Handell was a successful and accomplished oil painter when he first gave pastels a try. The experience, in his words, was “like a fish going into water.” I had the privilege of visiting the artist in his studio last May to write a feature, which you’ll
find in our current issue. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, parts of the conversation can be viewed on our website video player.
The exhibition, which features 46 paintings in oils and pastels from Handell’s ouvre,
will continue through November 18. The museum’s director Louis A. Zona
had this to say in the show catalog: “I would suggest that his
understanding of the visual elements, and his mastery over them, places
Handell within an exclusive group of living American artists.” The
exibition, he goes on to say, “pays tribute to a singular talent … whose work advances the art of pastel as it contributes
in a significant way to America’s narrative art tradition.”
One hardly needs another reason to race to The Butler, but I’ve got a good one: Also showing at the museum, beginning September 21, is “Andrew Wyeth: Watercolors and Drawings,” an exhibition which I had the pleasure of seeing at the Cincinnati Art Museum last winter (my follow-up story appears in the June issue). From selections drawn from the Marunuma Art Park collection in Japan, viewers get a peek “behind-the-temperas” at the voluminous drawings and studies that have informed Wyeth’s masterworks. In particular, the show focuses on a three-decade period when the artist drew his inspiration from the lives and surroundings of Christina and Alvaro Olson of Cushing, Maine. Among the 114 works are several finished watercolors, as well as drawings and studies, including 10 for Christina’s World, Wyeth’s iconic painting done in 1948.
Others may drive off to ooh and ahh at fall foliage this season, but if you really want to be awed and inspired, I’d suggest steering the car toward Youngstown instead!