Corrections or additions?
This article by Pat Summers was prepared for the January 24,
2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
For the past two months and for the future, Bucks
is where it’s at — the vistas that everyone loves; the museum,
named for the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Doylestown native;
and its new, sweeping, and estimable, collection of Pennsylvania
paintings — many of Bucks County scenes.
"The Lenfest Exhibition of Pennsylvania Impressionism" opened
November 19, so isn’t it time you saw it? On long-term view at the
James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, this show, drawing mainly
on a recent bequest, supplemented by some highlights of the museum’s
own noteworthy collection, features 60 paintings by 19 well-known
artists. Altogether the gathering is being described as "the
collection of Pennsylvania Impressionist paintings in public or
Sixty works came to the Michener in 1999 — the gift of F.H.
Lenfest and his wife, Marguerite, who had only started collecting
the work of Bucks County artists earlier in the decade. A pioneering
cable entrepreneur and newly-made billionaire, Lenfest has said he
thought giving the paintings to the Michener was the "right thing
The gift allowed the Michener, which opened in 1988, to instantly
realize its goal of becoming an important repository for art created
in Bucks County. To accommodate the Lenfest collection, now the heart
of the museum’s permanent collection, the Putman-Smith Gallery was
remodeled, and a custom exhibition design was created by Josh Dudley,
of Ralph Applebaum Associates. This is the same team which earlier
crafted the permanent interactive exhibition, "Creative Bucks
County: A Celebration of Art and Artists," which traces visually
and aurally the impact of 12 Bucks County residents — a group
that includes Henry Mercer, Kaufman and Hart, Jean Toomer, and Charles
Sheeler, on the development of 20th-century American culture,
Lenfest grew up on a farm north of Lambertville, across
the Delaware River from New Hope, the renowned art colony where
Impressionism flourished in the early 20th century after William
Lathrop settled at Phillips’ Mill in 1899. A graduate of Columbia
Law School, he practiced in New York before becoming associate counsel
with Triangle Publications, Inc. In 1974, the Lenfests bought a
cable company from Lenfest’s employer, publisher Walter Annenberg,
using $2.3 million of borrowed money. Their tremendous gamble paid
off handsomely: Suburban became the region’s largest cable operation,
with more than a million subscribers. Perhaps, too, famed
and art collector Annenberg acted as something of a role model for
the Lenfests own future largess.
When, in 1999, the family agreed to sell its interest to AT&T, this
left Lenfest with other businesses to run, foundations to start, and
billions of dollars. Now around age 70, Lenfest is familiarly known
as "the billionaire next door." Residents of Huntington
he and his wife are said to do most of the work around and in their
home, and to give away more money each year than they spend on
Reportedly, he brings his lunch to work, and once said, "There’s
nothing like a bologna sandwich."
Focusing on painters who lived and worked in the areas covered by
his company, Lenfest had amassed a distinguished art collection. Talk
about employee benefits; dream about workplace ambiance: Suburban
Cable staff could enjoy the works of painters whose names are
with Bucks County art, and whose works have joined the Michener’s
Lenfest collection: Edward Redfield ("The Trout Brook" and
eight others); Daniel Garber (four paintings, including
in the Village"); Fern Copperedge (three, including
Robert Spencer ("Summertime" and two others, the museum’s
first by him).
Strictly speaking, not all the artists whose works are included in
the bequest are impressionists, although a number of them subscribed
to the impressionist ideals of evanescent light and sparkling color.
Writing at the time of the Lenfest gift, Edward Sozanski of the
Inquirer (December 19, 1999) observed that having this body of work
in one place will allow viewers to compare it with the more well-known
Connecticut and California impressionists, and the painters of the
Gloucester, Massachusetts, area. Bring them on, he seemed to imply.
AT&T’s buy-out of Suburban Cable led to the Lenfest "Beau
toward the Michener Museum of Art. Initially the name of his 60-foot
yacht, that expression is quickly becoming his M.O. The 60 gift
came with a $3 million dollar endowment for operating expenses and
ongoing care of the paintings. Late last year, literally sharing the
wealth, the Lenfests enriched another art institution in the region
with an unrestricted gift of $10 million dollars to the Philadelphia
Museum of Art. One of the largest monetary gifts in the museum’s
it benefits the 2001 Fund, a new capital campaign designed to increase
its endowment and expand its facilities.
Bucks County beauty in a Bucks County museum that specializes in Bucks
County art. One could call this happy homecoming poetic justice.
