Saturday, February 04, 2012

Palette and Chisel at the Illinois State Museum

David Hunter

According to Wikipedia,
Figurism was an intellectual movement of Jesuit missionaries at the end of the 17th and the beginning of the 18th century, whose participants viewed the I Ching as a prophetic book containing the mysteries of Christianity, and prioritized working with the Qing Emperor (rather than with the Chinese literati) as a way of promoting Christianity in China.

All of which is quite fascinating!

But according to a curator
at the Illinois State Museum
(in the Thompson Center):

Figurism brings together historical and contemporary body-based art from the Museum collection. The exhibition emphasizes the power and the range of the narrative and expressive uses of the figure in Midwest art. It does not try to define a regional figurative tradition but to show how ‘figurism’ has endured and evolved into pluralistic, eclectic, and highly individualized expressions."

Three of our former members
are included.

Most exciting of all
was the first piece
I have ever seen by David Hunter.

Hardly any information
can be discovered about him.

The dates of his birth and death
remain unknown.

The above piece came to the museum
from a collector of WPA sculpture,
though its origins are mostly conjectural,
based upon a stylistic resemblance
to pieces from the thirties.

Was it made by the same "David Hunter"
who was a founding father of the P&C
in 1896?

We may never know for sure.

Here is the only other piece
by Hunter
that I have ever seen in reproduction.

Carl Hoeckner

Also included
was Carl Hoeckner
whose "Cleopatra" is shown above.

It was painted in 1915
while he was still a member
of the Palette and Chisel
and had not yet stomped off
with the other modernists
in high dudgeon.

Fred Berger, untitled head, 1963

I'm not sure that Fred Berger ever actually painted or drew at the Palette and Chisel, but a few of his admirers had him voted in as an honorary member.

A press release for the show can be found here


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