Abel G. Warshawsky

Inscribed Books at the Akron Art Museum

by Stefanie Hilles, Education Assistant

Imagine this. You visit the Akron Art Museum and fall in love under the “roof cloud” (the museum’s 327 foot long steel cantilever that joins the old 1899 post office building with the new 2007 Coop Himmelb(l)au structure). No, not with some beautiful stranger you exchange eye contact with across the museum’s lobby (although that would be pretty exciting too). Instead, you fall in love with a beautiful artwork. Maybe you’re a fan of American Impressionism and succumb to the charms of Abel G. Warshawsky’s pure color technique in The Seine at Andelys showing in the McDowell Galleries (and also installed as a reproduction at the International Institute in North Hill as part of the Inside|Out project). Perhaps you prefer your artists a bit more surrealistically inclined and become entranced by Art Green’s Delicate Situation in the Haslinger Galleries. Or possibly, landscape photography is more to your liking and you discover Robert Glenn Ketchum’s CVNRA #866 (from the Federal Lands Series), on view in the Arnstein Galleries as part of Proof: Photographs from the Collection.

Abel G. Warshawsky (Sharon, Pennsylvania, 1883 - 1962, Monterey, California) The Seine at Andelys, 1923 Oil on canvas 32 in. x 39 1/4 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Gift of Miss Malvyn Wachner in memory of her brother, Charles B. Wachner.

Abel G. Warshawsky, The Seine at Andelys, 1923. Oil on canvas. 32 in. x 39 1/4 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Gift of Miss Malvyn Wachner in memory of her brother, Charles B. Wachner.

Like the start of any epic love affair, you are captivated. You have to know more. So, you head in to the museum’s Martha Stecher Reed Library to do some research. The librarian hands you your desired books and you dive right in. Much to your delight, the books are autographed.  The Akron Art Museum is full of surprises.

Inscribed copy of Abel G. Warshawsky: Master-Painter, Humanist

Inscribed copy of Abel G. Warshawsky: Master-Painter, Humanist

Abel G. Warshawsky: Master-Painter, Humanist by Louis Gay Balsam came into the library’s collection in 1959 at the bequest of Mrs. Minna Wachner, whose generous gifts to the museum also include two oil paintings: Le Pont de la Cité, Martigues by Warsharsky and Landscape by William John Edmondson. The book, which is mostly dedicated to fifty black and white lithographs reproducing the artist’s work, was published by the Carmel Valley Art Gallery that, while no longer in existence, was once near to the artist’s Monterey, California home where he lived after his return from Paris in 1939. Dedicated to Billie Wachner, “Who is a dear sweet and wonderful friend [sic],” Abel signed with his nickname, Buck, as well as the longer A.G. Warshawsky.

Art Green, Delicate Situation,  1968

Art Green, Delicate Situation, 1968. Oil on canvas. 69 in. x 45 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Gift of William and Deborah Struve.

Autographed copy of Art Green: Tell Tale Signs accompanied an exhibition of the same name at the Corbett vs. Dempsey Gallery in Chicago, held from December 9th 2011 through January 21st 2012.

Autographed copy of Art Green: Tell Tale Signs accompanied an exhibition of the same name at the Corbett vs. Dempsey Gallery in Chicago, held from December 9th 2011 through January 21st 2012.

Art Green: Tell Tale Signs accompanied an exhibition of the same name at the Corbett vs. Dempsey Gallery in Chicago, held from December 9th 2011 through January 21st 2012. While the exhibition focused on work created years after Delicate Situation, the interview at the beginning of the text explains some of Green’s recurring  images, namely, the ice-cream cone and the flame that are found in Delicate Situation. Green states, “The image of the ice cream cone interested me because it is so idealized, not because of any specific symbolism. I like opposition and the flame offers that here” (p. 5). Another autograph can be found in Art Green, published by the CUE Art Foundation in 2009 to accompany the first solo exhibition of the artist’s work in New York since 1981. This exhibition was curated by Jim Nutt, who, along with Green, was a member of the Chicago artist group, “The Hairy Who,” that consisted of five recent graduates from the Art Institute of Chicago known for their grotesque subject matter and carefully finished style.

Robert Glenn Ketchum, CVNRA #866, from the Federal Lands series, 1988 Cibachrome print 24 in. x 30 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Purchased with funds from Kathleen and Gordon Ewers.

Robert Glenn Ketchum, CVNRA #866, from the Federal Lands series, 1988. Cibachrome print. 24 in. x 30 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Purchased with funds from Kathleen and Gordon Ewers.

