It might be a while before any of us are able to travel out of town, so let’s take a trip through OKCMOA’s collection instead. Gather around the screen, and use these images and questions to escape the confines of your home. We’re taking a virtual vacation!
Let’s start by visiting Thomas Moran’s Falls at Toltec Gorge (pictured above), painted in 1913. This painting was likely created from a drawing that Thomas Moran did during a visit to Colorado many years earlier. In addition to being an artist, Moran was also an illustrator for a magazine called Scribner’s Monthly, and this position allowed him to document the American West through painting and drawing.
Take a moment to imagine you are inside the painting. What do you see around you? What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you feel under your feet? Describe it to a family member.
Now, let’s go to Maurice de Vlaminck’s River Landscape. Vlaminck was a French artist born in 1876. He was one of the artists featured in the famous 1905 Salon d’Automne exhibition, along with Henri Matisse and André Derain. These artists were labeled “Fauves,” which means “wild beasts,” because of their use of intense, bright colors and fierce brushwork. Fauvism was a short-lived movement, and Vlaminck only worked in this style until 1908. River Landscape was created around 1912, during which time Vlaminck traveled to London to paint the River Thames.
Imagine, once again, you are standing inside of this painting. Can you imagine what season it is? Or what time of day it is? What would you be doing in this place? Discuss with a family member.
Next stop: Portrieux Harbor in France. Eugène Boudin painted this seascape in 1873. He was one of the first artists to work en plein air—he painted outdoors looking at the scene as he worked. Boudin was also known for the masterful way he painted skies. Notice how low he placed the horizon line in this painting, leaving plenty of room for one of his signature large skies.
Let’s look for clues to figure out the story of this painting. What do you think is happening? What do you see that supports your answer? What was happening just before the moment depicted in this painting? (Hint: look at the title for a clue) What is going to happen next? Compare your answers with a family member’s. Did you notice the same clues and come up with the same story?
This next stop is a surprise. Grab a pencil and paper, but don’t look closely at the work of art yet. Have a family member describe the work of art to you in detail. Draw what they describe. After you have completed your drawing, try to guess what part of the world you have drawn. Now, look at the work of art! How close is your drawing to the original? Is the place close to what you had imagined?
This work of art was painted by Nan Sheets and features a place called Arroyo Hondo, a small town near Taos, New Mexico. Sheets was the first director of the Oklahoma Art Center, which would eventually become the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. She was also an artist and had an art gallery in her home.
Now that we’ve toured some of the works in OKCMOA’s collection, where would you like to travel next? Visit our collection page or our Google Arts & Culture page to discover more places to visit. Share your favorites with us at #OKCMOAathome.
The Museum relies on admission revenue from our galleries and films as well as donations to provide rich cultural and educational experiences for all. Please consider making a gift of any size to support the Museum as our community continues to shelter in place.
Credits: Thomas Moran (American, 1837–1926) Falls at Toltec Gorge, 1913, Oil on canvas, 40 x 30 in. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Gift of the Norma Burford Estate, 1978.019. Maurice de Vlaminck (French, 1876–1958) River Landscape, ca. 1912, Oil on canvas, 25 1/2 x 35 in. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. R.A. Young, 2002.007. Eugène Boudin (French, 1824–1898) Portrieux Harbor – Low Tide, 1873, Oil on canvas, 17 x 27 in. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Sylvan N. Goldman, 1981.172. Nan Sheets (American, 1885–1976) Arroyo Hondo, no date, Oil on canvas, 20 x 24 in. Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Gift of the Kirkpatrick Foundation, 1999.040.