Monday, December 15, 2008



JANUARY 9, 2009 8:00 PM

JACKSONVILLE, FL – The tale of never-ending love – Giselle is without question the most romantic of all the classical ballets. Regarded as a masterpiece of traditional romantic ballet, Giselle is a favorite among dance aficionados and novices alike. First performed by the Paris Opera in 1841, ballet’s most famous story about love and redemption from the great beyond has been enchanting audiences for more than 175 years. Performed by a company of 50 dancers, Giselle comes to Jacksonville on Friday, January 9, 2009 to the Times Union Center’s Moran Theater at 8:00 PM for one performance only.


In this timeless ballet, Giselle tells the story of the tragic love triangle between Giselle, a weak-hearted young girl who is adored by her native villagers, Hans, the village gamekeeper, who is desperately in love with Giselle, and Count Albert, a engaged nobleman who becomes captivated by Giselle's frail beauty and innocence.

Hans, filled with suspicion and jealousy, becomes enraged when Giselle falls madly in love with Albert and believes that they are engaged and exposes Albert's disguise and reveals that he is already betrothed.

Overwhelmingly distraught and horrified, Giselle dies of a broken heart. Upon Giselle’s death, the Wilis appear, a group of jilted maidens who have died before their wedding night and vengefully trap any man who enters their domain, forcing him to dance to his death.

Hans is discovered beside Giselle’s body by Queen Myrta, the leader of the Wilis, and orders the Wilis to dance around him until he dies from exhaustion. Myrta then orders the same fate for Count Albert, but the Wilis cannot break through the invisible bond of love Giselle has for him. At dawn, when the Wilis lose their power and must retreat to their dwelling place, Albert is saved and Giselle forgives him.

Giselle returns with the Wilis and recognizes that now she will be one of them for the rest of time.

GISELLE will be performed at the TIMES UNION CENTER’S MORAN THEATER on Friday, January 9, 2009 at 8:00 PM for one performance only. Tickets range in price from $40.00 to $60.00. Discounts are available for groups of 15+ or 40+ by calling (904) 632-3228.

To order by phone with Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover call the FCCJ Artist Series Box Office at (904) 632-3373 (toll-free outside of Jacksonville 1-888-860-BWAY.)

Tickets are also available online with Instant Seat Selection by visiting the
FCCJ Artist Series’ website,

The FCCJ Artist Series is recognized by the State of Florida as a Major Sponsor/Presenter Cultural Institution and is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, through the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Blue Velvet Evolve
Chelleby Photography

Exhibit shown on:
October 30, 2008 7-10pm

1253 McDuff Ave. South
Jacksonville, FL 32205

“Life is a gift - Death, our promise.

Time is an illusion for the mortals. To compare their greatness to the Almighty is a gift from the Supreme Deity for us to replenish and recover from all of our folly.”

- Chelleby: Blue Velvet Evolve

Blue Velvet Evolve is an artistic protest against all of the unsolved murders of victims ages 18-24 in Jacksonville , Florida. The photography showcase was originally going to show blue velvet fabric in all of the photos, however, art photographer, Chelleby decided to take it out – hence the name “Blue Velvet Evolve.”

Chelleby further explains, “Blue velvet was the original lining of caskets. I decided that the work evolved from the caskets itself, to being actual stories of murder victims in the habitat in which they died.” The pictures are to recreate & represent crime scene photos graphically posed with blood. Chelleby posed the models naked, covered in fake blood on prominent Jacksonville monuments to make a statement. Chelleby say, “If I’m doing public nude exposures in broad daylight at various times of the day then what’s going on in this city at night?”

The artist herself has been affected by young murders in her own life. Her friend Angie, whom she’d known since childhood, was murdered allegedly by her boyfriend by the age of 22. In Angie’s honor, Chelleby has displayed a phantom letter written in Angie’s words from a dream Chelleby had about Angie prior to the show.

Angie’s murder has remained unsolved to this day.

The artist Chelleby has had over 17 friends murdered or died of mysterious deaths, all under the age of 22 years old. Chelleby explains, “By having so many youthful deaths in my lifetime, it’s given me a carpe diem to be as caring & loving to those around me. I don’t believe in tomorrow anymore. I get everything done today.

