The first capture of my heart in museums came when, a child, I began to look at men in frames on walls and enclosed in vitrines.
Mostly men because there were few women in any state of being in museums when I was young.
To a child, mysterious, these images of men hanging there.
Le Gourmet, oil on canvas, 1901, and detail. Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973, Spanish. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
I take it that this is a little boy.
I would talk to them.
I still do, sometimes, in my continuing odyssey through museums: they listen but they don’t speak.
All they have to say is there within the frame: history, propositions, illustrations, explanations, justifications, sometimes a good laugh….
Two Gentlemen Bowing to One Another, Each Supposing the Other to be in a Higher Position, 1903, etching on paper.
Paul Klee, 1879-1940, Swiss. Solomon R. Guggenheim, NY
The Hunter, 1906, oil on canvas.
N.C. Wyeth, 1882-1945, American. Cover illustration for The Indian in His Solitude, 1907. Brandywine Museum, Chadds Ford, PA
The Football Player, 1908, oil on canvas.
Henri Rousseau, 1844-1910, French. Solomon R. Guggenheim, NY
At the Lapin Agile, 1905, oil on canvas. Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973, Spanish. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
The museum’s notes say: a self-portrait of Picasso with his recent lover, Germaine Pinchot, the former lover and obsession of Picasso’s friend, Carles Casagemas who killed himself in 1901.
This painting was the only Picasso work on view in Paris between 1905 and 1912 when it was sold. It was commissioned by the proprietor of the cabaret in Montmartre, Fredo Gérard, who is seen in the background.
Portrait of Henri Matisse, 1905, oil on canvas.
Andre Derain, 1880-1954, French. Philadelphia Art Museum
Lucien Gilbert, c. 1905, oil on canvas.
Andre Derain, 1850-1954, French. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Seated Man, 1905-06, oil on canvas. Paul Cézanne,1839-1906, French
Museo Thyssen Bornemisza, Madrid on loan to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC in 2018
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), 1908, charcoal.
John Singer Sargent, 1856-1925, American.
Commissioned as the frontispiece of the first volume of the poet’s ‘Collected Poems’ published in 1908. Private collection on loan to the Morgan Library, NY in 2019.
An overt illustration in 1909 , oil on canvas, of sexual harassment at the office for The Winning Chance by Elizabeth Dejeans published by Lippincott in Philadelphia in 1909.
Gayle Porter Hoskins, 1887-1962, American. Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington
Portrait of Dr. Dumouchel, 1910, oil on canvas. Marcel Duchamp, 1887-1967, American born France. Philadelphia Art Museum. No notes accompany this work.
The treatment of the hands may indicate that this was a doctor with extraordinarily sensitive touch.
Sir William Blake Richmond (1842-1921), c. 1910.
John Singer Sargent, 1856-1925, American. Loaned by the National Portrait Gallery, London to the Morgan Library, NY in 2019
Baudelaire, 1911, plaster.
Raymond Duchamp-Villon, 1876-1918, French. Philadelphia Art Museum
Vilhelm Hammershoi (1864-1916, Danish), Self-Portrait, 1911, oil on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Seated Riffian, 1912, oil on canvas.
Henri Matisse, 1869-1954, French. The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia
Half-Past Three, 1911, oil on canvas (The Poet).
Marc Chagall, 1887-1985. Philadelphia Art Museum
Man with a Violin, 1911-12, oil on canvas.
Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973, Spanish. Philadelphia Art Museum
The Young Man who Waits for Tomorrow, 1912, for Life in September 1912; gouache on illustration board.
Angus MacDonall, 1876-1927. Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington
Views of The Ethiopian, 1912, bronze.
Arthur Lee, 1881-1961, American. Smithsonian Museum of American Art.
A representation of Jack Johnson, 1868-1946, the first African American heavyweight boxing champion of the world, 1908-1915.
Jack Johnson, 1868-1946, the first African American heavyweight boxing champion of the world, 1908-1915. Photo from the web of unknown provenance.
Rioting followed his victory in 1910 in which a number of Afro-Americans died at the hands of white mobs. In 1913, an all-white jury convicted Johnson of transporting a white girlfriend across state lines in contravention of a law designed to stop immigrant prostitution. Johnson served 366 days in prison.
Repeated appeals to US presidents for the pardoning of Johnson failed.
President Trump finally pardoned him, upon the request of the actor Sylvester Stallone and others, on May 24, 2018.
Self-Portrait, 1913-14, oil on canvas, and detail.
Giorgio de Chirico, 1888-1978, Italian born Greece. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
The Street Pavers, 1914, oil on canvas.
Umberto Boccioni, 1882-1916. MOMA, NY
Portrait of Carlo Cirelli, 1915, oil on canvas.
