Monday, September 2, 2013

New Springville Museum book is a work of art 

Springville Museum of Art: History and Collection Authors: Vern G. Swanson, Jessica R. Weiss, Ashlee Whitaker, and Nicole C. Romney

 It took several years and four authors to produce THE book about the Springville Museum of Art. There are more than 160 years of history and thousands of pieces of art in the permanent collection condensed down to 417 pages. It is a work of art and a tribute to those who wrote, designed and published it.

 The first 50 pages begin with a reminder that the art collection began many years before the building was constructed or the little town of Springville existed. “The first intimations of an Art Movement came in 1848, two years before Springville was founded.” Pioneer artist Philo Dibble came to Springville with a vision of creating an art gallery or museum.

 Quick quiz questions: What is the oldest visual fine arts museum in Utah? What was the Spanish Colonial style building before it was an art museum? Which painting and sculpture started the art collection?

 Quick quiz answers: I’m sure you got the first one correct – the Springville Museum of Art which was completed in 1937. The second question is a common query from visitors – it has always been an art museum. The answer to the last question is in the book. Okay, I’ll tell you – it’s Mountain Stream by John Hafen and the plaster statue Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin.

 The majority of the volume focuses appropriately on the art and artists of the museum collection. Fascinating biographical information about Utah, American and Russian artists and descriptions of their selected art work surround large color reproductions. Some of the paintings will be recognized by museum visitors since they have hung on the walls in the upstairs galleries, or have been featured in recent shows. Due to the size of the collection, many art works are stored and rarely viewed. This volume allows readers to enjoy those seldom seen pieces.

 Some books were never meant to be downloaded. Some books were never meant to be viewed on a tiny palm-size screen. THE Springville Museum of Art book is a book to read, to turn the glossy pages and spend time with vivid art images reproduced from the collection. It is available for your Kindle, but I’d recommend purchasing a volume for your bookshelf. I suppose you could also download it for airplane travel.

 It’s a little early for Christmas shopping, but my dad will be getting one of these books for Christmas. He enjoyed painting and visiting museums until his health closed those doors recently. This will be a treasured gift he can enjoy for many years.

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