Category Archives: Nature

“The Garden of Les Mathurins at Pontoise” by Camille Pissaro


Photo: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Where: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri.  

“What interests me most is the subject,” says Simon Kelly, associate curator of European painting and sculpture of the home of Maria Deraismes, a prominent author and political figure in 1860s France who fought for women’s rights.

“The ideas she was fighting for put her at the forefront of early feminism,” he says.

Deraismes is also thought to be the woman gazing into the glass ball.  She and Pissarro were friends, and Pissarro, too, was very forward-thinking politically.  It is an unusual painting in Pissarro’s repertoire, as he is mainly known for painting the peasants and laborers of the French countryside.

The Garden of Les Mathurins at Pontoise was painted in 1876 and shown a year later at the Third Impressionist Exhibition in Paris. Importantly, Pissarro holds the distinction of being the only artist to exhibit at all eight of the Impressionist exhibitions.  More broadly, the painting is considered important for its successful use of color and light, and because it reflects Pissarro’s overt political interests.

“It’s a formal painting, but with lively brushwork and beautiful complementary colors,” says Kelly.  “It is one of a strong group of Pissarros on display right now, three of which are hanging next to each other in the same gallery,” he says.

See here for more information on the Nelson-Atkins Museum.


“Anne Geht Baden (Anne Goes Swimming)” by Susanne Kuhn

Photo: Kemper Museum

Where: Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri.  

An acquisition by the Kemper arrived just in time for summer.

Anne Goes Swimming by German painter Susanne Kuhn is large — more than 7 feet high and 5 feet wide – and hangs in the museum’s atrium.

The subject of the painting begins to undress in a pine forest in this surrealistic artwork.  A lake beckons behind her; stylized splashes of water sit on the painting’s surface.  Like many of Kuhn’s artworks, elements of Japanese art are also woven into the design —  a towel with a geisha motif and Japan’s “rising sun” emblem in the background.  As in this painting, most of Kuhn’s works combine elements of landscape, architecture, abstraction and reality.

Kuhn was born in 1969 in Leipzig in the former East Germany where she earned her MFA in Painting and Graphic Arts.  She came to the United States in 1995, completing postgraduate studies at the School for Visual Arts at Hunter College in New York.  She returned, ultimately, to Frieburg, Germany where she now lives and works.

Anne Goes Swimming was a gift of Dean Valentine and Amy Adelson in 2009.  It is the only publicly displayed Kuhn in a museum in the United States.

Learn more about the Kemper here.