— Pat Summers
215-340-9800. "The Lenfest Exhibition of Pennsylvania
an exhibit of 60 paintings that tell the story of the renowned art
colony in the early 20th century. Museum hours Tuesday to Friday,
10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and
evenings to 9 p.m. Admission $5 adults; $1.50 students. Website:
documenting Hirschfeld’s life, career, and the history of the
arts. Exhibit, with accompanying lecture, tour, and film series, to
February 11. Jeanne Jaffe, an outdoor sculpture installation, to March
11. "Carved, Incised, Burnished and Gilded: The Bucks County
Tradition," featuring 50 objects that tell the story of the
well-regarded group of frame artists led by Frederick Harer and Ben
Badura, to March 18.
Lenfest exhibition. Details by phone and on the museum website.
paintings and prints by Carrie Patterson. She holds an MFA in painting
from the University of Pennsylvania where she received the Angelo
Savelli painting award. To February 2.
"I paint to give a new form of expression to certain types of
experiences," says Patterson. "My intention is to convey a
particular internal awareness of one’s one body in space by distilling
gesture, movement, and color into smaller components."
Nassau Street, 609-921-6748. "Old Traditions, New Beginnings,"
a major exhibition celebrating 250 years of Princeton Jewish history,
jointly presented and exhibited at the Jewish Center of Princeton.
This is the first-ever exhibit on the history of Princeton’s Jewish
community, scheduled to coincide with the Jewish Center’s 50th
Topics addressed include early arrivals, family life, social
work and business pursuits, religious traditions, and anti-Semitism.
On view through March.
Dining room exhibition features works by Watercolorists Unlimited,
an artists’ group whose members include Phil Aklonis, Peggie
Betty Whelan Donovan, Vera Harrop, Betty Klank, Elizabeth Roedell,
Patric Spovieri, and Lorraine Williams. Part of the proceeds benefit
the Medical Center. On view daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. To March 14.
First day for "The Familiar and Not So Familiar," an exhibit
of works by digital artist Roman Verostko that includes traditional
landscapes and still lifes to futuristic visions of space and nature.
Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. To January 27.
Impressions: Art of the Print in the Western World," to March
19. "Contemporary Photographs," to February 25. "The
Tradition in Drawings," to January 28. On extended view in the
Bowen Gallery, Richard Serra’s "Weight and Measure" etchings.
The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday
1 to 5 p.m. Free tours of the collection are every Saturday at 2 p.m.
The permanent collection features a strong representation of Western
European paintings, old master prints, and original photographs.
of Chinese, Pre-Columbian Mayan, and African art are considered among
the museum’s most impressive. Not housed in the museum but part of
the collection is the John B. Putnam Jr. Memorial Collection of
outdoor sculpture, with works by such modern masters as Henry Moore,
Alexander Calder, Pablo Picasso, and George Segal located throughout
The Graduate School continues its centennial observance with the
"A Community of Scholars: Graduate Education at Princeton,"
an exhibition of more than 100 photographs, documents, and artifacts
that chronicle the evolution of graduate studies at Princeton. Monday
through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesday to 8 p.m.; Saturday and
Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. To April 8.
Library, 609-258-5049. "Art Deco Paris: 1900-1925," a portrait
of the spirited, affluent Parisian society of the early 20th century
through "pochoir" (or stencil) prints. The show features 100
color prints, including a folio by Matisse, reflecting the era of
jazz, tango, high fashion, and modern art. Library is open Monday
through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesday to 8 p.m.; Saturday and
Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. To April 8.
609-620-6026. "The Making of a Monument," an exhibition of
drawings, maquettes, and models for Shahn’s Martin Luther King Jr.
Memorial in Jersey City. The work, which consists of a monumental
bronze bust of the civil rights leader along with bronze plaques
the struggles and commemorating those whose lives were lost, was
in 1999. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.;
except Wednesday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon.To February 17.
Commissioned by New Jersey Transit through a public competition, the
monument stands at the new Martin Luther King Drive Station of the
Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system.
West Windsor, 609-586-4800, ext. 3589. "Inclusions," an
of prints and handmade paper by Margaret K. Johnson and sculpted paper
by Pat Martin. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3
p.m.; Wednesday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m; Thursday evenings from 6
to 8 p.m.; and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Gallery talk is
February 7, at 7 p.m., for the show that runs to February 15.
609-252-6275. "Contemporary Still Life: Vanitas to Veritas,"
featuring works by 13 artists from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New
York who explore the traditional still-life genre in new ways. Area
artists include Joanne Augustine, Betty Curtiss, Jamie Greenfield,
Wendy Wilkinson-Gordon, and Lisa Manheim. Gallery hours are Monday
to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and weekends and holidays, 1 to 5 p.m.
To March 4.
Carter and Rosedale roads, 609-921-9000. In the Brodsky Gallery, a
collection of prints by Wendell T. Brooks that blend athleticism and
African influences. Since 1971, Brooks has works as an associate
of art at the College of New Jersey. Exhibit is open Monday through
Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., to February 14.
