March 2019 Painting of the Month
by (Saraf) Sara Feldman
Acquired in 1963
Viewers often look at the vivid swirls of color and movement in this painting and see a matador in a bullring. However, the artist's title, Drying Off, demands a closer exploration of the work. Further study leads to the awareness of abstracted forms of a mother surrounded by children. A small girl still wet from her bath stands in the center while a kneeling figure enfolds her in lustrous golden drapery. Behind her, the mother wraps another child in a long white cloth. The skillful use of asymmetrical balance combined with repetition of curves and exciting colors holds the viewer's attention.
February 2019 Painting of the Month
by Kathleen Hicks
Acquired in 2005
Reflections, the title of this work may be found to have two meanings here. First, "reflections" is the word describing the serene forest landscape with snow, bare trees and an area of frozen water. A low winter sunset beyond the trees provides enough light to cause reflections on the icy layer covering snow and water. Misty colors of yellow, rose, lavender and gray veil this world with only dark tree trunks and branches to anchor it firmly to the earth. The second meaning involves personal reflections of the viewer on the seasonal metaphors of the winter solstice: light and darkness, warmth and cold, hibernation and rebirth.
January 2019 Painting of the Month
by Helen Lindsay Lee
The frosty cold of a winter sunset is intensified here by stark white pine trees silhouetted against the fading light. An ice storm has transformed the trees into sharp stalagmites thrusting upward from a glossy foreground toward the sky. The background is almost transparent with no indication of texture. Dark smudges create the impression of land and trees untouched by the storm while a color-streaked sky hangs like a stage backdrop.
December 2018 Painting of the Month
by William DeBernardi
This holiday scene in New Kensington is an example of twentieth century urban impressionism. A row of houses on the left side of the work and a cleared sidewalk on the right form parallel lines that converge at the distant rose-colored horizon. Tire marks on the snowy road help to lead the viewer's eye to that point. Bright lights, candles and a Santa Claus at the first house on the left shine out through the mist of falling snow and identify the holiday season. A street lamp in the upper center of the painting gleams like a modern Christmas star.
November 2018 Painting of the Month
High And Mighty
by Aaronel DeRoy Gruber
Aaronel Gruber is one of the few artists who sent an interpretation to be included in the files of the collection. She wrote, "In High And Mighty I was most interested in controlled orchestration of color and space. I was seeking large masses of space and cool colors in order to achieve the feeling of the great height, the pinnacles, grassy regions and snowy areas indigenous to mountains. Space is its realm, color its mood, and my attempt to reach the essence of nature. The viewer may have an entirely different impression, since the layman can attache his own dreams, background and experience to what he sees."
October 2018 Painting of the Month
by Susan Tucker
The artist saturated this impressionist autumn landscape with light and color. The lake of the title can be glimpsed as patches of turquoise amond the complementary reds and oranges of the foilage. Dark patches on the bottom and both sides direct the viewer's eyes to the bright center of the work. The artist intensified the impact of color by building up layers of impasto to create texture and strength.
September 2018 Painting of the Month
by James Guentner
The Pipefitters hangs next to The Hoist in the office hall of the high school. Both works, although acquired more than 60 years apart, can be seen as foreceful visual symbols of Greater Latrobe's industrial history. The artist describes his style as a cross between photo-realism and romantic art. He realistically depicts these two men in their work-wrinkled blue shirts against a neutral construction background. Their faces, sharply defined in profile, are allowed to show for a moment their weariness before the demands of the job call them back. Guentner's feeling for romantic art is also shown in his portrayal of the dignity and strength of the blue-collar worker, most clearly seen in the hand of the man in the foreground that rests on the shoulder of his fellow pipefitter in a gesture of fellowship. His hand is the central focus of the painting and reminds the viewer of the generations of hands that built our country.
August 2018 Painting of the Month
The End of Summer
by Marjorie Laird
The artist's understanding of light and her expert technique created this motionless landscape filled with golden glow and long shadows. Three children, captured in the impressionist light of a late summer moment, race exuberantly across the lawn. The painting is realistic in style but still invites the viewer to see a metaphor for the rapid passage of youth. While the children run in sunshine, the dark trees in the background are tinged with the first indications of autumn color and signify the end of summer freedom.
