Last week, on the spur of the moment, Jeannine and I -- along with our friends Dan and Jess Berger -- took a trip down to the New Britain Museum of American Art in New Britain, CT. Jeannine and I had been to this museum once before, to see a show of M. C. Escher's work, but Dan and Jess had not been to it... nor had they eaten at Arugula in West Hartford (our dinner destination after checking out the museum). There were a couple of new exhibits, one featuring a realist painter named Sarah Lamb and another titled "One Man’s Passion: The Art of Carved Birds" which included over sixty objects from the collection of J. Kemler “Kem” Appell, one of the leading collectors of miniature decorative bird carvings.
I expected to be more interested in the former, and the paintings were very nice (especially the still life with olives), but I was blown away by the exhibit of bird carvings.
The sculpting -- and painting -- talent displayed in these pieces was just astonishing. Not only were the birds accurately rendered in form and color, but the bits of environment in which they were displayed as well.
And although many of the carved birds appeared to be perched on real branches, those perches were actually carved and painted to APPEAR to be real branches.
But the thing that really impressed me the most was this display.
When I first saw it, I thought it was interesting that the sculptor had found some common objects on which to pose the carved birds. However, when I looked closer and read the display card, I was flabbergasted to find out that ALL of these objects were carved and painted to look like the real things. And they surely did! Check out this detail from the above photo to see what I mean:
After wandering around the museum for a while more, we headed off to Arugula, the Mediterranean restaurant in West Hartford, where Jeannine once again got one of their amazing flatbread "pizzas", this time featuring asparagus and sun-dried tomatoes.
And yes, it was as yummy as it looked! -- PL