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Urban Scenes from the Permanent Collection of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts


An exhibition of bustling streets, crowded sidewalks, busy docks and other urban scenes will be on view in the Smith Gallery at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown through January 25, 2004. Drawn from the Museum's Permanent Collection, these paintings, drawings and prints display various styles spanning the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. (right: Larry C. Rodda, Man on Stilts, Study)

The works selected depict the towering buildings. crowded fish markets and smog-filled skies that fill the everyday lives of people living in cities around the world. Scenes of many international locations will be represented including New York, Washington, Paris and Quebec. Lower Manhattan from Communipaw, New Jersey, an oil by Thomas Moran, shows the profound effect industrialization was having on New York in 1880.

Moran was born in Lancashire, England and came to Maryland in 1844 at the age of seven with his family, which included brothers Peter and Edward who would also become artists. Recognized as one of the foremost American landscape painters of the nineteenth century, Moran is known for his canvases of the American West, including the first images of Yellowstone National Park. He was not interested in the strict literateness of the Hudson River School, nor the Luminist's concern with light and atmosphere, but was a late romantic painter whose pictures, nevertheless, often have a very real topographical interest. Moran tried to emphasize the essence of American livelihood in his paintings and reveal it as a vital, yet interesting, part of life.

Other works on view include Taxco, Mexico, a watercolor by R. Jack Garver and Paris Street Scene, an oil by Jules Rene Hervé, a gift of Mr. F. Sydney Cushwa, Hagerstown, Maryland, The Grandmother by Jerome Myers, donated by Mr. Sidney Levyne, Pikesville, Maryland, Street Scene by Hennan Marll, a gift of Dr. Edgar Berman, Baltimore, Maryland and Dockside by Edward Rosenfeld, donated by Dr. & Mrs. Hyman Horn, Baltimore, Maryland. (left: Mary Koffler, Fulton Fish Market)

Rosenfeld was born in Baltimore, Maryland and graduated from The Maryland Institute. Over the years, he studied with many well-known American artists, particularly with Waldo Pierce when both were working with the WPA Art Program. Rosenfeld is probably best known in the Baltimore area as the sparkplug who rejuvenated Tyson Street by purchasing an old home and converting it into a model home and studio. His efforts encouraged others to buy up the block and Rosenfeld was affectionately known as the "Mayor of Tyson Street." He enjoyed painting scenes associated with daily life from the hustle of the city streets and harbor to Mount Vernon Place.

Other well known regional artists will also be included in the exhibition. A colored pencil drawing by Joseph M. Plavcan, recently donated by Dr. & Mrs. William G. Plavcan of Hagerstown, Maryland, will be on view, as well as works by William Clutz, Mary Helen Chrissinger and Clyde Roberts. (right: Herman Maril, Street Scene)

Clutz, raised in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, began his artistic career with classes in the Museum's Art School in the late 1940s. In 1952, he entered and won first prize in the 20th annual Cumberland Valley Artists Exhibition. Following graduation from the University of Iowa and study at the Art Students' League, he received international recognition for his art, holding innumerable solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and Europe.

Clutz has approached his art from many different angles including abstraction, but his oil and pastel figural street scenes have become his signature style. Inspiration for these compositions comes from the turbulent activity of the streets of New York City, where he now resides. Children playing in the parks, cars zooming down the streets, passersby flanked by skyscrapers, have all become subject matter for his works. Works by George E. Browne, Edmund Duffy, Theodore Jaques, Joseph Pennell, Larry C. Rodda and Lawrence Monier will also be on view. (left: Joseph Plavcan, Coal Yard)

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