Tag Archives: Cone Collection

BMA Voices: André Bauchant’s “painting you can dream to.”

André Bauchant. Small Bouquet. 1927. The Baltimore Museum of Art: The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, BMA 1950.187. © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Rob Morgan, Collections Database Administrator

When most people refer to the Cone collection, what comes to mind are the Matisse paintings, or the works of art by Cézanne, Gauguin, Picasso, Renoir, and van Gogh. However, like most collectors, the Cones gathered a wide assortment of material including objects from Asia and Africa, local artists from Baltimore, and six paintings by the self-taught painter André Bauchant.

Bauchant was born in Tourain, France on April 24, 1873. Like many self-taught artists, he started painting and drawing later in life. A farmer and gardener by trade, he was drafted at the age of 40 to serve in the Army during WWI. It was in 1915, while stationed in Greece, that Bauchant started painting, also creating maps for the French military.

After the war, Bauchant returned to the woods of La Blutière, close to the mill where he was born. There, he continued to paint. He painted on wooden panels, cardboard, sheets, cloths – anything he could find. Bauchant painted until his death in 1958, leaving behind hundreds of paintings.

The Bauchant paintings we have at the BMA are typical of his style. He painted a lot of flowers (he was a gardener after all) including Small Bouquet (above), painted in 1927. In addition to flowers, Bauchant also referred to mythology in his paintings such as Apollo (below), painted in 1928. In addition, Bauchant is known for his historical and biblical paintings.

André Bauchant. Apollo. 1928. The Baltimore Museum of Art: The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, BMA 1950.188. © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

André Bauchant. Apollo. 1928. The Baltimore Museum of Art: The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, BMA 1950.188. © 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Like many self-taught artists, Bauchant’s compositions have some unique qualities. His trees take on unusual shapes with each leaf being distinctly painted. His love of nature fed an imagination that created these otherworldly landscapes. As André Breton said of Bauchant’s paintings, “This is painting you can dream to.”

BMA Voices is an insider’s exploration of The Baltimore Museum of Art collection through the eyes of its curators, conservators, and registrars. Featuring a new object every day during the BMA’s 100 Day Celebration, the project will highlight some favorite, amusing, unusual, and obscure objects.

Reproduction, including downloading of ARS licensed works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

BMA Voices: Seeing Leon Kroll’s “Landscape – Two Rivers” through the eyes of a child

Leon Kroll. Landscape - Two Rivers. 1917. The Baltimore Museum of Art: The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, BMA 1950.343. © Estate of Leon Kroll

Leon Kroll. Landscape – Two Rivers. 1917. The Baltimore Museum of Art: The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, BMA 1950.343. © Estate of Leon Kroll

Laura Albans, Curatorial Assistant for the departments of European Painting and Sculpture and Conservation

Leon Kroll’s Landscape – Two Rivers was first brought to my attention by my then-10-year-old son, who discovered it in a 2001 visit to the Museum. I clearly remember him standing in front of this majestic painting extolling its beauty. It was amazing to see my young child completely engaged in a work of art, absolutely mesmerized by its magnificence and unable to take his eyes off the canvas—just standing in front of it and saying, “Now that’s a beautiful painting.”

Ever since that experience, Landscape – Two Rivers has remained very special to me. So, when I started working at the BMA, and later assisted with the Cézanne and American Modernism exhibition (2010)—where Leon Kroll’s composition was to be included in the project—it all came full circle. I distinctly remember where the painting was installed in the exhibition—holding the wall ever so strongly among the French master’s stunning works. Seeing the painting through my son’s young eyes and mine, Landscape – Two Rivers continues to resonate with me.

With its motif, rich palette, complex, yet mindful, execution, and monumental scale, Kroll has unmistakably created a very Cézanne-inspired composition—another reason as to why my attention is drawn to the painting. Cézanne’s Mont Sainte-Victoire Seen from the Bibémus Quarry is one of my favorite paintings in the BMA’s collection, not only because it is the best example of this motif, but mostly because it reminds me of my beloved state’s highest mountain—Mount Katahdin—in Northern Maine. Although Cézanne’s inspiration can be seen in its execution, Kroll made the composition his own, as he later wrote, “If you copy directly, it’s kind of a swipe, you know. It doesn’t belong to you, it’s a secondhand thing.”

Paul Cézanne. Mont Sainte Victoire Seen from the Bibémus Quarry. c. 1897. The Baltimore Museum of Art: The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, BMA 1950.196

Paul Cézanne. Mont Sainte Victoire Seen from the Bibémus Quarry. c. 1897. The Baltimore Museum of Art: The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, BMA 1950.196

Kroll, born into a family of musicians, began studying painting at a young age at the Art Students League under John Henry Twachtman in New York. He later attended the National Academy of Design, where he was quite successful, having his first solo exhibition in 1906. In 1908, following in the footsteps of Baltimore artist Charles Walther, Kroll traveled to France to study at the Académie Julian under Jean-Paul Laurens. It was during this time in Paris that Kroll was introduced to the work of Paul Cézanne, after stumbling upon a gallery window displaying a group of the French master’s paintings. The American artist was completely inspired by Cézanne’s technique and color palette, which can be seen in his landscape paintings from his expeditions to Eddyville, New York, and Monhegan Island, Maine.

Upon returning to the States, Kroll exhibited his Paris paintings in the famed 1913 Armory Show, successfully selling all of his works. In the 1920s, he taught at the National Academy of Design, as well as the Maryland Institute College of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy Fine Arts, and the Art Institute of Chicago. The American modernist is mostly known for his figurative works, and was commissioned to paint murals for the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., Johns Hopkins University’s Shriver Hall in Baltimore, and a war memorial in Worcester, MA. Kroll had a successful career throughout his life.

The Cone sisters of Baltimore were not only patrons of Kroll, but had a close friendship with the artist and his wife. Between the two sisters, they collected one print, nine drawings, and three paintings by Kroll, including Landscape – Two Rivers. It should be noted that Claribel Cone purchased Cézanne’s Mont Sainte-Victoire, so one can easily see why Etta Cone would have purchased Landscape – Two Rivers.

BMA Voices is an insider’s exploration of The Baltimore Museum of Art collection through the eyes of its curators, conservators, and registrars. Featuring a new object every day during the BMA’s 100 Day Celebration, the project will highlight some favorite, amusing, unusual, and obscure objects.