PORTLAND — Breaking the mold in new ways of seeing art collections at the Portland Museum of Art is the theme throughout the museum after a month of reorganization this January.

        Over 3,000 people helped celebrate the opening on Feb. 3, at 6 p.m., when  an animated film was shown on the outside of the building. Lights across Congress Street decorated trees in the park for this special occasion. The public was invited into the museum free of charge and the atmosphere was like an elegant winter carnival.
        Many of the galleries throughout the museum have been changed in an exciting way, accenting different works in a more intimate and appealing manner.
        “The Mistress and Muse: Isabelle and Scott Black Collection” is now hung in the Sweat Mansion galleries and examines how artists  represented human beings during the 19th and 20th centuries. It includes such outstanding works by Chagall, Degas, Leger, Braque, Picasso, Rodin, Gauguin, Pissarro, Renoir and Toulouse Lautrec, to name only a few. Seeing them see them up-close in the intimacy of a small gallery brings out how important they are and is a special treat. To have such important works representing the 19th and 20th centuries in Maine at the PMA is an advantage for the whole state. You don’t have to go to Boston to see masterpieces. We have them in Maine.
        “Artist’s Choice: The Judy Glickman Lauder Collection of Photography,” is located on the third floor. Thirty- five outstanding works reflect the taste and style of this artist’s collection. Glickman is both a well-known professional photographer in Maine and New York, and a generous philanthropist. In an interview, asked how she got interested in photography, she said,“My father was photographer. I grew up with it. I started collecting photography when I was a docent in the UCLA gallery in the mid 1970s. I love images dealing with humanity and the human condition. I also like images of other artists. A favorite work in my collection is Robert Capa’s portrait titled ‘Pablo Picasso and Francoise Gilot.’ “

Extremely interesting in this exhibit is a work by Glickman’s father, Irving Ellis, titled, ”Washing Their Nets at Fisherman’s Wharf” taken in 1932, and a magnificent work titled “Venice” taken by Glickman herself in 1997, which is a masterpiece. Another important work by Glickman is titled, ”Bohusovice Train Station at Theresienstadt,” an abandoned concentration camp taken in 1991. Glickman is well known for her poignant works of concentration camp sites which have been shown in museums internationally.

Three other fabulous works in the Glickman-Lauder exhibit include a portrait of Andy Warhol by Sylvia Plachy, a photograph by Gordon Parks titled, “Ingrid Bergman at Stromboli,” and a wonderful gelatin silver print photograph titled,”I Knocked Him Looney,” by Melonie Bennett, a Maine photographer, whose work has been published in Down East Magazine. This work is a photograph of Bennett’s father.
        “The Thrill of the Chase: The Wagstaff Collection of Photographs” at the J. Paul Getty Museum brings into Maine an extensive exhibit of photographs that could be studied by students across the state who are interested in the history of photography. Ninety photographs are hung in the first floor galleries off the Great Hall entrance area. Outstanding portraits include:”Rita de Acosta Lydig” by Baron Adolph de Meyer, “Edna St. Vincent Millay” by Arnold Genthe, “Gloria Swanson” by Edward Steichen,”Marlene Dietrich” by Cecil Beaton, and “Jacob Lawrence”  by Carl Van Vechten.
        Interesting landscapes in the Wagstaff Collection include: “Slaves of General Thomas F. Drayton,” an albumen silver print  (1862) by Henry P. Moore; “President Lincoln, United States Headquarters, Army of the Potomac, Near Antietam,” (1862) by Alexander Gardner;” “Study of Trees, Bois de Boulogne” (1855) by Count Olympe Aguado; “Male Figures at the Site  of Swimming”
 (1884) by Thomas Eakins; “The Hand of Man,” by Alfred Stieglitz  (1902), and “Sand Dunes Oceano,” by Edward Weston (1936). The historic value of this collection is a feast for the eyes for all lovers of photography.
        Interactive experiences focusing on creativity shared between visitors and works of art in the museum is another  major emphasis in the philosophy of the PMA. As people were flowing into the many galleries when I visited on Saturday, Feb. 4, a group of children and adults were creating images at tables in the Great Hall entrance area. People were creating their own drawings and collages on 8-by-10 pieces of paper designed with a printed frame on it with a blank center.  Each completed work was put into a loose-leaf notebook. “We are creating  a Community Catalogue of a Reimagined Collection” said Sarah Boyden, a visiting artist, who was guiding the creative process with Leah Cross another visiting artist. In the future, the museum staff hopes to offer a creative interactive project for families once a month.
       It was a cold winter day when I visited the PMA, but seeing the the warm and exciting activities provided for the public and the wide variety of fabulous art exhibits presented, gave me a new energy.
An outstanding catalogue in hard cover titled “The Thrill of the Chase: The Wagstaff Collection of Photographs at the J.Paul Getty Museum,” is available at the PMA gift shop.
        I recommend highly a visit to the new exhibits. The whole place is warm and inviting and there is something different in every gallery. In fact, there is something for everyone at the PMA. Be sure to plan a day at the museum and visit soon. For more information about special lectures on weekends call the museum at: (207)-77-56148

For Sidebar:
        The Mistress and the Muse:Selections from the Isabelle and Scott Black Collection Feb. 3- June 4, 2017
        Artist’s Choice:Photographs from the Judy Glickman Lauder Collection February 3- May 29, 2017
        The Thrill of the Chase: The Wagstaff Collection of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum Feb. 3-April 30, 2017

Hours open: Wednesday 10a.m. to 6:p.m.
                    Thursday & Friday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
                     Saturday & Sunday 10a.m. to 6 p.m.
Admission: Free for members, $15 adults, $13 Seniors (65)       $10 students with I.D. Free children 14 & under
        Free to public Friday evenings 4-8

Current exhibits:

“The Mistress and the Muse: Selections from the Isabelle and Scott Black Collection” through June 4
“Artist’s Choice: Photographs from the Judy Glickman Lauder Collection,” through May 29
“The Thrill of the Chase: The Wagstaff Collection of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum,” through April 30

Hours: Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 6:p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10a.m. to 6 p.m.
Admission: Free for members, $15 adults, $13 Seniors (65), $10 students with I.D. Children 14 and under are free. Free to public Friday evenings 4-8

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