Although Chelleby’s appearance is a darker, edgy mix of Marilyn Monroe & Edie Sedgewick, her inner beauty shows that she is a joyous person, happy & loving to those around her. In Blue Velvet Evolve she hopes not to bring depression & cynicism to her viewers but to enlighten them about what’s happening in our city. Chelleby clarifies, “I hope that the art show will raise awareness of all the youthful deaths & murders in Jacksonville, so that we can come together to help prevent youthful deaths in our community.

Related links:
(A community walk / foundation for suicide prevention.
Saturday Nov 2nd and the Seawalk Pavilion)

- Mia Carlin

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Flux Studio/Gallery

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


by Mia Carlin

The political thriller Julius X is the brainchild of playwright and national renowned slam poet Al Letson.
Four centuries ago Shakespeare penned Julius Caesar, four decades ago Malcolm X made his mark but there is still no escaping the immediacy of Letson’s Julius X; a conglomeration between 16th century Julius Caesar and 1960’s Malcolm X.

Leston first read the autobiography of Malcolm X at the age of 15 and it profoundly changed the way he looked at the world. Being a student struggling with dyslexia, Letson was taken by surprise when he was picked to read a monologue from Julius Caesar and it made perfect sense to him. Letson describes the experience as words jumping out from the page and the experience was like reading his native tongue for the first time.
To Letson, it seemed like a natural progression that Julius Caesar and Malcolm X would meet in the crossroads of his mind.

Although Letson received a grant from the Community Foundation to write the play, he was skeptical that it would see the light of day in Jacksonville. Being primarily a conservative city, Letson wondered if he could even do a big African American play in Jacksonville. Letson asked himself, "Where would you get the actors? What theatre would put it up? Is there an audience for this type of work?" Luckily director Barbara Colaciello Williams, Joe Schwarz and Players by the Sea came to his aid.

Julius X is a careful marrying of the two stories and taken some of the prominent dialogue and mixed them together. For instance, In Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar tells his wife Calpurnia "Cowards die many times before their deaths, the valiant never taste of death but once." Malcolm X knew this. "The price of freedom is death", he would say. Malcolm told his wife Betty Shabazz, "Don’t be bitter. Remember Lot’s wife when they kill me, and surely they will. You have to use all of your energy to do what it is you have to do."
Performed in the midst of Black History month, Julius X delves into what Malcolm X gave his life for; examining his beliefs and actions as well has bringing Julius Caesar’s characters to life again. The names and characters are from Julius Caesar but the motif and look of costume and set design predominately replicates the Malcolm X era of the 1960’s.
The controversy begins when Julius X (Freddy Tripp) comes back from Mecca leading up to his press conferences back in the U.S. Brutus (Larry knight), Julius X’s best friend winds up betraying him with the influence of Cassius (David Girard) because they believe that Harlem is living in degradation by the white man and Julius X is sinking them further.
Brutus, Cassius and Julius X all grew up together as equals in Harlem. Julius X, like the others, used to be a hustler, pimp, thief etc. and along his journey as an adult he became enlightened to a certain degree to that he went to Mecca and joined the nation of Islam, thus following their teachings. When Julius X returned, he had this exalted, higher level of thinking which in a sense made the black people of America feel threatened. They even so much as say "Oh he’s sittin’ over there eatin’ with white folks", which really isn’t the case in Mecca; there is no white, black, Asian, etc – they are all one brotherhood.
Julius comes back to the States and while trying to bring unity & advocate brotherhood he realizes there is still separatism between the races. Although Julius X promotes peace, he understands there are times when he has to be militant and stand up for what’s right; thus the saga of the play begins.

The production of Julius X isn’t so much as musical as it is a poetic interpretation. There’s African Dance, Interpretive Dance, Fighting, song, etc – it’s almost like a spiritual type of requiem; thanks to the choreographic skills of Kellina Chavoustie and DeWitt Cooper.
You get an eerie chill down your spine as you watch the Soothsayers writhe and swarm like snakes in the Interpretive Peace "Beware the Ides of March" and the gospel inspired "I know I’ve been Chained" makes the hair of your neck stand up.

There is also an interesting mesh of Old English and Ebonic dialogue within the same scenes and sometimes even within the same sentences.
A dialect you would rarely see conjugated; actor Freddy Tripp (Julius X) successfully jumps between the two with ease.

