Skip to content

Category: Art and Architecture

Westmoreland County Museum of Art: A Diamond in the Rough, Promising to get Sharper

The Mellon Family’s impact on the Art world is enormous: Andrew Mellon established the core of the National Gallery of Art. His son Paul established the Yale Center for British Art (1977) in addition to huge donations to Yale’s main gallery. Andrew’s cousin Sarah Scaife is responsible for much of the world class art in the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.

Her son, Richard Mellon Scaife, was a not insignificant collector in his own right. Better known for his funding of conservative political causes, his will threw at least a small loop at the art world when he died in July 2014. It specified that the recipients of his art would be two small Pennsylvania Museums, the Westmoreland County Museum of Art in Greensburg and the Brandywine River Conservancy in Chadds Ford. Works by the Pittsburgh-born John Kane would go to the Museum 90 minutes from Pittsburgh. The remaining 500 pieces were to be allocated in the ultimate art keeper league fantasy draft for these two institutions. That process began last year.

I got a chance two weekends ago to visit the Westmoreland Museum.

Westmoreland County Museum of Art

(Abstract Expressions about) Diebenkorn at the de Young

Monday the 30th is the final day of the de Young’s museum’s Diebenkorn in Berkeley retrospective. In the past I have not much cared for abstract expressionism.  The color field work just seems labored and pious.  Figurative work like William de Kooning overblown to the point of painful, and without much emotional connection.   Jackson Pollack or Sam Francis is fun to look at but not worth too much contemplation (though the latter has a retrospective in Sacramento next year which I’ll probably go to.)

Something about Seawall 1957 – the featured painting on the sides of many buses in San Francisco caught me – this was recognizably the California coast – I’d guess the view from the Great Highway in San Francisco – but beautifully abstract, and expressionist. OK I’m in.

Where’s the Cliff House?