Gabriel von Max at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle

During our recent Northern swing to fish for venues, good hiking and perhaps a place to eventually relocate the studio to, I stumbled into a really wonderful exhibition at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle:

Gabriel von Max: Be-tailed Cousins and Phantasms of the Soul

July 9, 2011 – October 30, 2011
One of the most discussed, and perhaps controversial, artists of the late nineteenth century, Gabriel von Max has not been the subject of a solo museum exhibition in America until now.

The exhibition was for me striking in every way.  Beautifully presented with plenty of room between the various works and handsomely lit.  It introduced me to the work of an artist in whom I felt I would have a lasting interest and respect.  Even though I had seen reproductions of some of the works before, I neither knew the artist’s name nor the range of his accomplishments.  The work is characterized by a deep melancholy and demonstrates a particular concern for the lives of the women of his time.  His use of animal life, particularly the monkeys with whom he apparently lived, is powerfully sympathetic and feels like some sort of prescient look at what the plight of animals would become in the 20th and 21st centuries.

There is an excellent catalog, unavailable during my visit, that I ordered and am very much looking forward to receiving.  Kudos to Frye Director Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker for bringing this comprehensive and important exhibition to the lucky folks in or visiting Seattle during the run.

The artists out there may appreciate the painting at left, “Monkeys as Judges of Art”



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