Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Visiting The Four Arts

Every winter I look forward to the exhibitions at The Society of The Four Arts in Palm Beach. Years ago when my dad was still alive, the gallery had an Annual National Exhibition of Contemporary American Paintings. My dad's work was accepted into the 55th and 56th Annual shows. I would have loved to submit one of my paintings for consideration, but by the time I began exhibiting in 2002 or 2003, the Annual Exhibition was no longer taking place. Regardless of that, whenever I visit the Society I have a warm feeling and a sense of my dad's presence there. In recent years, I have enjoyed visiting the gardens across the street from the gallery, and last week I discovered the King Library.

My sister, Jan, who is the treasurer of the Audubon Society of the Everglades (our local chapter), invited me to join her for a lecture given by Claudine Laabs, an Audubon chum. Claudine is a fabulous nature photographer who specializes in avian photography. Her beautiful work has been published in a variety of publications including World Wildlife Fund books and Audubon calendars. Her lecture and slide presentation begins in the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge near Vero Beach, travels across the state to Sanibel, east to Palm Beach County and down to the Everglades and the Keys showing the magnificent birds who share our environment. Claudine's engaging style, attractive appearance, and knowledge about wildlife add to the power of her photographs. Remember her name because she lectures often in local libraries.

The day of her lecture we were given handouts about upcoming lectures in the King Library. This week Jan and I attended Human Expressionism, The Human Figure and the Jewish Experience given by Dr. Eliane Strosberg whose book with the same name was published last year. Dr. Strosberg, an M.D. and Ph.D., is the mother of Serge Strosberg, a Belgium born emerging internationally known artist. His compelling representations of human figures are currently on display at the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens in West Palm Beach. Dr. Strosberg previously published Art & Science, but her son's work inspired her recent book on Human Expressionism. She presented figure paintings and sculptures done by Jewish artists as early as 237 B.C. and offered an analysis of artists through the centuries including the works of Pissarro, Soutine, and Modigliani.

That afternoon we also visited the main gallery where I was delighted by a small William Merritt Chase painting done on the back of a cigar box lid. He was one of the many artists represented in the show American Impressionism Paintings From The Phillips Collection which ends April 15th. Besides Chase, I enjoyed five shimmering landscapes done by J. Alden Weir as well as several paintings by Ernest Lawson, Maurice Prendergast, and Robert Spencer.

The Society of the Four Arts, a nonprofit organization, was founded by a group of Palm Beach residents to meet the cultural needs of the community. The four arts which constitute the Society's mission are music, drama, literature, and art. Every season from November through April, The Four Arts presents lectures, concerts, films, art exhibitions, and educational programs. It's always a pleasure to visit, so I'm sorry that this season is coming to an end. At least the gardens are open during the summer, and there is always next season.