A small show of plein air studies of skies executed by French, German, and Scandinavian artists in the last half of the 19th century is on view at the Morgan Library & Museum through fall 2014.
The 14 pieces in the show are part of a group of 130 oil sketches from the Thaw Collection that were given jointly to the Morgan Library & Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2009. The exhibition is part of a series the Morgan has planned to show select groupings from the collection of oil sketches given by Eugene and Clare Thaw.
“Cloud Study,” by Jean-Michel Cels, ca. 1838-1842, oil on cardboard. Thaw Collection
“Sunset on the Normandy Coast,” by Eugène Isabey, oil on paper mounted on canvas. Thaw Collection
“The first rotation in the series is devoted to studies of the sky, which [French artist and teacher] Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes said was the starting point for any sketch,” comments Jennifer Tonkovich, the curator at the Morgan who organized the show. “These sketches reveal the range of technique used by artists in their effort to capture the most transitory aspect of nature, the sky, at varying times and weather conditions. How these artists tackled the challenge of working quickly and rendering evanescent colors and forms is particularly relevant to contemporary artists working en plein air.”