Freddy Tripp (Julius X)

Long before wowing us with his impersonation of Julius X, Freddy Tripp was impersonating a man who, unless you’ve lived on the moon for the last thirty years, was the biggest household name in the 1980’s and even today.
Yep, you guessed it – Michael Jackson.
After meeting Joe & La Toya Jackson at the age of 12, Freddy Tripp starting impersonating Michael Jackson and Prince while in a break dancing troupe on the downtown streets of Chicago. After moving to Florida, Freddy honed his craft at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts under the instruction of Dr. Lee Beger.
After graduation, Tripp immediately won the title of Mr. Beauty and the Beach on MTV being crowned "King of the Beach".
Freddy also performed in numerous well known plays including Oliver Twist, West Side Story, Rebel Without a Cause, The Jungle Book, Grease, Jesus Christ Superstar and even played Jesus Christ himself in Jacksonville’s own Passion play.
Delving into film/ T.V with roles of Illegally Yours, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and the Celestine Prophecy, Tripp show’s us that he is no stranger to the camera.

When asked what he did to prepare himself for the role of Julius X, Tripp replied, "I had old footage of Malcolm X, stuff from the internet and of course, Denzel helped out (laughs) – he did an amazing job as Malcolm X. But definitely a lot of speeches – the third scene "tell it like it is" are actual recorded speeches that Malcolm X gave so I studied his voice from those recordings. The writer outlet was a great thing; Al Letson is an awesome writer. He’s a nationally renowned slam poet, he travels all over the country. He just won the NPR award and he’s right here from Jacksonville. Barbara Williams, the director, she was one of Andy Warhol’s right hand man, coordinated some of Andy’s events, so there are a lot of creative people behind this production."

Freddy Tripp stumbled across the opportunity to play Julius X by happenstance.
Working on a construction job for a hotel, a tenant from an antique shop owner overheard Freddy telling a co-worker about his acting antics and approached him about the show.
Freddy recalls, "I went over there (Players by the Sea), rushed in & auditioned and the girl who I auditioned with became my wife in the play; they said we had good chemistry on stage. It was funny because I had this really thick Taliban / Jesus beard and Deltoiya, who played my wife Calpurnia, well; she got around the beard (laughs). She actually caressed my beard; I would’ve gotten grossed out myself but…"
Tripp describes Deltoiya Monique as "being really lively and romantic at heart" and applauds her on her performance as Calpurnia. "She has a romantic personality by nature and had to work on being sterner which she really pulled off. She has really grown as an actress."

The rehearsal process of Julius X was a total of 6 months. Auditioning in late August, the process took a long time because there were three auditions, a month of warm up and word tossing exercises, individual monologue rehearsals and weekend dance and crowd scene rehearsals.

After the production of Julius X has run its course, Tripp plans on delving head first into the world of independent film. He is to star and direct in the indie film "The Gender Wars"; a futuristic comedy where women run the world and are hungry for "real" men, rather than their metro-sexual girly boy counterparts.
Tripp is also doing a film called "The Rescue" which is set in the 1800’s. His character is black, white and Native American in a time which starts in the Indian Suffrage and ends in the African American Suffrage.
Also noted is the film short which is currently untitled, but is in comparison to "the Kingdom" with Jamie Fox. Basically the Marines go into the Middle East like Black Ops; the highest level of Special Forces.
In this film, Freddy delights in the fact that he has a beard and a camel.
Freddy explains, "If I’m not in front of the camera, I’m behind it. I’m there all of the time. If Jacksonville has some sort of piss ant project or big one, I’m on top of it."
Freddy’s "day job" consists of being a freelance photo artist for musicians, bands and models. But unless you are Freddy’s Mamma, significant other or best friend, don’t expect a discount – this guy doesn’t believe in free handouts; and why should he?
We all gotta make money somehow.

Freddy Tripp is a talented multi-faceted actor who has a catalog of many artistic talents.
Being the son of actor/ artist Fred and costume designer/visual artist Gina, Freddy is used to being the in the spotlight.
Being the Jack of all Trades when it comes to this biz, Freddy effortlessly succeeds in many facets of the entertainment industry.
Actor, Singer, Dancer, Photo Artist, Visual Artist, Casting Coordinator, Stuntman, and Avante Guard Fashion Designer (yes Freddy actually designs, sews and makes his own fashion designs as well as hand selects the models for his shows), Freddy Tripp is one creative machine who just keeps on running.
From Michael Jackson, to King of the Beach to Julius X – no matter what his star role leads him to, Freddy Tripp know he’s always going somewhere.

