Lunch at Alice Sweetwater's and Naples Museum of Art
Alice Sweetwater's Bar
We had lunch today with Alex and Kathy on the outside porch at Alice Sweetwaters Bar. I (Harry) had a bowl of chili and a crab cake appetizer. Very good, but one or the other would have been enough. A nice place which we recommend.
After lunch, Marsha and I went over to the Naples Museum of Art. There were many excellent exhibits which we detail below.
Lunch at Alice Sweetwaters
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It is easy to think about going to a Museum on a cold bleak February day in Boston. It is not so easy to even think about going to an Museum on a blue sky 75 degree February day in Naples, Florida. But, go we did and it was worth it.
The Naples Museum of Art is that genre of small town museum where you can see all there is to see in two hours. There were five different exhibitions on view in the three-floor space. Two of the exhibits were drawn from the personal collections of two Naples residents. The studio furniture collection, and the miniature works in the Olga Hirshhorn Collection. The interior lobbies featured three story glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly. The exterior courtyard and entrance walkways also featured sculptures.
"The Naples Museum of Art, Southwest Florida's first full-scale art museum, opened to the public in November, 2000. The three-story, 30,000-square-foot museum features 15 galleries show-casing a variety of works by acclaimed artists from around the world."
"Built at a cost of $10.6 million [Take that, you bailout specialists...], the museum features a glass-dome conservatory, a 10-foot-wide icicle chandelier designed by world-renowned glass sculptor Dale Chihuly and entrance doors created by celebrated metal artist Albert Paley."
"The Naples Museum of Art is a division of the Philharmonic Center for the Arts, Naples' performing arts center."
Marsha’s personal favorites were the Living with Studio Furniture, and Mouse House exhibits as well as the Chihuly glass ceiling walkway.
The most intriguing aspect of the Living with Studio Furniture exhibit was that the owners actually know each artist and live with and use these works of art everyday.
"Robert and Carolyn Springborn began collecting studio furniture in the mid-1980s and went on to amass one of the finest and most eclectic collections in the country. This tantalizing exhibition – the largest grouping of their collection ever shown publicly – features cabinets, tables, chairs, clocks, sculpture, vases, lamps, glass, paintings and other works by such acclaimed artists as Albert Paley, Wendell Castle, John Cederquist, Wendy Maruyama and others. Most of the work in this exquisite collection is functional art, which the Springborns have lived with for years. This season, the public has a rare opportunity to spend time with this unusual collection as the Springborns share it with the Naples Museum of Art."
"A new selection of works from the Naples Museum of Art’s American Modernism Collection will be on display throughout the season. This permanent collection of approximately 300 paintings and works on paper represents all of the important movements in American art during the first half of the 20th century and includes works by Jackson Pollock, Oscar Bluemner, Alexander Calder and others. The Naples Museum of Art is the only museum in the country whose modernism collection is installed in rooms reflecting gallery design at various times in the 20th century. For instance, works of art by John Marin, Marsden Hartley, Arthur Dove and Charles Sheeler can be seen in a gallery reminiscent of Alfred Stieglitz’s 291 (c. 1917). A recreation of Hilla Rebay’s Museum of Non-Objective Painting (c. 1939), the forerunner of the Guggenheim Museum, includes paintings by John Sennhauser, Jean Xceron, Dwinell Grant and others."
Maybe it is because I can relate to the discomfort of all of the subjects of Fernando Botero's art, or the implicit humor of repainting famous scenes with full figured subjects, but I really liked the works of Fernando Botero. I particularly liked the women lounging in front of the Museum who had a cigarette in her hand...
"One hundred artworks are featured in this extraordinary retrospective of the Colombian neo-figurative artist Fernando Botero – the first major Botero exhibition in the U.S. in nearly 30 years. One of the most beloved artists of the Americas, Botero (b. 1932) is a painter, sculptor and draftsman who has captured the comedy and tragedy of human life for more than 50 years. Botero is known for his exaggerated rounded figures and rich palette combining the excesses of Spanish colonial baroque with the social realism of the Mexican muralists. The humorous surfaces of Botero’s art often belie a more serious message – a commentary on colonialism, political instability in Latin America and the vernacular artistic traditions of Europe and Latin America. This important retrospective draws on Botero’s own collection and includes paintings, sculpture in bronze and marble, pastels, drawings and watercolors."
The Mouse House miniatures were intriguing because of Mrs. Hirshhorn’s relationships with the artists and their obvious affection for her
"One of the most popular exhibitions at the Naples Museum of Art returns! The Mouse House is a treasure trove of great art, featuring works from Olga Hirshhorn’s collection by Picasso, Dalí, Man Ray, Giacometti, Calder, de Kooning and many other great 20th-century artists. “The Mouse House” is the name affectionately given to Hirshhorn’s small, art-packed house in Washington, D.C. Hirshhorn, who winters in Naples, and whose late husband Joseph Hirshhorn was the founding donor of the museum now bearing the Hirshhorn name in Washington, is an avid collector in her own right. The Mouse House recreates the atmosphere of her home and is a reflection of Olga’s taste and style."
Although I (Harry) like Dale Chihuly's glass, I see so much of it around the country and on TV these days, that I wonder if he is a bit overexposed. Perhaps that's the snob in my showing -- I suppose the same could be said of Picasso. But with Picasso, there is so much diversity in the styles, subjects, media.
"Dale Chihuly has gained worldwide renown over the past two decades for his large, fantastic, colorful representations in blown glass — works that have rightly transformed the perception of glass art from craft to sculpture. To date his work has been featured in more than 170 museum collections around the world. With the advent of landmark exhibitions such as Chihuly over Venice (1996) and Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem 2000, this major American artist has taken glass beyond sculpture into the realm of large-scale architectural environments."
"The Naples Museum of Art is proud to display three exquisite permanent Chihuly glass pieces. The exterior focal point of the Museum is the breathtaking 45-foot-tall glass dome conservatory, which features the Red Chandelier. Made up of 1,200 individual pieces of glass, the chandelier is about 20 feet tall with a width of approximately 12 feet and a weight of about 2,000 pounds."
"The lobby of the Museum is centered in the building and opens vertically, connecting the spatial volume of the three floors. It is topped with a 28-foot-square pyramid skylight, which supports the three-story Chihuly Icicle Chandelier. This chandelier is made up of 1,000 individual pieces of glass, measures 35 feet tall by 6 feet wide and weighs about 1,100 pounds."
"There is also a breathtaking ceiling of glass, Persian Ceiling, on the third floor of the museum, donated by Jay and Patty Baker. This ceiling is a magnificent display of beautiful and vibrant colored glass in all shapes and sizes."