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Reconsidered 2

RECONSIDERED 2:
WORKS FROM THE COLLECTION

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EXPLORE BY ROOM

ROOM 1

Hal Lotterman

American, born 1920, Chicago, Illinois; died 1995, New York City, New York

The Painter, c. 1960s
Oil on canvas
Gift of Mrs. Mary S. Huhn, Mrs. Dorothy S. Steinberg, and Mr. John F. Seiberling, Jr. in memory of their father, Mr. 
J. Frederick Seiberling 1964.12

While teaching painting at the University of 
Wisconsin, Madison, Hal Lotterman exhibited his work extensively, including at the Carnegie International, the Corcoran Biennial, the National Academy, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

  • Two geometric forms frame the long 
    narrow painter.
  • The painting on the table is similar in style to Lotterman’s own work.
  • With its geometric forms and muted palette, the painting doesn’t have a clear visual emphasis.
Philip Pearlstein

American, born 1924, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Model with Legs Up, 1975
Oil on linen
Purchased, by exchange, with funds raised by the Masked Ball 1955–1963 1980.46

Philip Pearlstein, a contemporary of Andy Warhol, has maintained a consistent style, creating larger-than-life-sized nudes since the 1960s. His works have been collected by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, and Art Institute of Chicago, among many others.

  • The many shadows cast by the model’s legs are precisely rendered, set off by the whiteness of the wall.
  • The figure’s pale skin contrasts with the bright blue textile on the stool.
  • While the muscles and proportions of the figure are realistic, their skin is blemish-free and looks like marble.
William Schock

American, born 1913, Porto Alegre, Brazil; died 1976, Sarasota, Florida

Carousel, 1952
Oil on canvas
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Sidney D. Josephs 1977.8

After fighting in World War II, William Schock taught at Kent State University for twenty-five years while also creating an extensive body of paintings.

  • With one being slightly taller, the two figures echo the triangular shape of the mechanism in the background.
  • The muted colors give the composition a moody atmosphere.
  • The figures have indistinct features and clothing, making for an evocative and enigmatic composition.
Lari Pittman

American, born 1952, Los Angeles, California

Thankfully, I will have had learned to break glass with sound, 1999
Acrylic and alkyd on mahogany panel
The Mary S. and Louis S. Myers Endowment Fund for Painting and Sculpture 2000.2 a-e

Leading contemporary California artist Lari Pittman pairs a precise painting style with a complex visual vocabulary, often drawn from his queer identity.

  • The male figures have attributes, like headgear, that recall historical depictions of saints.
  • Three of the figures shed tears.
  • Pittman’s bottles and distillation devices might be symbols of alchemy.
  • The complex layering of images feels like collage, but on an unusually large scale.
Kiki Smith

American, born 1954, Nuremberg, Germany

Seer (Alice I), 2005
White auto body paint on bronze
The Mary S. and Louis S. Myers Endowment Fund for Painting and Sculpture in honor of the 25th anniversary of Dr. Mitchell D. Kahan’s tenure as director of the Akron Art Museum 2011.48

While Kiki Smith works in many media, she remains steadfast in challenging patriarchal power structures and transforming conceptions of femininity.

  • Varied textures provide visual interest in this work, from the roughness of the hair to the smoothness of the toes.
  • The figure’s face is disproportionately large, in an almost cartoony style.
  • Her hands seem poised to reach down into the gallery.
James Gobel

American, born 1974, Portland, Oregon

I’ll Be Your Friend, I’ll Be Your Love, 
I’ll Be Everything You Need, 2009
Felt, yarn, acrylic, and rhinestones on canvas
Purchased with funds from the Gay Community Endowment Fund of Akron Community Foundation, Steven P. 
Schmidt and Richard J. Krochka, and Museum Acquisition Fund 2010.43

Contemporary artist James Gobel’s work is about sharing the complexity of identity, particularly that of 
the queer community.

  • The singer wears three layers not commonly worn together: an Iron Maiden Powerslave t-shirt; a plaid shirt; and an animal print jacket.
  • The image is stylized, with the background lights seeming to come out of the figure like a halo.
  • The surface is adorned with rhinestones, felt, and yarn.
Sylvia Sleigh

American, born 1916, Llandudno, United Kingdom; died 2010, New York City, New York

Scheherezade: Cynthia Mailman, 1974
Oil on canvas
Gift of the Broido Family Collection 2004.3

Welsh-born Sylvia Sleigh, who worked in New York starting in the 1960s, used other artists as the sitters for her highly realistic nudes.