With a stellar cast, interesting set design, focused direction, beautiful song and dance, and of course, a well written storyline; Julius X is a must see for the season.
For the history of times, the style of the creation and the romanticism of old Shakespearean Literature this is one production you don’t want to miss.

Players By the Sea
106 Sixth Street North Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250
(904) 249-0289 - Information & Reservations

$18 General Admission
$15 for Seniors and Students

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Multi-dimensional art expressionist Peter Max blessed Jacksonville with his presence by showcasing his newest collection of paintings at the R. Roberts Gallery in Avondale.

Spectators and art enthusiasts assembled in a single file line wrapped around the R. Roberts gallery on a cold and rainy January night to view Peter Max’s cosmic art and to perhaps catch a glance of Peter Max himself. Being a man of little words, Max was scarcely present at the exhibition except in intervals where he stood behind a small roped off section of the cramped gallery and quietly autographed paintings and memorabilia. One would think a man who paints with such loud colors would in a sense have a bold personality himself; not Peter. He saves his entire valor for his paintings.

Visionary pop artist of the 60’s and 70’s to neo expressionist master, Peter Max and his vibrant colors have become part of the fabric of contemporary American culture.
With “cosmic art” containing bold lines and bright blended colors Peter Max exploded into the American pop scene in the 1960’s & became a household name.
Through the 80’s & 90’s Max’s art evolved into a new expressionistic style featuring bold, multi-colored brush strokes. Being part of the psychedelic movement, Max has effectively stretched his creative talents to the Nth degree. He has worked with oils, acrylics, water colors, finger paints, dyes, pastels, charcoal, pen, multi-colored pencils, etchings, engravings, animation cells, lithographs, serigraphs, silk screens, ceramics, sculpture, collage, video and computer graphics. He loves all media, including mass media as a "canvas" for his creative expression. As in his prolific creative output, Max is as passionate in his creative input. He loves to hear amazing facts about the universe and is as fascinated with numbers and mathematics as he is with visual phenomena.
“If I didn't choose art, I would have become an astronomer," states Max, who became fascinated with astronomy while living in Israel , following a ten-year upbringing in Shanghai , China . "I became fascinated with the vast distances in space as well as the vast world within the atom," says Max. Peter's early childhood impressions had a profound influence on his psyche, weaving the fabric that was to become the tapestry of his full creative expression.

His childhood was filled with magic and adventure, something in which adults seemed to forget about as they grow up. However, Peter found a way to hold onto that imagination and channel his childhood energy through his art. In a sense, by capturing the creative energy of his youthful aspirations, Peter Max is able to relive his childhood fantasylands by incorporating them into each piece of art. Somewhere along the line, amidst in his childhood wonder, Peter Max began to make a name for himself by daring to do something most artists in his generation rarely did; that was to paint simply and boldly. Peter Max had something to say to America and he spoke loudly through his paintings.
Although born in Europe and raised in China , Peter Max was quite committed to the United States . A true patriot, Peter Max has used his paintings to celebrate American icons and symbols. He has painted the last five presidents; Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton (Max has created his 100 Clintons, a multiple portrait installation whose images were used through the four days of the Presidential Inauguration.) and has enjoyed a 25 year love affair with Lady Liberty. After 911 Peter Max did many variations in the Lady Liberty series such as “Peace on Earth”,” Liberty and Justice for All” etc; but what is most impressive is the story behind his famous painting “Flag With Heart”.
One night Ronald Reagan came to Peter Max in a dream. He woke up but he couldn’t find a canvas to paint on so he painted the notorious “Flag with Heart” (now priced at $15, 650) on the back of an already painted canvas. To this day, “Flag with Heart” is always painted on the back of a canvas, unless painted on paper.
Max’s latest “Canvas” moved from the gallery to the skies with his painting on Continental 777 jumbo jet. This $160 million dollar canvas will fly throughout the world for the next two years. Peter has also been the official artist for five Grammy’s & created a 500 foot by 80 foot backdrop for Woodstock 99.
This year’s display of art from Peter Max shows a unique vision deriving mostly of hearts, angels, flowers, and sunsets with a gorgeous assortment of vibrant color. The show also consisted of painted baseball bats, NFL football helmets and a newspaper posting of Dale Ernheart’s #3 Millennium car getting revived with “Peter Max colors”. Peter Max even showcased priceless commission work; a hand embellished personal photograph of a clients wedding photo. Every painting in the show is unique; there are no pictures, no brochures, no images of Max’s art on the web whatsoever which increases the value of his work. Max’s artwork in the show ranged from $2,950 (mixed media on paper) to $75,000 (acrylic on canvas). Max’s past work, however, wasn’t as pricey or even as unique according to one former customer Charlotte Folsom. In asking what precious Peter Max remnant she had possessed, Charlotte replied, “I used to own a pair of hip hugger Peter Max bell bottoms in the 60’s. The front panel of the right leg was bright yellow, the left panel was bright green, and then there was a patch pocket on top of the bright yellow panel in bright green and a bright yellow patch pocket on top of the green panel. The waist band was bright orange and the belt loops were orange and yellow and green. They weren’t expensive at all; in fact they were the regular price of jeans. Back in the 60’s it was just art for the common person in the Sergeant Pepper era.”
From the looks of the response in the R. Roberts Gallery, I’d say Peter Max is still inspiring those from the “hippie generation”. Although they are now middle aged dressed in Armani & furs and clutching Coach Bags while sipping on Merlot; these pioneers can remember the flower child deep inside who used to clutch hippie beads, burn bras and pop Quaaludes like Tic Tacs.
And secretly Peter Max knows he has done his job for the night.


