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Traditions from the Permanent Collection: Geissbuhler, Gonzales, Florsheim and Jackson

September 10 - November 13, 2005


Elizabeth Ives Hunter, Executive Director of Cape Cod Museum of Art, has curated a new show which focuses on the work of four artists represented in depth in the Museum's permanent collection: Xavier Gonzales, Arnold Geissbuhler, Richard Florsheim, and Eugene Jackson.

In her curator's statement, Hunter says, "There are numerous traditions in art and when considering the art of Cape Cod and the Islands, we must be aware of both the traditions brought to our area by the practitioners who have lived and worked here, as well as the traditions that they have passed on. The European influences evident in Cape art go back well beyond the 19th century but the lens through which they were transmitted centers around Paris in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Men and women interested in art began by making drawings in charcoal from casts of Greco-Roman sculptures and then progressed to working from live models and finally, to working from nature in paint. 

"Arnold Geissbuhler and Xavier Gonzales came to our area with the traditions of Europe and South America. Both men maintained friendships with artists outside the United States and their work shows the influence of their cosmopolitan backgrounds. Geissbuhler's influence is still evident in the work being done at Scargo Pottery in Dennis while Gonzales' public decorations exist all over this country. 

"Richard Florsheim first studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, as did Henry Hensche and other painters who have contributed to the art of Cape Cod and the Islands.  He cultivated and maintained friendships with artists all over the world and incorporated that more universal view in his own work.  Florshiem's gifts were not limited to his creative efforts and he was an effective spokesman for artists of all types when he was president of Artists' Equity.

"Printmaking was Eugene Jackson's second career and his charming characters and the titles he chose put him in the same camp as Gonzales in that he uses the visual medium to make a philosophical statement. Cape artists have been printmakers for years. The influence of the Japanese wood block prints of the 19th century led to the development of the white line print in the early 20th century and is now associated with this region."

The show will be on exhibition in the museum's Hope McClennen Gallery through November 13, 2005.


Additional information about the artists


Arnold Geissbuhler:

Born 1897 in Delemont, Switzerland. Died 1993, Dennis, MA
Apprenticed with Otto Münch, Zurich, Switzerland, 1914-1919; Académie Julian, Paris, 1919-1920 (Bronze medal for figure); Académie Grande Chaumière, with Bourdelle, 1920-1925. (right: Arnold Geissbuhler, Woman's Figure, bronze, ,8 x 5.5 x 6 inches)
Geissbuhler's first American exhibition was at what is now the Whitney Museum in New York, in 1928. The next year, he had a one-man exhibition at the Kraushaar Gallery.  In 1950-51, his work was included in an important sculpture exhibition alongside Giacometti, Marini and Flanagan. 
Geissbuhler began his long career as a teacher of sculpture and drawing in the late 1920s. Over the years he taught at The New York School of Design, the Stuart School of Design in Boston, and Wellesley College. 
Geissbuhler and his wife, Elisabeth, who was a Rodin scholar and an artist in her own right, wintered in Switzerland and Paris where they maintained close contact with friends from the early days in Paris, Alberto Giacometti and Antoine Bourdelle, among others.
Geissbuhler worked and spent time in Provincetown during the 1930's where he was a member of the Beachcombers Club along with Karl Knaths, Edwin Dickenson, and writer John Dos Passos.
The Geissbuhler's daughter, Mirande, married Harry Holl who still works as a painter and sculptor in Dennis. Holl was one of the founders of the Cape Cod Museum of Art whose original mission was to collect and preserve the work of Geissbuhler and other prominent Cape artists in the area, which inspired their creativity.
In addition to the Cape Cod Museum of Art, Geissbuhler's work can be seen in the permanent collections of the Berne Museum, Berne, Switzerland, The Fogg Art Museum of Harvard University, Cambridge, MA; The Nation Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; and Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA. 

Xavier Gonzales:

Born 1898 in Almeria, Spain; Died, 1993 in New York City. 
Studied at the Chicago Art Institute 1921-23; with his Uncle, José Arpa; at the San Carlos Academy, Mexico City; in Paris and the Far East.  
Member of the American Watercolor Society; The National Academy of Design; The Art Students League; the Royal Society of Art, London, England; and the National Association of Mural Painters, of which he was president in 1968. 
Gonzales' completed numerous mural decorations including work for the New Orleans Airport, the City Auditorium of San Antonio, the Court House, Huntsville, Alabama; Newcomb College, New Orleans; The University of Texas; City College, New York, The Royal Society of Arts in London and the Department of the Interior. 
His work was included in exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum, New York; The Philadelphia Museum; The Whitney Museum, The New Orleans Museum, the Palace of the Legion of Honor; The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Seattle Museum of Fine Arts, the Witte Memorial Museum; The National Gallery; the Corcoran Gallery; The Brooklyn Museum and the Baltimore Museum. 
Gonzales is represented in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Seattle Museum of Fine Arts; The Boston Museum of Fine Arts; The New Orleans Museum; the Baltimore Museum; the Witte Memorial Museum; the Pennsylvania Academy and the Cape Cod Museum of Art. 
Gonzales met his wife, Ethel Edwards, when he was teaching art at Tulane University. The two shared long and productive lives and spent their summers in Wellfleet. 
"When a painter paints, he repeats continuous acts of humility. It is like writing about our own incompetence. The struggle to give form to emotions and our efforts to crystallize an idea are never realized. We must be content with something else, something that appears instead." (right: Xavier Gonzales, Meditation, oil on canvas)

Richard Aberle Florsheim: 

Born 1916, Chicago, IL; Died 1979, Chicago, IL. 
Florsheim attended the University of Chicago and then, without the support of his family, headed for Europe in 1937 to begin his art education. "Every artist who ever painted has been my teacher." He frequented Paris museums and met Braque, Picasso, Chigal and Dali. 
Florsheim's mature work progressed from somber expressionistic reactions to devastation and war to captivating images of the industrial aspects of the American urban scene. He was a master at capturing and interpreting the reflected lights from man-made structures as reflected in the lakes of his native Chicago and Provincetown harbor. 
Florsheim had numerous one-man shows and is represented in over 100 museum collections in the United States and abroad. He served as president of Artist's Equity and was frequently called upon as a spokesperson for artist's causes. 

Eugene Jackson:

Born 1887; date of death unknown. 
At the age of 85, Eugene's Jackson's wife persuaded him to carve in wood the fanciful animals he had sketched all his life. A distinguished linguist, scholar and author, Jackson began his new career as artist in 1972. He first exhibited his wood block prints at the Angus Whyte Gallery in Provincetown and later at the gallery at Tree's Place in Orleans.  
Jackson's prints reflect the wit and scholarship of the man who made them. The work is myth-laden, filled with strange and whimsical anthropomorphic beasts acting out human roles. He is represented in the collection of the Cape Cod Museum of Art and many private collections.

rev. 10/5/05

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