Art Lovers Book Club

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The Attleboro Arts Museum’s Art Lovers Book Club launched in January 2010. A dynamic Museum member proposed this artful Book Club idea and the program was launched on a trial basis. After the success of the first meeting it was clear that the Book Club should live on.

The Art Lovers Book Club meets in the Museum’s Ottmar Gallery from 2 – 4pm.

Free and open to all.  Reservations are requested, but not required: 508-222-2644  x10.

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Next Meeting

Saturday, October 20th, 2018 from 2-4pm

“Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lillies” by Ross King

Guest Speaker: TBA

 

Claude Monet is perhaps the world’s most beloved artist. Among all his creations, the paintings of the water lilies in his garden at Giverny are the most famous. Seeing them in museums around the world, viewers are transported by the power of Monet’s brush into a peaceful world of harmonious nature. Monet himself intended them to provide “an asylum of peaceful meditation.” Yet these beautiful canvases belie the intense frustration Monet experienced at the difficulties of capturing the fugitive effects of light, shade, depth and color. Their calmness and beauty also conceal the terrible personal torments—the loss of loved ones, the horrors of World War I, the infirmities of age—that he suffered in the last dozen years of his life.

Mad Enchantment tells the full story behind the creation of the Water Lilies. The history of these remarkable canvases begins early in 1914, when French newspapers began reporting that Monet, by then 73 and one of the world’s wealthiest, most celebrated painters, had retired his brushes. He had lost his beloved wife, Alice, and his eldest son, Jean. His famously acute vision—what Paul Cezanne called “the most prodigious eye in the history of painting”—was threatened by cataracts. And yet, despite ill health, self-doubt, and advancing age, Monet began painting again, this time on a more ambitious scale than ever before.

Linking great artistic achievement to the personal and historical dramas unfolding around it, Mad Enchantment presents the most intimate and revealing portrait of an iconic figure in world culture—from his lavish lifestyle and tempestuous personality to his close friendship with the fiery war leader Georges Clemenceau, who regarded the Water Lilies as one of the highest expressions of the human spirit.

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New York Times Book Review: ‘[A]n engaging and authoritative portrait of the aged artist and his travails … The Monet who emerges from King’s pages is a sympathetic and vivid character.’

Newsday: ‘Sensitive, deeply researched and altogether delightful.’

 

 

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The following books have been discussed at the Attleboro Arts Museum’s Art Lovers Book Club:

 

2018

June 2018: The Forest Lover by Susan Vreeland. Featuring a screening of the short film Bone Wind Fire by Canadian filmmaker and artist Jill Sharpe. This program was presented in partnership with DoubleACS and supported by The Jo and Tony Nyzio Visiting Lecturer Fund. 

April 2018: You Must Change Your Life, The Story of Rainer Maria Rilke and Auguste Rodin by Rachel Corbett. Speaker: Author Rachel Corbett presented and was available for a book signing.  

January 2018: The Life and Art of Maud Lewis: Two short films on Lewis, provided by Canadian author Lance Woolaver, were shown: “Maud Lewis: World Without Shadows,”a short documentary from the National Film Board of Canada, and “The Illuminated Life of Maud Lewis,” by Lance Woolaver, also from the National Film Board of Canada.  Book Club organizers suggested:

  • “Maud Lewis – The Heart on the Door” by Lance Woolaver
  • “The Illuminated Life of Maud Lewis” by Lance Woolaver
  • “The Painted House of Maud Lewis: Conserving a Folk Art Treasure” by Laurie Hamilton

2017

October 2017: The Auctioneer: Adventures in the Art Trade by Simon de Pury. Speaker: Chris Barber, Deputy Director of American Furniture & Decorative Arts at Skinner Auctioneers and Appraisers.  

June 2017: The Art of the Wyeth Family – assorted books. Speaker: Artist Diane Savino provided an egg tempera demonstration – allowing book club guests to view the working methods and medium of Andrew Wyeth and his brother-in-law Peter Hurd.  

April 2017: Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner. Speaker: Renee C. Harding, Professor Fashion Design, Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

January 2017: Discovering the Great Masters: The Art Lover’s Guide to Understanding Symbols in Paintings by Paul Crenshaw.  Speaker: Author Paul Crenshaw – Associate Professor, Department of Art History; Chair, Department of Art and Art History, Providence College. (Photo right: Professor Crenshaw at AAM event on January 28th)

2016

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September 2016: The Muralist by B.A. Shapiro. Author B. A. Shapiro returned to the Art Lovers Book Club and presented on her new novel – The Muralist(Photo: B. A. Shapiro at Museum’s book signing)

June 2016: Tulipomania – The Story of the World’s Most Coveted Flower & The Extraordinary Passions It Aroused by Mike Dash. Speaker: Carol Govan of the New England Society of Botanical Artists (NESBA) presented on the history of botanical art and illustration – with a focus on the tulip.

April 2016: Rembrandt’s Whore, a novel by Silvie Matton.  Screening of the BBC documentary “The Power of Art – Rembrandt.”

January 2016: Jewels: A Secret History by Victoria Finlay.  Speaker: Laura Johnson of Historic New England presented on the history of gems, Victorian gem language and the language of flowers in jewelry.