Brooks creates his art through an original technique that combines
intaglio and stencil. He has had exhibitions throughout the U.S. and
abroad. His work is permanently displayed at the Smithsonian and the
Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
609-895-7307. A new series of oil on paper and mixed-media paintings
by Wanda Blake, a professional artist living in Morris County who
studied at Newark’s School of Fine and Industrial Arts. Curated by
Gary Snyder Fine Art, gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to
5 p.m. To January 26.
Invasion," an invitational exhibit featuring California artists
Shantelle Julian and Douglas Knight, curated by George Olexa. Monday
to Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. To February 11.
"These works mix realism and surrealism creating not a dream image
but a physiological disturbance. Sometimes beautiful, sometimes
and always questioning," says curator Olexa. "Unlike Dali
who, at least in his later work, distorted all elements of a
work into a total surreal environment and landscape, Julian and Knight
focus almost exclusively on one element, the human eye. If it were
not for the fact that they are well done, the unblinking relentless
star of these eyes would be threatening. Instead, they seem to be
asking the viewer to solve their plight."
609-586-0616. Fall-Winter Exhibition. In the Domestic Arts Building:
"James Dinerstein: New Sculpture," recent works in cast
"Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture."
Show continues to April 8. Open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to
9 p.m., year round; Sunday is Members Day. Adult admission is $4
through Thursday; $7 Friday and Saturday; and $10 Sunday. Annual
start at $45.
609-292-6464. "Artists’ Visions, Artists’ Views" to January
30. "Dinosaurs, Ammonites & Asteroids," to January 21. Tuesday
through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
On extended view: "The Modernists;" "Fine and Decorative
Arts Collections;" "New Jersey Ceramics, Silver, Glass and
Iron;" "New Jersey’s Native Americans: The Archaeological
Record;" "Delaware Indians of New Jersey;" "The Sisler
Collection of North American Mammals;" "Of Rock and Fire;
New Jersey and the Great Ice Age;" "Dinosaur Turnpike: Treks
through New Jersey’s Piedmont;" "Amber: the Legendary
and "Washington Crossing the Delaware."
Trenton, an exhibit of "New Jersey Artists in the Collection of
the New Jersey State Museum," through January 31.
New Brunswick, 732-932-7237. The newly expanded and renovated museum
features "Michael Mazur: A Print Retrospective" covering a
40-year span of the artist’s career, to February 16. Open Tuesday
to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
Admission is $3 for adults age 18 and up; free for children and
admission is free on the first Sunday of each month.
Also on exibit: Works from the Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection of
Nonconformist Art from the Soviet Union, ongoing. "Monotypes in
Contemporary American Printmaking" from the rich resources of
the Rutgers Archives for Printmaking Studios, to February 18.
Up: A Half-Century of Artistic Dialogue between Japan and the
ongoing. And "A World of Stage: Designs for Theater, Opera, and
Dance from the Riabov Collection," to March 31.
Recent paintings by Mitchell Yarmark. A filmmaker by training, Yarmark
started painting in the 1970s; this is his first solo show. Thursday
to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. To February 12.
Yarmark describes his non-objective canvases as a "stadium"
in which he experiments with media, mixing oil, encaustic, powdered
and metal pigment, gold and other metal leafs. "I like to dig
into the layers to expose what is beneath the surface," he says,
adding that he has turned up "muted figures and portraits, incised
and faded into most of the hieroglyphics of the painting."
"Ink Dance," an exhibition of watercolors and calligraphy
on rice paper by Seow-Chu See. Also on view, "Six Figures,"
sculptures in stoneware by Julie Fox. Both shows to February 10. Open
Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
A student of the Lin-Nan styles of traditional and contemporary
painting, See has won many awards. She says the artist’s sense of
purpose comes from within. "To me, painting is a way of conveying
and expressing my feelings," she says. "Feelings, happy or
sad, are precious to my being, hence they are beautiful."
Road, 609-921-3272. "Joel Popadics: Recent Traditional
Also, the Professional Artists Group’s holiday show. Gallery hours
are Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. Both
shows to January 26.
Branch, 908-725-2110. "The Senses," a group exhibition of
works inspired by the compound wonders of touch, taste, smell,
and vision. Media include photography, monotype, woodblock, and
etching. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4
p.m.; Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m. To February 17.
"Small Works Show" featuring drawing, painting, photography,
and sculpture by 18 gallery artists including Gail Bracegirdle, Alan
Klawans, Lisa Mahan, Marc Reed, and Annelies Van Dommelen. Friday,
Saturday, and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. To February 4.
Dramatic landscape and wildlife photographs by photographer Richard
Demler. Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5
p.m. Closed Tuesday and Sunday. To January 29.
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