July 2018 Painting of the Month
by Elizabeth Hazlett
A calm ocean has long served artists as a metaphor for varied concepts; peace, mystery, vastness and eternal timelessness. The Beach is a result of this artist's fascination with all those meanings, both in her experience and in her memory. The painting is a triptych, each of the three sections complete in itself. Taken as a whole, the work conveys an impressionist view of the expansive scope and majesty of a quiet sea. All is still with a straight horizon line marking the distance and an unpeopled seaside with only a stand of sea oats in the foreground. The title invokes the remembrance of summers past, of family, softly lapping waves and sand between the toes. The artist used all this to create the sense of serenity and re-creation that a beach vacation can bring.
June 2018 Painting of the Month
Mill Creek Valley - Pennsylvania
by Dorothy Hambly Ellen
Mill Creek Valley - Pennsylvania is a bright impressionistic work painted with a total absence of black in the artist's palette. The sunny scene is a hunting lodge near Standing Stone Mountain in Huntingdon County. The stream of the title crosses the foreground of the work and flows under the road that takes the viewer to the center of the picture. Greens and blues prevail in the composition with only one touch of red placed on the lodge roof to draw attention there. The balance and color combine to create a quiet setting.
May 2018 Painting of the Month
by Esther Topp Edmonds
The Somerset countryside represented here was one of the artist's favorite subjects. The composition depicts a rural spring scene with new green showing everywhere in the warming earth. The house and series of farm buildings half enclose the sunlit garden, creating a sense of secure privacy. Two men are planting the garden while a woman, wearing a dress of the same cream color as the house, sits on the porch. Ms. Edmonds' time studying and teaching in France is reflected in this work especially in the loosely painted trees and soft colors.
April 2018 Painting of the Month
by Carol E. Schalk
This painting, with its dogwood branch in full blossom against a partly sunny sky, evokes the essence of springtime. The artist caught the moment of full glory before green leaves replace the flowers. She depicted the flowers realistically, including the center crown of thorns and the tips of brown-red on each petal. She designed the sky so that the viewer's attention is drawn to the heart of the canvas. An area of cerulean blue in the center accents the leaves and flowers in that area and provides contrast to the soft pastel clouds that surround the branch.
March 2018 Painting of the Month
Main Street Relic, Latrobe
by Clare G. Stover
Mozart Hall, an architecturally interesting building in Latrobe, is depicted in this realistic work. The building was erected when George Seiler, a fancy meat dealer in the late 19th century, decided that the community needed a magnificent hall for social activities. He hired a Pittsburgh contractor to build this one. The artist carefully executed the intricate designs and colors impressed in the metal facade of the building. She captured the contrast between the ornate decorations of the turreted structure and the prosaic grocery market at street level.
February 2018 Painting of the Month
by Theodore Allmendinger
This elderly woman, with a rural Pennsylvania winter landscape at her back, gazes steadily at the viewer. Her portrait is realistic with glowing flesh tones and eyes that hold the wisdom of age. Her shawl and head scarf are skillfully detailed; the artist seems to have woven, rather than painted, them. The woman stands in the very center of the painting with her body and head forming an isosceles triangle. This shape is repeated in the roofs of the building behind her. The entire work is done in shades of black, white and brown with the only exception being the touch of bright green on the porch railing.
January 2018 Painting of the Month
by George Haskey
Winter Stream is a realistic interpretation of a forest snow scene, done in the style of the Barbizon School. The artist understands light and uses it to create the misty atmosphere that outlines the bare tree branches and dry grass stalks. The mood of the composition is one of peaceful equilibrium. The bold trees to the left gracefully balance the vegetation that fades away to the right. A meandering stream gathers all the soft browns and grays of the painting and brings them to the foreground.
December 2017 Painting of the Month
The Lazy Chair
by Joseph R. Frola
The artist painted this portrait of his bachelor neighbor who had told Mr. Frola that he spent the long winter days just reading and sleeping in his chair. Everything in the picture is designed to show the warmth and security of that home: an old stove with a bucketful of coal nearby, the overstuffed chair pulled near it, a cheerful flowered floor covering and the exterior show scene from the window to remind the viewer of the harsh weather outside. Although the old bachelor lived alone, he remained in contact with the rest of the world through his radio and newspaper.