Giorgio de Chirico, 1888-1978, Italian born Greece. Philadelphia Art Museum
Portrait of Pierre Reverdy, 1915, oil on canvas, and detail.
Amedeo Modigliani, 1884-1920, Italian. Private collection on loan to the Baltimore Museum of Art (2017)
Fountain, porcelain urinal, 1950 version of 1917 original.
Marcel Duchamp, 1887-1968, American born France. Philadelphia Art Museum
Duncan Grant with a Cold, c. 1918, oil on plywood.
Vanessa Bell, 1879-1969, British. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.
Vanessa Bell, sister of Virginia Woolf, lived with and painted with Duncan Grant, briefly her lover, for many years.
To the Universe, oil on canvas mounted on board, 1918;
Rockwell Kent, 1882-1971, American. Philadelphia Art Museum
The Reaper, 1919-20, oil on canvas.
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 1880-1938, German. Private loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY in 2019
Portrait of Guillaume Apollinaire, c. 1920, etching and aquatint with drypoint, dedication proof inscribed to Raoul Dufy, and detail.
Louis Marcoussis, French born Poland, 1878-1941. Philadelphia Art Museum
Man with a Cane, 1920, oil on burlap.
Fernand Léger, 1881-1955. Philadelphia Art Museum
Self Portrait, 1921, oil on canvas David Alfaro Sequieros, 1896-1924, Mexican. Private loan to the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2017
Man in Blue, c. 1921, oil on canvas.
Chaim Soutine, 1893-1943, Russian active in France. The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia
Portrait of Houston Woodward, 1922, oil on canvas painted four years after his death, shot down while flying over France in 1918.
Violet Oakley, 1864-1971, American. The Woodmere Museum, Philadelphia
Portrait of Leon Schames, 1922-23, oil on canvas.
Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 1880-1938, German. Philadelphia Museum of Art
Man in a Tower, 1924, oil on canvas.
Andre Masson, 1896-1987, French. Solomon R. Guggenheim, NY
Portrait of Thomas Eakins, 1920-25, oil on canvas.
Susan MacDowell Eakins, 1851-1938, American. The work of Thomas Eakins’ wife painted post-mortem and thought to be based on a photograph.
Le Duc d’Albe, 1925, oil on canvas.
Romaine Brooks, 1874-1970, American. Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, DC
Sunday, 1926, oil on canvas.
Edward Hopper, 1882-1967, American. Phillips Collection, Washington, DC
Hands of Jean Cocteau, 1927, gelatin silver print.
Berenice Abbott, 1898-1921, American. On display at the Barnes Foundation in 2016
Self-portrait, 1929, oil on canvas.
William H. Johnson, 1901-1970, Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, DC
Self-Portrait, 1930, lithograph.
Diego Rivera, 1886-1957, Mexican. Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Portrait, 1931, oil on canvas.
Rene Magritte, 1898-1965, Belgian. MOMA, NY
The Passion of Sacco and Vanzetti, 1931-32, tempera and gouache on canvas.
Ben Shahn, 1898-1969, American born Lithuania. ?Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
The two Italian anarchist immigrants were condemned to death in a 7-year process after conflicting information for a robbery and murder. The artist joined the protesters.
The judge, Webster Thayer, and two commissioners who reviewed the evidence are shown attending the coffins. They are carrying white lilies as though they know that the dead were innocent of the crimes charged.
Two Toughs in Big Albert’s Gang, 1931; ferrotyped gelatin silver print with gallery reflections and an indadvertent selfie.
Brassai, French born Romania, 1899-1984.
Masterworks of French Photography, 1890-1950 at the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, Autumn 2016
Brassai staged this photograph of two toughs who filched his wallet although he had paid them for these photographic shots.
“Thievery for them,” he said and did not lodge a complaint “photographs for me.”
Winter, 1932, oil on canvas.
Jose Clemente Orozco, 1883-1949, Mexican. Los Angeles County Museum of Art on loan to the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2017
A NY street scene in hard economic times.
Minotaur, 1933, gelatin silver print. Man Ray, 1890-1976, American. MOMA, NY
Self-Portrait, c. 1935, oil on canvas.
Carlos Merida, 1891-1984, Guatemala active Mexico. Loaned from a private collection to the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2016
Portrait of John with Hat, 1935, oil on canvas.
Alice Neel, 1900-1984, American. Philadelphia Art Museum
Mine Disaster, 1933-37, oil on canvas. Philip Evergood, 1901-1973, American.
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia
Pat Whalen, 1935, oil, ink, and newspaper on canvas, and detail.
Alice Neel, 1900-1984, American. MOMA, NY
Pat Whalen was a Communist activist and union organizer for the longshoremen of Baltimore, MD
George Gershwin in a Concert Hall, 1936, oil on canvas, and detail.