  • The sitter for this painting, the artist Cynthia Mailman, gazes directly at the viewer.
  • The setting includes three different patterned surfaces.
  • Rather than hiding imperfections, like 
    the sitter’s tan lines, Sleigh included them.
Richard Diebenkorn

American, born 1922, Portland, Oregon; died 1993, Berkeley, California

Girl Squatting, 1966
Oil on canvas
Purchased with funds from the Phyllis Albrecht Memorial Fund 1970.57

Richard Diebenkorn, one of the best-known 20th-century painters from California, mainly focused on abstraction.

  • The strong horizontals in the background frame the figure.
  • While simplified, the figure’s seated pose, with the bent legs, is relatable.
  • While there are aspects of realism, like the strong light source from the bottom that illuminates the top of the foot, the composition verges on abstraction.
Larry Rivers

American, born 1923, New York City, New York; died 2002, Southampton, New York

Lady from Panama Street, 1958
Oil on linen
Purchased with funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Sisler McFawn Foundation, and the L. L. Bottsford Estate Fund 1977.12

While many artists in the middle of the 20th century were focused exclusively on abstraction, Larry Rivers beat his own path, blending representation, abstraction, and drawing.

  • While it might feel unfinished, this composition was a purposeful choice. Rivers often mixed painted elements with pencil-like marks.
  • Rivers used faint washes of color to build up his composition.
  • The woman’s face is the most legible element of the composition, while the rest of her body seems to disappear into the background.
Nahum Tschacbasov

American, born 1899, Baku, Azerbaijan (then Soviet Union); died 1984, New York City, New York

Clairvoyant, 1947
Oil on canvas
Gift of Mrs. Mary S. Huhn, Mrs. Dorothy S. Steinberg, and Mr. John F. Seiberling, Jr. in memory of their father, Mr. J. Frederick Seiberling 1964.15

Nahum Tschacbasov worked as an accountant and an efficiency expert before starting to paint in his thirties. He became well- regarded for his surreal cubist paintings.

  • The numerous eyes in this image give the appearance of movement.
  • The red of the background sets off the blue hues of the figure.
  • The work’s visual complexity with layers of geometric forms is hard to decipher.

EXPLORE BY ROOM

ROOM 2

Raoul Hague

American, born 1905, Nuremberg, Germany; 
died 1993, Woodstock, New York

Angel Millbrook Walnut, 1964
Walnut
The Mary S. and Louis S. Myers Endowment Fund for Painting and Sculpture 2000.3

Sculptor Raoul Hague worked in wood for much of his career. He carved directly into the wood, rather than creating preparatory drawings or models.

  • This sculpture is carved from a single walnut trunk.
  • The composition looks different from each angle. Try walking around the form.
  • Hague purposefully chose to keep the wood grain visible rather than painting the surface, maintaining 
    a visual connection with nature.
Henry Elis Mattson

American, born 1887, Gothenburg, Sweden; died 1971, Woodstock, New York

Moon Over Ocean, Undated
Oil on canvas
Gift of Mrs. Mary S. Huhn, Mrs. Dorothy S. Steinberg, and Mr. John F. Seiberling, Jr. in memory of their father, 
Mr. J. Frederick Seiberling 1964.13

After immigrating from Sweden, Henry Elis Mattson did factory work to support himself as he strove to find success as an artist. His work was eventually shown at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Clark Institute, and the Corcoran Gallery.

  • The horizon line splits the composition in half.
  • White highlights punctuate the largely blue-toned painting.
  • The moon is off-center, tilting the composition out of balance and making it more lively.
Frederick Hollendonner

American, born 1928, Cleveland, Ohio; died 1990, Cleveland, Ohio

The Locker Roomc. 1953
Casein on fiberboard
Museum Acquisition Fund 1953.5

Frederick Hollendonner created fine art in his spare time while working in the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Conservation Department.

  • The three figures in this composition are seen mid-action, in contrast to the solid geometric shapes of the lockers.
  • The discarded garment on top of the lockers draws the eye to the figure in the foreground.
  • The mirror and the reflected figure in the background balance the weight of the lockers in the foreground.
Harold Kitner

American, born 1921, Cleveland, Ohio; 
died 2004, Charleston, South Carolina

Enigma I, c. 1955
Oil on fiberboard
Museum Acquisition Fund 1955.4

Cleveland-born Harold Kitner found inspiration on the many global adventures he took as a professor at Kent State University.