2015

September 2015: Georgia O’Keeffe by Nancy J. Scott.  Speaker: Author Nancy J. Scott, Associate Professor of Art History, Brandeis University.

June 2015: The Lady in Gold, The Extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt’s Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer by Anne-Marie O’Connor. Speaker: Author Anne-Marie O’Connor.

March 2015: The Painter’s Chair: George Washington and the Making of American Art by Hugh Howard. Speaker: Margaret O’Connor – Executive Director, Gilbert Stuart Birthplace and Museum.

January 2015: The Unknown Rockwell: A Portrait of Two American Families by James A. Buddy Edgerton and Nan O’Brien.  Speaker: Mary Lou Hannon of ArtMatters.

2014

September 2014: Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland.  Speaker: Jeanne M. Pelletier, Preservation Advisor, Campaign for the Ayer Mansion, Inc.  Presentation: At Home with Louis Comfort Tiffany – The Residential Work of a Master Craftsman.

June 2014: Looking Into Van Gogh. Van Gogh’s Letters edited by H. Anna Suh, and/or, The Yellow House – Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Nine Turbulent Weeks in Provence by Martin Gayford.  Screening of the BBC documentary – Van Gogh.

April 2014: Focus on Collecting and the Story of Herb & Dorothy Vogel.  Participants read “To Collect In Earnest: The Life and Work of Electra Havemeyer Webb” by Lauren B. Hewes and Celia Y. Oliver, and other suggested texts.  Speaker: Alison W. Chang – Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow at the RISD Museum in Providence, RI. Ms. Chang has curated Fifty Works for Rhode Island: The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection.  Related program: Screening of the documentary Herb & Dorothy 50 x50 by Megumi Sasaki.

January 2014: “The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro.  A presentation, discussion and book signing by the author.  Download praise for The Art Forger

2013

September 2013: The Lost Painting: The Quest For a Caravaggio Masterpiece” by Jonathan Harr.  Speaker: Suzanne Scanlan – Lecturer, Rhode Island School of Design, Department of History of Art and Visual Culture.  Presentation: “The Seventeenth-Century Arc of, and Controversies Surrounding, Caravaggio’s Life and Work.”

May/June 2013: “Tom & Jack: The Intertwined Lives of Jackson Pollock & Thomas Hart Benton” by Henry Adams.  A presentation, discussion and book signing by author Henry Adams.

April 2013: The book club focused on photography – attendees selected their own books on a particular photographer or school of photography.
Speaker: Frances Jakubek, Associate Director of the Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester, MA.  Presentation: Photographers that have greatly influenced the speaker’s personal work and her work at the Griffin Museum.

January 2013: “Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists” by Anthony M. Amore.  A presentation and discussion by author Anthony Amore, Head of Security and Chief Investigator at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Attendees also read:

  • “The Forger’s Spell: A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century” by Edward Dolnick
  • “The Man Who Made Vermeers: Unvarnishing the Legend of Master Forger Han van Meegeren” by Jonathan Lopez

2012

September 2012: “The Greater Journey – Americans in Paris” by David McCullough
Speaker: Gretchen Sinnett, Assistant Professor in Art + Design at Salem State University.  Presentation: “The Work of Artist Mary Cassatt.”

May 2012: “John James Audubon – The Making of an American” by Richard Rhodes
Speaker: Julianne Mehegan of the Mass Audubon Visual Arts Center, Canton, MA.

March 2012: “Near Andersonville” by Peter H. Wood & Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory by Holzer & Neely, Jr.
Speaker: Civil War historian Frank Daly.

January 2012: “The Devil in the White City” by Erik Larson
Speaker: Alan Banks, Supervisory Park Ranger of the F. L. Olmsted National Historic Site. Presentation: “The Life & Artistic Contributions of Fredrick Law Olmstead.”

2011

October 2011: “Grant Wood, A Life” by R. Tripp Evans
Speaker: Author Tripp Evans was our guest speaker, and was available for a book signing. Books were sold in the Museum’s gift shop.

April 2011: “Aesop’s Mirror” by Maryalice Huggins
Speaker: Author Maryalice Huggins. Ms. Huggins was available for a book signing. Books were sold in the Museum’s gift shop.

January 2011: Spotlight on John Singer Sargent

  • “Sargent’s Daughters” by Erica E. Hirshler
  • “I Am Madame X” by Gloria Diliberto
  • “Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X” by Deborah Davis

Screening: Sickert and Sargent: Britain’s Masters of Modern Art, by Waldemar Januszczak

2010

Nov 2010:The Monuments Men” by Robert Edsel
Speaker: Dr. Joyce Ballad, Professor of History, Bristol Community College

July 2010: “The Secret Supper” by Javier Sierra
Screening: The Private Life of a Masterpiece, BBC documentary

April 2010: “Loving Frank” by Nancy Horan
Speaker: Nancy Allison, Founder, Newbridge Architecture

Jan 2010: “Picasso’s War” by Russell Martin
Speaker: Ann Murray, (Former) Wheaton College Professor of Art and Director of the Watson & Gallery

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