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Art News: Bush and Adams: Fathers & Sons; Impressionism to Surrealism; Soprano Eileen Farrell


A new exhibit entitled "Fathers and Sons: Two Families, Four Presidents" looks at the relationship between the only two sets of fathers and sons to serve as American Presidents: the second and sixth, John Adams and John Quincy Adams; and the 41st and current presidents of the United States: George Bush and George W. Bush.

Appropriately enough, the exhibit is on display at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas. "Fathers and Sons" contains letters and other artifacts as well as portraits of the presidents, including a painting of John Adams by renowned artist Gilbert Stuart. The Texas exhibit also includes favorite works of art by the presidents, including one of George Bush's: a painting by George Healy called "Peacemakers." The former president describes the 1868 work. "It hung in my office upstairs the second-floor office at the White House. It shows [President Abraham] Lincoln with his commanders and a rainbow of hope in the background, towards the end of the war between the states, the Civil War," he says.

Former President Bush recalls that the Healy painting inspired him during tough times at the White House.

"It gave me a lot of strength to think that this contemplative president of the United States was going through a terrible, terrible ordeal and that there was a rainbow hope - in the end. That's what it meant to me," he says.

Former President George Bush, describing one of the works of art in the new exhibit "Fathers and Sons: Two Families; Four Presidents," which just opened at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum. The museum is located on the Texas-A-and-M University campus in College Station, Texas. It includes 38 million pages of official and personal papers of Mr. Bush and 70,000 museum objects not only from his presidency, but also from his tenure as ambassador to the United Nations, director of the CIA, and chief of the Liaison Office in China.

From father and son presidents, we turn to two pairs of art collecting sisters: Claribel and Etta Cone; and Saidie Adler May and Blanche Adler. The Cones and Adlers acquired the works of some of the best-known Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painters - such artists as Henri Matisse, Vincent van Gogh, and Pablo Picasso. A selection of these works is now on display at the Wadsworth Atheneum, in Hartford, Connecticut.

The exhibit, entitled "Impressionism to Surrealism," includes 50 paintings from the Baltimore Museum of Art, which owns large Cone and Adler collections. Among the noted works on display spanning from the late nineteenth to early 20th centuries- are Henri Matisse's "Purple Robe and Anemones" and Camille Pissarro's "The Highway." [OPT] Opened in 1842, the Wadsworth Atheneum is one of the oldest public museums in America and is known for its collection of the so-called "Hudson River School" of landscape paintings and European art of the Baroque era.

Renowned classical soprano Eileen Farrell died this past weekend, March 23, in Park Ridge, New Jersey from a circulatory illness. She was 82. Although Ms. Farrell was best known for her classical repertory, such as the works of Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi, she also sang songs from the world of popular and jazz music.

Born in Willimantic, Connecticut, Eileen Farrell's parents were vaudeville performers, known as the "Singing O'Farrell's." Ms. Farrell got her early music schooling from her parents and later studied the classical repertory with private coaches. At the age of just 20, Ms. Farrell began her own weekly network radio program, in which she performed a mix of classical works as well as Broadway show tunes. The radio show made her nationally known and led to her debut with the New York Philharmonic orchestra in 1949.

Ms. Farrell performed regularly through the 1950s, singing with such renowned opera companies as New York's Metropolitan Opera and the San Francisco Opera. She also appeared on many television variety shows chatting with hosts and performing skits as well as singing. During the past decades, Eilleen Farrell made recordings of popular tunes, such as the Frank Loesser classic, "I've Never Been In Love Before."

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