Montgomery County

Arkell celebrates animal world in new exhibits

Opens for season Saturday
The Arkell Museum in Canajoharie.
The Arkell Museum in Canajoharie.

CANAJOHARIE — The Arkell Museum opens for the season on Saturday with two new exhibitions: “Animals in Bronze: The Michael and Mary Erlanger Collection of Animalier Bronzes,” on loan from the Georgia Museum of Art, and “Canada Lake Portraits: Animal Prints, Drawings, and Paintings by American Artist Paul Bransom from the Arkell Museum Collection.”

“Animals in Bronze” explores the groundbreaking work of artists from the animalier movement from Europe and America, including Antoine-Louis Barye, Pierre-Jules Mêne, Thomas Frelinghuysen, Theo. Alice Ruggles-Kitson, and more.

The first animalier artists shocked the art world with what was considered a crude subject matter. In the 1830s, a time when humans, history or mythology were considered the only appropriate subjects for art, sculptor Antoine-Louis Barye drew criticism for capturing the realistic and often intimate sculptures of animals.

Eventually, his work gained acceptance for his skill at capturing their sensitivity and character, beginning the animalier movement that continues to this day.

The Arkell Museum’s own sculpture collection includes pieces by Edward McCartan, Anna Hyatt Huntington, Frederic Remington and Armory Simons. Selections will be on display in the Nightwatch Gallery through the duration of the exhibition. These sculptures were gifts to the collection by Bartlett Arkell or by the artists themselves in the 1920s and 1930s.

“Canada Lake Portraits” features the artwork of Paul Bransom, wildlife painter, illustrator and summer resident of Canada Lake. Born in Washington, D.C, in 1885, Bransom taught himself to draw by watching animals in his family’s yard. First creating technical drawings for the Southern Railroad Company and General Electric, Bransom began his formal artistic career in 1906 as an illustrator for the Saturday Evening Post.

Bransom’s detailed illustrations were featured in hundreds of magazines and more than 40 books, including “Call of the Wild,” “Wind in the Willows” and “Argosy of Fables.” In the early 1920s, he built a home on Canada Lake which provided further inspiration for his art. Along with other artists and writers, Bransom worked to capture the beauty of the Adirondacks and its animal residents.

The exhibition “Canada Lake Portraits” features more than 20 pieces from the Arkell collection by Bransom, as well as a portrait of the artist by Bill Scott, and a view of Canada Lake by Charles Sarka, Bransom’s good friend and a companion of the Bransom family during their summers at the lake.

The Arkell Museum

HOURS: Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
ADMISSION: $9 for adults, $6.50 for students and seniors, and free for members and children under eleven.
LOCATION: The Arkell Museum and the Canajoharie Library are located at 2 Erie Boulevard and has off street parking and is wheelchair accessible.
CONTACT: 673-2314,

Categories: Art, Entertainment

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