David Alfaro Siquieros, 1896-1974, Mexican. Loaned by the University of Texas at Austin to the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2016
Self-Portrait I, 1937-38, pencil, crayon and oil on canvas.
Joan Miro, 1893-1983, Spanish. MOMA, NY
Portrait of James Agee, 1937, gelatin silver print.
Walker Evans, 1903-1975, American. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC
The Communicating Vessels (Hommage to Andre Breton), 1938, linoleum cut.
Diego Rivera, 1886-1957, Mexican. MOMA, NY
Man with Lollipop, 1938, oil on paper mounted on canvas.
Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973, Spanish. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Self-portrait, Adelaide Road, 1939, oil on canvas. Private collection.
Sir Stanley Spencer, 1891-1959, British. Image from the web.
Untitled (Figure Composition), c. 1938-41, gouache on paper. Jackson Pollock, 1912-1956, American. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.
The central figure has a human face and a skull. He is carrying another figure over his shoulder with a third dragged limply over his right leg. The museum’s notes explain that this is about human suffering and shows the influence of Jose Clemente Orozco whom this artist studied.
Gas, 1940, oil on canvas.
Edward Hopper, 1882-1967, American. MOMA, NY
A Chester County (eastern Pennsylvania) Art Critic (Portrait of Christian Brinton), 1940, oil on canvas.
Horace Pippin, 1888-1946, American. Philadelphia Art Museum
Men and Drill Press, 1941, oil on board.
Claud Clark, 1915-2001, American. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia
Unemployed, 1940, color screenprint
Chet La More, 1908-1980, American. Published by the Works Progress Administration, Federal Arts Project, New York. Philadelphia Art Museum
Aaron, 1941, oil and egg tempera on canvas mounted on plyboard.
Thomas Hart Benton, 1889-1975, American.
A portrait of an 82-year old, Ben Nichols, as a Midwest farmer.
Self-Portrait, 1940, oil on beaverboard.
Edwin Dickinson, 1891-1978, American. Philadelphia Art Museum
Here, Sir Fire, Eat!, oil on canvas, 1942.
Roberto Matta, 1911-2002, Chilean. MOMA, NY
Murder, 1942, egg tempera on gessoed panel.
Jared French, 1905-1988. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia.
There were no accompanying museum notes. The highly stylized and ritual aspects of this image may indicate that this is a representation, extrajudicial killing rather than legal execution, of the universal archetype of the Scapegoat.
Horace Pippin, 1945, gelatin silver print.
Arnold Newman, 1918-2006, American. Philadelphia Art Museum
Mr. Prejudice, 1943, oil on canvas.
Horace Pippin, 1888-1946, American. Philadelphia Museum of Art.
An overt treatment of racism.
Two menacing men – a member of the Klu Klux Klan and a big man holding a noose – stand opposite the Statue of Liberty. Mr. Prejudice stands above driving a wedge between white and black machinists and servicemen. The artist included herself wearing a WW1 soldier’s uniform, with his wounded right arm hanging limp.
Personage (Autoportrait), December 9, 1943, gouache, ink, and coloured paper and Japanese paper collage on paperboard.
Robert Motherwell, 1915-1991, American. Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice exhibited at the Solomon R. Guggenheim, NY in 2017
Man with a Lamb, 1943-44, bronze.
Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973, Spanish. Philadelphia Museum of Art
July Hay, 1943, egg tempera, methyl cellulose and oil on Masonite.
Thomas Hart Benton, 1889-1975, American. ?Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
Bus Boy, 1943, acrylic on paperboard.
Lois Maillou Jones, 1905-1908, American. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia
Portrait of James Baldwin, 1945, oil on canvas, and detail.
Beauford Delaney, American active Paris, 1901-1979. Philadelphia Art Museum
Jean Paulhan (1884-1968), 1946, acrylic and oil on Masonite.
Jean Dubuffet, 1901-1985, French. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY
One of 28 portraits of his friend, Jean Paulhan. In 1945, Jean Dubuffet began using a ground made of white paint and tar to which other materials, including straw, have been added. Onto this, the artist applied oil paint
Anatomical Head, 1947, watercolour.
Pavel Tchelitchew, 1858-1957, American born Poland. Morgan Library, NY
Hunger, 1946, tempera on board.
Ben Shahn, 1898-1959, American. On loan to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 2019 from the Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University, Alabama
Karl and detail, 1948, tempera on hardboard panel. Private collection, Albuquerque Museum, New Mexico
Karl Kuerner, farmer, neighbour and friend of the Wyeths in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania
Chagall Greetings, 1949, ink on paper.
Marc Chagall, 1887-1985, Russian. Philadelphia Art Museum