Friday, January 25, 2008

Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens

829 Riverside Ave
Jacksonville, FL 32204

Review by Mia Carlin

The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens began with one couple’s passion for art; Arthur and Ninah Cummer. Built on the site of the home of Arthur and Ninah Cummer, The Cummer Museum opened its doors November 10, 1961, upon the last dying wishes of Ninah Cummer. From Ninah Cummer's relatively small collection of sixty pieces that launched the museum, the Cummer's permanent collection has grown to over six thousand works of art encompassing eight thousand years of art history.
This enormous growth was accomplished through the generosity of numerous patrons whose gifts of art ranged from single pieces to entire collections. Other notable acquisitions were purchased with endowments established for that purpose by benefactors and The Cummer Council. Particularly noteworthy additions are the Wark Collection of early Meissen porcelain, the Dennis C. Hayes Collection of Japanese woodblock prints, and the Eugène Louis Charvot Collection of nineteenth-century prints and paintings.
The building that used to house the Woman's Club of Jacksonville was to be restored into the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens. The Club had purchased the riverfront site in 1926 for $125,000, according to Dr. Wayne Wood in his Jacksonville's Architectural Heritage. Mrs. Ninah Cummer and other Cummer in-laws provided financial assistance for this purchase. Architect Mellen C. Creeley (1880-1981) was selected to design the new facility. As Dr. Wood writes: "The Tudor Revival style was chosen to blend harmoniously with the neighborhood, which was then solidly residential (the elegant Cummer mansion, which at time stood next door, was perhaps an influencing factor in the selection of the Tudor Revival style). The structure was built at a cost of $60,000 and features half-timbering and a tile roof."In 2004, The Cummer Museum Foundation purchased the property for $1,380,000 from the ladies of the Woman's Club. The adjoining riverfront garden had been purchased for $450,000 two years prior. This collassal museum measures 13,400 square feet, while the entire parcel is two acres.

Permanent Collections of the Cummer

Recumbent Feline Vessel 700-400 BC Chavin Culture, Peru

Chavin, on the eastern slope of the Andes Mountain is the location of the oldest known civilization in Peru. Jaguar inspired feline forms are common in Pre Columbian art. In their belief system, the jaguar symbolized supernatural powers because of its hunting prowess. Peruvian Shamans or ritual specialists often identify w/ the Jaguar, particularly during hallucinogenic trances. The detailed clay workings of the Feline Vessel are mystical beyond all means and bring a sense of playfulness to the collection. A beautiful and rare find indeed.

Bridal Mirror Etruscan, late 4th Century BC

The production of mirrors in Etruria, located in what is now central Italy, began during the second half of the sixth century B.C. Mirrors were often engraved with scenes of daily life and mythology; The Cummer Bridal Mirror, cast in one piece, is incised with a scene of adornment. A woman is seated on a stool surrounded by items related to her toilette. A winged hermaphrodite stands poised to crown the woman with a wreath, while a bird brings her a necklace in its beak. The seated woman has been identified as Malavisch, the Etruscan figure associated with wedding rituals. Scenes of bridal adornment are common on Etruscan mirrors, supporting the opinion that these objects were given as wedding gifts.

