The Springfield Museums are filled with art that evokes all sorts of emotions. Among those is the feeling of calm. We asked our art museums team to help us consider art that calms. If you would like to share your Art that Calms, send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From Heather Haskell, Vice-President of the Springfield Museums and Director of the Art Museums
American, born 1949
Ball at Sunset, 1990
Oil on canvas
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Del Padre
An ordinary ball at dusk reveals the beauty that can be found in the simplest moments. The diffused light, the cast shadows, and a surprisingly perky sunflower garden decoration, create an intimate and contemplative scene of the world slowing down at the end of a busy day. Scott Prior, who lives in Western Massachusetts, is often inspired by the everyday activities of his family and friends. This scene, magical in its inner glow, creates a moment of joyous calm and a promise that a new day will dawn.
“I am west again and it is as fine as I remembered it, maybe finer, for me it is the only place,” Georgia O’Keeffe wrote on her initial visit to New Mexico in 1929. Gazing at the spare simplified forms and subtle colors the artist captures in New Mexican Landscape, I am reminded of how fortunate we are to live in a world of profound natural beauty. The land steadfastly perseveres, encouraging hope and offering assurance in times of change.
From Maggie North, Acting Curator of Art
A single, glowing window beckons from this hilltop home, which has been cloaked in a blanket of deep blue sky. John Hall Thorpe was known for graphic woodblock prints that used limited colors to achieve stunning results. Here, dark blue, rich green, black, and bold yellow come together to create an image that evokes the serene moments after dusk and before dark when the world prepares to unwind and fall asleep.
Communicating the visual effects of luminosity and vibrancy were among the goals of pointillist painters like Théo van Rysselberghe. In this painting, the sea almost appears to sparkle in the bright light, inviting the viewer to imagine absorbing the rays of sun or diving into the cool water. I’ve always found the beach and the sound of waves to be relaxing. For me, this painting is a reminder of warm days and salty air. It makes for a great fantasy escape to the French seaside.
This quiet genre scene by Springfield artist George Newell Bowers depicts a woman mending a fishing net, an activity that would have been commonplace during the 19th century. The simplicity of the moment, the comfortable domestic setting, and the soft light that streams in through a nearby window make me feel at home. I’d like to join this net mender for a cup of tea.
From Kris Ludwig, Manager of Exhibition Services
The scene brings to mind summer vacation in Glacier National Park—it makes me think of long walks in the warm dry sun, slowly smelling the moist coolness of nearby water and being totally refreshed standing near the spray. The painting itself is executed with a gestural ease that is calming as well. There is no anxiety in the placement of the strokes. The paint is pulled, dolloped, smeared, and scumbled from the artist’s working distance but it effortlessly recreates the natural scene when observed as a whole. It reminds me to not worry about the little details and trust that things tend to work out for the best in the end.
About The Springfield Museums
SPRINGFIELD MUSEUMS are located on the Quadrangle at 21 Edwards Street in the heart of downtown Springfield, Massachusetts. The nationally accredited and Smithsonian-affiliated consortium of museums includes the Springfield Science Museum, the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, the Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History, the George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, and The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum, the first and only museum dedicated to the beloved children’s book author and Springfield native.