In 1986, the Akron Art Museum commissioned Robert Glenn Ketchum to photograph the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area (CVNRA). Many of these images, taken over the course of several years and throughout different seasons, were later published in Overlooked in America: Photographs by Robert Glenn Ketchum. Compared to the understated signatures contributed by Warshawsky and Green, Robert Glenn Ketchum’s autograph takes on an almost landscape-like quality, with sweeping, flowing organic lines. Ketchum’s book uses the CVNRA as an example of national parks in general, exploring how man and nature interact and how the government manages its federal lands. The CVNRA series can be read in conjunction with another museum commission. In 1979, Lee Friedlander (whose work is also included in Proof) was contracted to photograph the industrial landscape around the Akron/Cleveland area, popularly known as the rust belt. In comparison to Friedlander’s bleak emphasis on desolate factories and the urban landscape, Ketchum’s landscape photographs demonstrate the natural beauty of the Akron area.

autographed copy of Overlooked in America: Photographs by Robert Glenn Ketchum

autographed copy of Overlooked in America: Photographs by Robert Glenn Ketchum

What is it about an autograph that seems to impart some extra knowledge about a person? Sometimes it’s what the person says in an inscription, as in the case of Abel G. Warshaswsky, that gives some insight into the artist’s life. Other times, it’s the style of the handwriting. Whatever the case, it’s an interesting and delightful surprise to discover these autographed works because you seem to get just a bit more information about the artist, something more human than what is captured in the descriptions and analysis of their work.

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How Inside|Out Was Made

By Roza Maille, Inside|Out Project Coordinator

Inside|Out is finally here! This April marks the launch of the two-year project and now everyone can enjoy the art in the streets and parks of Akron. This spring, there will be 30 art reproductions from the Akron Art Museum’s collection found at unexpected outdoor locations in Downtown Akron, North Hill, and along the Towpath Trail and Summit Metro Parks. Are you curious how we made this happen? Obviously there is no magic art duplicator, so we will let you in on the process.

Inside|Out poster. Inside|Out is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Inside|Out poster. Inside|Out is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

First, we needed to narrow down more than 5,000 objects in our collection to a selection of only 30 artworks. This was not easy task but we selected a nice variety of visitor and staff favorites that fit with the goals of Inside|Out. We also had to ask some of the artists and their estates for permission to use their artwork in this project.

Joe Levack photographs John Sokol's Man Eating Trees for reproduction for Inside|Out

Joe Levack photographs John Sokol’s Man Eating Trees for reproduction for Inside|Out, with Collections Manager Arnold Tunstall.

The next step was to then make sure we had high-quality photos of each artwork in order to get the best reproduction possible. Some of the selected artworks needed to be re-photographed in order to get the appropriate resolution for the reproduction.

In the spirit of this community project, we wanted to use local businesses whenever possible to construct the frames, fabricate the reproductions and to provide professional installation services. The frames were custom made by Jon at Hazel Tree Interiors. We selected a style and color of molding to accompany the reproduction and from there each frame was constructed to the exact measurements of each artwork. All of the reproductions included in Inside|Out are made one-to-one scale of the original artwork. The frames were then sent off to be clear coated in order to protect them from the weather.

Jeff, from Central Graphics, with Roz, making last minute adjustments

Jeff, from Central Graphics, with Roza, making final adjustments prior to printing

William Merritt Chase, Girl in White, reproduction being printed at Central Graphics

William Merritt Chase, Girl in White, reproduction being printed at Central Graphics

The high-resolution images of the artworks were sent to Central Graphics where they were printed on large-format printers, weatherproofed, and mounted into the frames. We even got a sneak peek at a couple of the images during the printing process.

Bill and Denny of K-Lite Signs installing John Sokol's Man Eating Trees (reproduction)

Bill and Denny of K-Lite Signs installing John Sokol’s Man Eating Trees (reproduction)

After everything was assembled, we were able to start installing in the predesignated locations. Bill and Denny from K-Lite Signs did the installations for us. You will find both wall-mounted and free-standing installations around town. Here is our first installation in North Hill, The Artist and His Wife by Elmer Novotny with the owner of Giovanni’s Barber Shop.

Elmer Novotny, The Artist and His Wife (reproduction), installed at Giovanni's Barber Shop in North Hill

Elmer Novotny, The Artist and His Wife (reproduction), installed at Giovanni’s Barber Shop in North Hill

On the first installation day, the International Institute of Akron took one of their English classes outside to incorporate the artwork into their lessons. Here the teacher is using The Seine at Andelys by Abel Warshawsky to help his students learn names of colors.

Clients and an educator at the International Institute of Akron using Abel Warshawsky's The Seine at Adelys (reproduction) for an impromptu English lesson

Clients and an educator at the International Institute of Akron using Abel G. Warshawsky’s The Seine at Andelys (reproduction) for an impromptu English lesson

The art will find new homes during each season of Inside|Out. In the fall, look for the reproductions in three different neighborhoods: West Hill & Highland Square, The University of Akron & University Park, and Cuyahoga Falls.

Learn more about Inside|Out.

Share your Inside|Out discoveries and experiences on social media using the hashtag #InsideOutAkron.