ALLENTOWN, PA.- The Allentown Art Museum
recently added 12 works of art to its collections, thanks to the generosity of several donors. Gifts included paintings, prints, textiles and costume.
Two of the paintings, Urchins Game by Fletcher Martin and Connecticut Backyards by Marion Ewald were gifted by Mike Slosberg and Janet Cohn-Slosberg and have added significantly to the museums holdings of early mid 20th-century American art. A third painting, Self-Portrait at 65 by Mary Tobias Putman, was a special gift from the American Academy of the Arts under a special program intended to help selected museums expand their holdings of works by contemporary artists. To date, the Allentown Art Museum has received three outstanding works under this program.
Urchins Game, by California artist Fletcher Martin (19041979), is a gritty portrayal of young boys intensely involved in a street game that hints at greater seriousness than the title indicates. Martin, a painter, muralist and illustrator, excelled at capturing the intensity of everyday activities in his complex compositions. His work can be found in museums across the country, including the Whitney Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Georgia Museum of Art, and the San Diego Museum of Art.
Connecticut Backyards, by Connecticut-born artist Marion Butler Ewald (19101944), presents a nostalgic look at her childhood environment. Ewald, who spent most of her working life in Maryland, is known for her genre and landscape paintings and exhibited widely in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states during her lifetime.
Mary Tobias Putnam, a Pennsylvania artist whose unconventional landscapes are held by public and private institutions and collections around the country, often works on a grand scale. Self-Portrait at 65 is just such a painting, reaching over some nine feet in length in an expansive presentation of harvested fields that dwarf yet highlight the tiny figure of the artist at its core.
In addition to the paintings, a beautiful suzani, a traditional Central Asian textile, was gifted to the museum by Annette Merle-Smith. These heavily embroidered and appliquéd textiles were important components of young girls dowries and were used as room dividers or bed covers.