Metals, Monet and Matisse at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens
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”.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
4339 Park Ave
Memphis, TN 38117