Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Day at the Maryhill Museum of Art

This summer we finally visited the Maryhill Museum of Art. From Camas it's an 86-mile drive east along the beautiful Columbia River Gorge. 

In 1907 Sam Hill (not the Sam Hill; you'd better believe I googled that first thing!) bought 5,300 acres of land on which to build a Quaker farming community. He built a small town, but the remoteness of the location proved problematic, and nobody moved in. The building he intended for his residence eventually became a museum, thanks to the support of Queen Marie of Romania (Queen Victoria's granddaughter), modern dance pioneer Loie Fuller, and Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, wife of San Francisco sugar magnate Adolf Spreckels.  

The museum is every bit as eccentric and eclectic as one would hope, considering its patrons. The very strangeness of its existence out in the middle of nowhere, combined with blazing sunshine and crazy wind made me feel like I'd stepped into an alternate reality. In a pleasant way.

Whatever the opposite of mugging for the camera is, that's what our boys are doing here.

I have never seen Nels stop with a painting like he did with this one.

The view from a window in the stairwell.

We happened upon a strange temporary exhibit. After WWII, the Paris couture shows were too expensive to put on as usual. So these mannequins were made, with all of the dresses and accessories in miniature. Different artists designed set pieces for vignettes of the fashions. Then the whole thing went on tour. I found it  interesting, though my crew was not entirely enthralled with the tiny platform shoes and gloves and handbags. 

When I saw this set, I thought "Les Miserables!" I had no idea that the artwork for the musical was based on an earlier graphic style I had completely missed. 

"Storage closet" as display. Looks like they're having a pretty good time in there.

Both boys' posture cracks me up in this one.

As I believe my friend Amanda pointed out, this sculpture would not look out of place in the Star Wars universe.

It was a fun day out there in the beautiful world.


alison owen said...

I never realized how much Nels looks like you til I saw the last picture. You two are so cute! And I love the storage room as display picture.

Gypmar said...

Thanks, Alison! I don't usually see the resemblance to Nels day-to-day, but some of our very young pictures look very much alike.

That storage room picture was one of my tickled me to finally take a decent photo of my own for a change :)

Tracie West said...

I love museums, this one looks so neat and it looks almost as if you had it to yourselves.