  • A pair of figures stand, hands clasped, flanked by an attendant in the center of the scene.
  • While the large central figures seem stiff, the smaller figure in the upper left corner strikes a dramatic pose.
  • Kitner balanced a strong foundation of 
    geometric elements with lighter, painterly brushstrokes.
Lillian Orloff

American, born 1908, Cleveland, Ohio; died 1957, Cleveland, Ohio

The Age of Fish, Undated
Oil on canvas
Gift of Mr. Charles E. Schwartz 1947.62

Lillian Orloff gave up a career in law to pursue painting. She eventually trained in New York and then 
returned to Cleveland before her untimely death at forty-nine.

  • The seated human figure has some discernible features, like eyes, hands, feet, and a mouth. However, much of the form is geometric rather than realistic.
  • The scale pattern, taken with the title, indicates at least one fish in the composition. How many fish do you think there are?
  • The many repeating patterns add visual interest to the image.
René Magritte

Belgian, born 1898, Lessine, Belgium; died 1967, Brussels, Belgium

Les pas perdus (The Wasted Footsteps), 1950
Oil on canvas
Purchased with funds from anonymous donors 1966.2

René Magritte is often associated with Surrealism, an art movement that explored the unconscious, 
dreams, sexuality, and fantasy.

  • The sculpted bird in the foreground seems to gaze at the soaring birds in the background.
  • The subdued palette creates a somber mood.
  • The sculpted bird looks worn, with a crack apparent across its middle.
Elmer Novotny

Belgian, born 1909, Cleveland, Ohio; 
died 1997, Walnut Creek, California

Citizen of Onsted, 1939
Casein on fiberboard
Gift of the artist in memory of Mrs. Janet Schulman 1962.74

Cleveland-born Elmer Novotny, who taught at Kent State University for 40 years, was known for his technical mastery of painting and detailed compositions.

  • The composition helps draw the eye to the sitter’s face, which is bracketed by the tool in his hand, the pole in the yard, and the white building.
  • The artist took care to include many casual details associated with a working farm, like sacks and a tractor. Still, this is not a real farm—it was inspired by a mill Novotny saw in Onsted, Michigan.
Kenneth J. Lipstreu

American, born 1923, Cleveland, Ohio; died 1998, Medina, Ohio

Young Girl, 1952
Oil on fiberboard
Museum Acquisition Fund 1953.7

Kenneth Lipstreu worked in commercial 
advertising while also creating fine art. He frequently showcased his work at the Cleveland Museum of Art’s May Show.

  • The arch of the building in the background frames the face of the girl in the foreground.
  • The composition is not easy to decode. The ball, dalmatian, and houseplant seem out of step with the monumental architecture in the background.
Charles Orloff

American, born 1896, Gowanda, New York; died 1979, Cleveland, Ohio

Bicycle Racers, c. 1954
Oil on board
Gift of Mr. Charles E. Schwartz 1961.4

While many members of his large family were lawyers, Charles Orloff chose to become an artist. Unlike his sister Lillian, who studied art in New York, Charles remained in Cleveland to make his career.

  • The arch of the bicyclist’s back echoes the shape of the stands.
  • The colors of the carts in the background coordinate with the competitors’ jerseys.
  • Many of the figures in the stands seem to be posed in pairs as if in mid-conversation.
Alice Lauffer Lawrence

American, born 1916, Cleveland, Ohio; died 2008, Akron, Ohio

Untitled, 1953
Oil on canvas board
Gift of Barbara Dieterich and Susann Drbal 2011.54

After training at the Cleveland Institute of Art, Alice Lauffer Lawrence continued to make paintings and prints into her nineties.

  • The folds of the fabric and the background elements are simplified, flat, and angular.
  • The demure young lady sits with her hands clasped upon her purse. Her expression is hard to read, leaving the viewer to guess her thoughts.
Denis Emile

Haitian, born 1923; died 1966

Bal Champetre, Undated
Oil on cardboard
Gift of Mrs. Malcomb McBride 1963.9

While many aspects of the life of Haitian modernist Denis Emile remain unknown, he often related elements of Haitian life in a modernist style. The title of this work means “Village Dance” in French, one of Haiti’s two official languages alongside Hatian Creole.

  • The repeating patterns worn by many of the figures echo the texture of the palm trees in the background.
  • The composition differs from traditional representations of space and distance, with smaller figures positioned in the front.
  • While their forms are simplified, it is clear that many of the figures are dancing arm in arm.