From the Director
For Hayley’s Sake…
Happy Spring! Things are alive and well and the daffodils are up and smiling in the gardens at the Saginaw Art Museum (even though I awoke to a blanket of snow on my lawn this April 23rd morning)!
Forgive me if I use this forum as a pulpit for what some might think are political views this month…but I have been thinking a lot lately about STEM, our education system and the lack of commitment to arts and culture in K-12 education...
As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams: Recollections of a Woman in Eleventh-Century Japan by Lady Sarashina
Discuss the book and enjoy coffee with Assistant Curator Eric Birkle
Tuesday, July 14th at 10am
Highlights from the Collection
E. Irving Couse, Field Study, ca. 1886 - 1894
This work is a small 9" x 11" oil on canvas painting done by perhaps the most well-known artist to ever hail from Saginaw, Michigan (E. Irving Couse). The scene depicted is that of a vast landscape, which likely represents a location in the American west or southwest – Couse's favorite region of the world. The composition is striking in that it rejects the sky to ground ratio found in traditional paintings in favor of one in which the ground occupies roughly one-sixth of the picture plane or less. The time of day (dusk) is evident, and is indicated through a few simple strokes of red and orange paints above an indistinct mountain chain in the distance. The unfinished appearance of the work is not unmerited, as it is fact entitled Field Study. Field studies were, and to some extent still are, practiced by landscape painters wishing to prepare themselves for a more polished and finished looking work to be completed at a later date. These studies were usually completed in a relatively short time frame, and are often referred to as sketches. Such preparatory "sketches" done in oil paints are not at all unlike those done in pencil. Couse's Field Study shown here was likely completed in the early 1890's. It is signed in the lower left-hand corner.
Couse developed both an interest in Native American cultures and an artistic instinct early on in his life. He left traditional schooling at age 16 and studied briefly at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the National Academy of Design in New York City. Beginning 1886, Couse began traveling to various parts of the world for artistic inspiration, starting with Paris and ultimately ending in the American southwest. It was there that he rediscovered his love for Native American artwork and culture, which would prove to be the major influence in his own works throughout the rest of his career.