Stela of Iku and Mer – imat Egyptian, Middle Kingdom, 11th Dynasty 2100 BC Painted Limestone

This stela depicts a nobleman named Iku and his wife, Mer-imat. The vertical inscription located in front of the striding Iku is a written "appeal to the living." It asks viewers to read the text of the offering aloud, providing the deceased with "a thousand of bread and beer, a thousand of beef and fowl, and of everything good, for the high official, the honored Iku." The text above Mer-imat's head describes her titles as "king's [ornament], priestess of Hathor, honored one, beautiful of ornament, overseer of oasis-dwellers." That Mer-imat's titles are significantly more elaborate than those of her husband suggests that Iku may have owed his noble position to their marriage. Ingraved with detail, the mysticism of this artifact is quite astounding. It’s hard to believe this ancient relic has held up with such precision over the centuries.

Cinerary Urn 1st Century AD Marble

By far the most beautiful of the ancient artifacts, was this 1st century marble Cinerary Urn. Chiseled to perfection, this urn bears a resemblance to a mini mausoleum; fashioned with beautiful rams, birds and flowers; elegantly engraved in smooth white marble.

Before Her Appearance Frederick Carl Frieseke 1913 Oil on Canvas

A painting from the turn of the 20th century; Before Her Appearance portrays the innocence and beauty of the classic American lady. The painting depicts a dancer dressed in a baby pink gown with pink ballet slippers, applying lipstick at her floral covered vanity. This painting was created while Frieseke spent the winter of 1912 on Corsica, an island off the Italian coast. He rented a house and garden there and sent for his favorite model Marcelle, who posed as the dancer in this painting. Before Her Appearance was exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1913 and was very well received. It was bought by Gertrude Whitney Vanderbilt for her private collection.
String of pearls, perfume bottles and powder puffs capture pure femininity with floral drapes, pink satin and soft ivory chiffon.
A painting so real, you can almost smell the baby powder.

William Zorach
Spirit of the Dance 1932

William Zorach's Spirit of the Dance was selected by the Rockefeller family to be placed inside Radio City Music Hall in New York. Cast in the then ultra modern medium of aluminum, the monumental dancer taking a bow was completed in 1932. Considerable controversy developed over the nudity of the figure when the sculpture was first exhibited, and for some months the dancer disappeared from view. When the artist exhibited a clay model, however, it was so well received by art critics and the general public that the aluminum sculpture was returned to public view at Radio City Music Hall where it can still be seen. Zorach authorized an edition of six bronze casts of this sculpture. A rather large sculpture, one can possibly be spooked by the figure. While, beautiful it is - the neck, arms, legs and feet are freakishly large. It’s as if the artist modeled the torso after a woman and the limbs after a man. Overall it is a beautiful piece and stands out as one of the most captivating works of art in the museum.

Charles Joseph Natoire
The Awakening of Venus 1741

As a student at the French Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, Charles Natoire was awarded the coveted Grand Prix de Rome in 1721. Natoire studied in Italy from 1723 to 1729, and returned to Rome in 1751 to serve as Director of the French Academy, a position he held for twenty-three years.

This painting was originally part of an elaborate interior and was set into a paneled wall. The awakening and adornment of Venus by her attendants, the Three Graces, was a popular subject because of its mythological and literary associations. The theme also provided an acceptable vehicle for the inclusion of the light, often sensuous subject matter associated with the Rococo style. The splendor of the painting illustrates the smooth skin of "Venus" as fresh and soft as a newborn baby. One could mistake her skin for ivory satin or soft flesh colored velvet. Natoire succeeds in depicting Venus as both virtuous and sensual as she can possibly be; a naturally naive seductress.

William Adolphe Bouguereau Return from the Harvest 1878

Considered Bouguereau's masterpiece, Return from the Harvest was commissioned in 1874 by the American department store owner, A.T. Stewart. His only stipulation in awarding the commission was that the painting be Bouguereau's greatest work and could not be a nude subject. Stewart died before Bouguereau completed the work.

Bouguereau often combined Christian and pagan themes in his art. Return from the Harvest presents more than just an idealized scene of life among the peasantry. The dancing peasants could be the devotees of the Roman god of wine, Bacchus, personified by the infant crowned with grape leaves. The subject could also refer to Mary, wearing the symbolic colors of red, blue, and white, and the Christ Child, whose head is encircled by a kingly crown. Regardless of the ambiguity of the narrative, Bouguereau paints each figure with realism virtually unrivaled.
Viewing the painting you are hardly aware that it is a painting. Bouguereau’s strokes and shadowing are so precise it appears as if you are looking at an enlarged photo. With beautiful color and distinctive expression, Return From Harvest leads you to believe that you actually took a step back in ancient Roman times.