November 2017 Painting of the Month
City of Night
by Jerome Bell
The artist used a surrealistic approach in his presentation of a night view of a city. At first, the painting looks like a brightly lighted amusement park; then, at closer study, the viewer begins to see outlines of buildings, white ribbons of roads and a dark river. Near the center of the work is a small onion-shaped dome that may be the Pittsburgh church familiar to motorists who travel the Parkway. Bell used a staining technique to apply his paint in very thin layers, resulting in a smooth finish devoid of any texture.
October 2017 Painting of the Month
by Virgil D. Cantini
Power and movement are the dominant characteristics of this portrayal of a football play. In the style of German Expressionism, the artist outlined the figures wih a heavy black line as if this were a coloring book. A dark background contributes to the illusion of the figures thrusting forward out of the painting. Conflicting forces collide in the center as a blocker clears the way for his teammate with the football. The players' faces, in the days before protective masks, show the intensity of the game. The number on the jersey of the ball carrier even looks like the word "GO".
September 2017 Painting of the Month
by Mary Martha Himler
Recess, the fourth Himler in the collection, is the only one of the works to include people. This painting is full of life as it depicts a scene Miss Himler recalled from her first teaching job. A one-room schoolhouse and its two necessary outbuildings provide the background for a busy group of children, their pets and their teacher. The trees and fence curve toward the figures. Only one child stands alone; the girl in the doorway of the school gazes pensively at the activity in the schoolyard.
August 2017 Painting of the Month
by James R. Beatty
Greywing Manor, owned by the Steele family at the time of this work, still stands in New Alexandria. The artist was interested in the unusual composition of an old apple tree in front of an English-style country home. The house and sky are a pale flat backdrop to the dramatic portrayal of the tree whose arching branches stretch from one side of the work to the other. One limb thrusts forward, giving the illusion of invading the world beyond the painting. The impasto work on the bark is unique; it is so thick that pieces of bark seem to lift from the canvas.
July 2017 Painting of the Month
Maine Fishing Village
by Marjorie Laird
An art seminar in Maine led the artist to discover this little fishing village while sightseeing. The impressionist seascape achieves a sense of stillness and harmony with its play of soft tones in light and shadow. Weather-beaten houses of various pastel colors and fishing shacks scale the hillside leading down to the rocky shore. Exposed pilings of the dock indicate that it is low tide. Several seabirds hover and a sailboat is visible near an offshore island but these are the only signs of movement in this tranquil scene. A little bluebird appears near the artist's signature indicating her hope that the painting will bring happiness to its owner. Marjorie Laird has long loved the sea. She and her husband once lived on a schooner carrying cargo in Central America and then moved to Boston with visits to Cape Cod.
June 2017 Painting of the Month
by Robert D. Long
Evening Landscape is another naive or folk art painting. This artist, however, has skill beyond most self-taught painters and understands the use of light and perspective. He divides the canvas according to classical tradition and creates a balanced work of serene harmony. The sheep in the foreground are real, so round and woolly that they seem in need of shearing. Lights from the setting sun slants across the flock and dramatically illuminates them as if they were characters in a theatrical production.
May 2017 Painting of the Month
by Martha M. Morgan
Blossom Time is the first painting acquired by the Student Council for the permanent collection at Greater Latrobe High School. A large apple tree in full blossom dominates this impressionistic work. The fence in the foreground and the road to the left form an expanding angle leading to a schoolhouse with children at recess in the distance. A small girl and barefoot boy on the fence look back to the schoolhouse scene. An intricate pattern of tree shadows leads the viewer deep into the work. The artist used a soft pastel color scheme to create mood and a variety of brush strokes to create textures in the picture.
April 2017 Painting of the Month
Ohio Farm On An April Day
by Robert R. Young
An unpaved country road leads directly into the heart of Ohio Farm On An April Day. After heeding the admonition of the yellow stop sign, the viewer arrives at the old farm set back under the trees. Smoke from the chimney hangs low over the house indicating the high humidity of the atmosphere, and bare tree branches bend in the same direction as the drifting smoke. The colors are winter-subdued; however, glints of yellow on branch tips and fresh green appearing in the field signal the land's awakening from a winter sleep.
March 2017 Painting of the Month
by Bertha Gill Johnston
A casual arrangements of red tulips and gray pussy willows makes up a spring bouquet in this still life. The artist creates a harmony of complementary colors, especially red and green, which guides the viewer into the gentle curves of the arrangement. Bertha Johnston has placed flowers on a white cloth in front of a window. This enables her to work with light coming thorough the window, filtering through the crystal vase and producing blue shadows on the snowy cloth.
February 2017 Painting of the Month
by John D. Clarkson
An arc of slushy road crosses the black tracks of a railroad under sentinel-like gates and leads the viewer to the center of a small Western Pennsylvania town. Perched beside the crossing, like an oversized birdhouse, is a little green building where the gatekeeper watches. The artist has succeded in creating a wet, cold winter day. The foreground is dark and desolate but the stuctures of the town stand with their glowing lights to welcome the approaching traveller.
January 2017 Painting of the Month
by George H. Gerhardt
Winter Sunshine is a well-planned composition that uses classical symmetry to create a sense of tranquility. Two ruts through the snow lead the viewer from a shadowed foreground to the clear, lighted center of the painting. On either side of the lane, groups of trees divide the work into the desired harmony of the classical tradition. The artist selected his most vibrant color and placed it in the very center in the yellow house. He balanced it with a smaller yellow building to the right and a red one to the left. He created the deeper snowbanks by building a thickness of paint, while simply staining the canvas for the misty background.
December 2016 Painting of the Month
Pittsburgh Snow Scene
by Peggy Phillips
Pittsburgh Snow Scene won the Carnegie Institute Prize at the Associated Artists Show in 1938. The work, in the WPA styple, presents a frosty, windy street corner. Snow swirls and settles on roofs,walls and road while two little birds huddle on the branch in the central foreground. Two small children, looking like birds themselves, brave the weather. Touches of bright green, red and gold brighten the black and white winter scene. Peggy Phillips told a student reporter that she wanted to enter a new painting in the 1938 show so she did this one very quickly. In fact, she painted the birds on the telephone wires the morning she took the painting to be juried.
November 2016 Painting of the Month
by Roy Hilton
November Morning is a view from the artist's home in the Mt. Lebanon section of Pittsburgh. Roy Hilton was interested in the pattern and play of light that caused inanimate objects to stand out as separate elements. He has successfully captured that light in this composition. The sun rises in a golden glimmer through the frosty haze of a late fall morning, creating a luminosity that breaks away into the golds of the landscape and the blues and greens of the sky. The tree branches stand out against the sky, each twig separate. People live in this scene; the old milk truck and car assure us of that. However, people are not important here as design and harmony create the suspended stillness of the breaking day.
October 2016 Painting of the Month
From Land And Sea
by Wilfred A. Readio
From Land And Sea is done with a superrealistic approach, although that style did not become a popular part of the art world until 40 years later. In this still life, the artist has taken four simple objects and painted them larger than life. In doing this, he seems to be saying that something here is important and he wants the viewer to discover what it is. A dried ear of corn and three seashells comprise the soft composition of light and shadows. Graceful curves abound in the shapes of the shells and curls of corn husks. The artist has created so real a quality of dryness in the painting that the husks seem almost to crackle.
September 2016 Painting of the Month
by Raymond S. Simboli
One of the all-time favorite paintings in the collection, Young Athletes, is a realistic portrayal of two football players and a friend engrossed in an unseen game. Dirt and grass stains on their uniforms indicate that the two teammates have already been on the field. The colors in the picture are rich and warm with touches of white in the background to provide distance and light behind the boys. The central figure is the artist's older son who was killed during World War II when his plane was shot down over Italy.
July 2016 Painting of the Month
A Day at the Beach
by Robert Anthony Jones
June 2016 Painting of the Month
by Clayton F. Merrell
May 2016 Painting of the Month
by Esther Topp Edmonds
April 2016 Painting of the Month
by Raymond S. Simboli
March 2016 Painting of the Month
by (Saraf) Sara Feldman
February 2016 Painting of the Month
by Kathleen Hicks
January 2016 Painting of the Month
by Helen Lindsay Lee
December 2015 Painting of the Month
by William DeBarnardi
November 2015 Painting of the Month
High and Mighty
by Aaronel DeRoy Gruber