American Treasures Talk and Tour: Bernard Langlais and his Animal Menagerie

July 29, 2013
Monday, 2 p.m.
Farnsworth Main Lobby
The Farnsworth Art Museum began collecting works by Old Town, Maine artist Bernard (“Blackie”) Langlais (1921-1977) in 1980 with the acquisition of Elephant, a charming painted plywood rendition of an elephant. Since then, the Farnsworth has acquired an additional six works, including two paintings, all but one representing animals. Known for his whimsical, lyrical animal sculptures and reliefs, Langlais’ output was prodigious and is represented in museum and private collections worldwide. After a fruitful career in New York City, Langlais returned to his home state and settled in Cushing, Maine in 1956, where he began experimenting with wood sculpture and other wood constructions, and lived out the rest of his life with his wife Helen and a menagerie of outdoor and indoor sculpture.
Poodle, a life sized carved and painted wooden sculpture of a standard poodle shown in the American Treasures exhibition New Visions, New Languages is a prime example of Langlais’ ability to fuse the art movements of his time, such as Abstraction, Pop Art, Assemblage and the Avant-Garde, while showcasing his ability to render the domesticated and wild animal kingdom with great skill and sensitivity.

This talk and tour will be led by Registrar Angela Waldron.

To celebrate the American Treasures exhibitions, museum staff will give focused mini-lectures on specific works of art to highlight their importance in the museum collection. These programs will begin with a brief 20-minute PowerPoint presentation in the museum auditorium, followed by a tour in the American Treasures gallery where the featured work is on display. The PowerPoint will include images of related works and provide context for their creation.

These tours are free with admission and there are no advance reservations. Please check in at the main lobby admission desk on the day of the talk.


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