Cummer Featured Exhibits

In Stabiano. Exploring the Ancient Seaside Villas of the Roman Elite

On a bluff overlooking the Bay of Naples and the modern city of Castellamare di Stabia, approximately 3 miles southeast of Pompeii, are the remains of the ancient site of Stabia. For the first time in the United States, this exhibition brings to light art objects and archaeological artifacts found in five ancient Roman villas built on that bluff. Wealthy Romans built luxury summer resort villas here. For a short time, these villas of extraordinary proportions, innovative design and luxurious decoration were a center of political power, wealth, culture and intrigue during the hot summer months. This thriving microcosm of privilege suffered destruction on August 24, 79 A.D., buried in ash by the same eruption that destroyed Pompeii. This stunning exhibition in the Raymond K. and Minerva Mason Gallery will be the last stop on an exclusive tour of nine American museums.
Organized by the Archaeological Superintendency of Pompeii and the Restoring Ancient Stabiae Foundation, tour managed by International Arts and Artists, and partially sponsored by NIAF, Grand Circle Foundation and the Istituto Italiano di Cultura of Los Angeles.

Joseph Jeffers Dodge
The Artist and His Muse 1992

A charming picture of an artist and his muse, this portrait portrays an aging man painting a portrait while a half naked woman stands behind him, watching him adoringly. It’s almost as if the woman were a guardian angel; gazing upon the old man with love, while smiling serenely and keeping her hands folded gently under her bosom.
Dodge’s paintings portrayed naked men and women in unusual scenarios from the 50’s and 60’s era; a time when nudity was barely a norm in art culture. Naked musicians wrapped in sheets sprawled out on brick rooftops on a hot day, a naked woman lounging in a chair in front of an open window or topless ladies playing catch in a mid summer afternoon; these were not your typical run of the mill 1950’s pinup portraits, however, they are painted with such leisure and tastefulness that you hardly notice the nudity and plainly admire the beauty of the naked bodies instead.
Joseph Jeffers Dodge was trained as an art historian and museum administrator at Harvard University before accepting his first job as curator of the Hyde Collection in Glen Falls, New York. At the same time, he began actively painting and exhibiting his work. In 1962, Dodge was invited to take the director's position at The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, a job he held for ten years before making a full-time commitment to painting. The Dodge Collection was bequeathed to the museum in 1997.
Admitting that Jazz music and the female figure was his primary muse; Dodge claimed that his female model, Jeanne Klempf, was the ideal beauty. Not only was Jeanne his model but she was also a friend that he shared his triumphs and tribulations with as years passed.

Joseph Jeffers Dodge No Turning Back 1959

Perhaps I took this next piece too personally. Perhaps that’s why I love it so much. Sometimes it’s necessary to hear the artist’s thoughts or original intentions of the piece to truly appreciate it. That’s what happened when I looked at No Turning Back. Viewing Dodges wonderful work I was suddenly drawn to this portrait. The child in the picture was so beautifully sad; a young girl at the ripe age of pre-adolescence, looking up at you with pleading eyes surrounded by toys of her past and blossoming flowers of her future. The development of her upper body reveals that she is no longer a child, but her eyes tell you she is not yet ready to be a woman. Wanting to know more of the painting I read the marker hanging next the painting which says: "In discussing No Turning Back Dodge explained that the young woman "is looking backward with regret and forward with apprehension, or perhaps with eagerness, depending on the girl. She is in a child-like pose astraddle a bench on which are the mementos and symbols of her childhood-including a doll struggling with the symbolic, umbilical cord-and the sheltered violets just coming into bloom. The upper half represents maturity and things to come: just as the upper part of her body is more that of a woman. The cut roses symbolize love, or the full bloom of life, and finally death, in contrast to the early spring of the violets growing below. The apples, of course, refer to Eve, The Garden of Eden, and the Temptation. On the lower shelf the apple is whole…while above, it’s been cut and one slice is missing-presumably eaten. There’s a certain ominous finality about this section which is very effective, I think in this context-and by itself, for that matter."
Dodge was always very proud of this work noting, "This is one I’d surely consider as among my very best."
I couldn’t agree more.

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** Some descriptions in this review are courtesy of The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens **