Metals, Monet and Matisse at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens

Posted by Holly Whitfield | February 18th 2010 1981 0

Two new (and very different) exhibits recently opened at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens. Museum curator Julie Pierotti was kind enough to show me around both “Metal in Memphis” and “Monet to Matisse”.

Jeannie Tomlinson Saltmarsh,  "Anemone",  Cast Aluminum, 2008

Jeannie Tomlinson Saltmarsh, "Anemone", Cast Aluminum, 2008

All of the works in the “Metals in Memphis” exhibit were created by the artists in residence at the National Ornamental Metal Museum here in Memphis. I was quite taken with “Anemone” by Jeannie Tomlinson Saltmarsh – it’s a series of three metal panels with thin tentacles extending from them. When you brush the tentacles, they sound like wind chimes.

Some of the metal work is purely decorative, while other pieces are highly functional art. I would love a pair of these trashcan-shaped salt and pepper shakers by Kevin Bruge.

Kevin Burge, Salt and Pepper, sterling silver, 2006

Kevin Burge, Salt and Pepper, sterling silver, 2006

“Metals in Memphis” features works by Kevin Bruge, Jeannie Tomlinson Saltmarsh, Mary Catherine Floyd, Jacob Brown, and Jim Masterson.

The “Monet to Matisse” show is in the museum’s main gallery. Curator Julie described it as the Dixon’s “greatest hits” collection, as it features works by well-known impressionists (Chagall, Degas, Gauguin and Renior)  that are part of the Dixon’s huge permanent collection.

Gaston La Touche - Joyous Festival

Gaston La Touche - Joyous Festival

My favorite piece in the exhibit was Gaston La Touche’s “Joyous Festival”, a giant rococo painting of people dancing. It’s from the impressionist period, but there’s something just a little bit more modern about it. Plus, the party looks like fun.

“Monet to Matisse” is a huge show that spans several rooms of the gallery. A room off of the main gallery features a group of paintings that were all painted by people who were related to each other. Apparently, Berthe Morisot knew everyone that was everyone among impressionists.

Berthe Morisot, Peasant Girl Among Tulips, 1890

Berthe Morisot, Peasant Girl Among Tulips, 1890

Most of the works were purchased by Hugo Dixon, and the show highlights the journeys that the paintings made from the artists studio the gallery.There are letters from Mr. Dixon to art dealers next to many of the works. My favorite letter was a brief, typewritten note that ended with “The painting arrived in excellent condition and is beautifully framed. I like it.”

You can check out both shows this weekend at the Dixon’s family day on Saturday. There are going to be all sorts of activities for all ages (including a scavenger hunt and a game that involves playing connect the dots with one’s feet), and pre-teen rockers the Hot Pink Paperclips are going to play. It’s totally free and starts at 12 p.m.

Go There:

Dixon Gallery and Gardens

4339 Park Ave
Memphis, TN 38117
(901) 761-5250

Author: Holly Whitfield

I write about what’s going on with Memphis music, food, arts, events, sports, people, and culture. Memphians love Elvis and barbeque with a passion that must be seen to be believed, but there is so much more to this place.

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  1. April says:

    The La Touche is one of my favorites too, the way he captured the light is beautiful.

  2. […] your family and tour the Dixon’s “Monet to Matisse” exhibit on Saturday. There are going to be games, storytelling, plein air painting, and music by the Hot […]

  3. Julie P. says:

    Thanks for stopping by yesterday, it was so good to meet you!

  4. […] Artini night. There will be drinks, food, a silent auction, plenty of time to check out their current exhibits and music by DJ Steve Anne. It’s $30 for non-members and free for Young Art members, but you […]

  5. Penny B. says:

    My dear friend, Gary, and I recently saw the Monet to Matisse collection at the Art Museum in Columbia, SC. We were absolutely in awe of the beautiful Monet done on the Seine at Giverney.  Gary passed away on May 29th.  I have been trying to identify that exact painting that moved him to tears! Can you help me?  I would be forever greatful.


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