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Westmoreland Museum of American Art lecture focuses on Scaife bequest

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Kim Stepinsky | for TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
Judith Hansen O’Toole, (left), The Richard M. Scaife Director/CEO, leads a 'SmART Chat' gallery walk through the current exhibition, 'A Collector's Passion: Selections From the Richard M. Scaife Collection', held at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg on Wednesday evening, December 16, 2015.
gtrOAarttalk1122115
Kim Stepinsky | for TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
Judith Hansen O’Toole, (center),The Richard M. Scaife Director/CEO, leads a 'SmART Chat' gallery walk through the current exhibition, 'A Collector's Passion: Selections From the Richard M. Scaife Collection', held at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg on Wednesday evening, December 16, 2015.

Judy O’Toole, the Richard M. Scaife director and CEO at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art, shared discoveries about recent acquisitions Dec. 16 during SmART Chat.

O’Toole’s lecture and tour focused on Hudson River School artists in “A Collector’s Passion: Selections from the Richard M. Scaife Bequest.”

There’s much to be learned about the 19th-century landscape painters who were coming into their own, O’Toole said. “They didn’t just paint the Hudson River. They celebrated the whole United States.”

O’Toole talked about fading European influence in the work of the Americans.

In 1865, the mountains Jasper Cropsey painted behind Starrucca Viaduct in Lanesboro, Susquehanna County, were jagged and rocky. In the view Cropsey painted in 1896, now at the Westmoreland, the mountains are round, and covered with vegetation.

“When an artist goes back and revisits that, there must be something special about that,” she said.

Two oil-on-canvas works labeled “Unknown” hang together on one wall — “Unknown, Niagara Falls” (undated) and “Unknown, Lake Champlain, New York and Camel’s Hump, Vermont, 1858.” “Who painted it?” It’s a mystery for further study, O’Toole said. “We’re looking forward to sinking our teeth into it.”

The exhibit is on display at the Greensburg museum through Feb. 14.

Seen at the talk: Keith and Shirleah Kelly, H and Pat Childs, Anita Manoli, Bonnie Hoffman, Bob and Arlene Kendra and Linda Blum.

— Dawn Law

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