for self-taught students of art. On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to take a field trip to the Albrecht Kemper Art Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri.
Oh, how fascinating it was to view the many paintings and other works on display. I’ve always enjoyed art galleries and museums, but to visit now as an artist takes the experience to an entirely new level. I loved getting up close to the paintings I saw, noticing brushstrokes, mentally imagining the artist’s process, looking closely at the colors, and marveling over the masterful illusions of texture, distance, lights, and shadows.
I saw paintings by many of my favorite artists: Mary Cassatt, Andrew Wyeth, and Albert Bierstadt, and works by artists previously unknown to me, like Fairfield Porter, whose Picture of a Girl kept calling me back for another look.
The museum is housed in the former residence of Mr. and Mrs. William Albrecht. Here’s a bit of its history:
“The Museum originated in 1913 with the foundation of the St. Joseph Art League–twelve women who sought to increase public awareness and understanding of the arts. With the hope of establishing a public art museum in St. Joseph, the League acquired the William Merritt Chase painting A Venetian Balcony. This purchase, made in 1915 with funds raised at performances, teas and a special showing of the painting in a local department store, became the first work in the Museum’s collection.”
During our visit, the museum was in-between two rotating exhibitions. One had been taken down, the other was just going up, so it was “a bit of a mess”, as we were told by the staff. It was still fun to stroll around and see the new abstract expressionist art by Beverly Todd ready to be installed. This exhibit officially opens on Friday.
Later we had lunch in the café. Our chef was Ralph Filipelli, owner of Luna’s Fine Dining. The atmosphere in the Terrace Dining area was quite elegant.
The current menu at the café features Mexican-themed dishes. I enjoyed the Taco Salad. My sister who visited with me had the Southwestern Quiche.
I’m not much on sweets, but for dessert, who could resist Mexican chocolate truffles with cinnamon and nutmeg?
We toured only the main floor of the museum, so we’re planning to return soon to tour the lower floor. While there I also browsed the gift shop a bit. I saw a few things that would make ideal gifts for our artistic grandchildren.
All in all, it was quite a lovely day, as well as a very inspiring one. I’m more excited than ever about art, about oil painting, and about practicing techniques to improve my works.