It was a beautiful day, and a trip to the Cavalier Gallery at the end of Greenwich Avenue seemed a must-do. It was very spur-of-the-moment, and I was pressed for time. I had not called in advance. I was simply running an errand nearby and had the urge to enjoy some fine art for a few minutes before returning home.
The early afternoon light flooded into the gallery, showing off its selection of photographs, paintings and sculptures. I explained my blogging mission to the staff, and they graciously gave me free rein to look around and choose the pictures I wished to focus on. I felt like a kid in a candy store but decided I had to be good and choose two of my favorites. I could always come back!
First, my eye went to Mary Cassatt’s “Girl in a Hat with a Black Ribbon” (c. 1902). (Yes, this is THE Mary Cassatt.) The picture is a pastel counterproof on Japan paper and measures about 18 X 21; the current price is $175,000.
Cassatt was born in 1844. She was American by birth but moved on her own to France at age 22 to study art. Her independence and desire to be a serious artist were obviously very unusual for the time. Cassatt enjoyed success rather quickly, with the prestigious Paris Salon accepting one of her paintings in 1868 and, after a trip back to the states during the Franco-Prussian War, again in 1872, 73 and 74. She became an important artist in the Impressionist movement of the late 1800s.
I have always admired Cassatt’s work, and it was a real delight to find one at the Cavalier. The painting features a close-up of a young girl’s face, using a combination of soft colors, mostly light yellow and green with a background of beige. It is an appealing image—quiet and restful.
Nearby the Cassatt painting was Stephen Scott Young’s “Miss Ruby’s Flowers” (2005). The painting is a drybrush watercolor on Twinrocker handmade paper and measures 17 X 22; the current price is $160,000.
Born in 1957, Young has focused his work on the southern United States and the Bahamas. His paintings have been broadly exhibited and are on display at several major American museums and galleries. He is featured in the permanent exhibits of the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, which also exhibits the work of Andrew and Jamie Wyeth. (The Cavalier exhibits artwork by the Wyeths as well.)
The strong black and brown tones of the Young picture stand in sharp contrast to the muted colors of the Cassatt. The painting features an open, but dark, doorway into what seems like a farm house or barn with a still life of an upside-down bushel basket and country pot of red flowers sitting on top of the entry steps. One can easily imagine that “Miss Ruby” has just finished picking a basket of vegetables for dinner and grabbed the flowers on her way back. Despite the dark colors, the painting feels as sunny as a summer day in the south!
For more information about the Cavalier Galleries, please see their Website: http://www.cavaliergalleries.com