Georgia on my mind: High Art Museum

“Art is the highest form of hope.”

After enjoying several hours at Zoo Atlanta, I decided to head over to my favorite spot in Atlanta – The High Museum.

Located in the heart of Atlanta, The High Museum of Art is one of the best art museums in the United States. Since 1905 been the heartbeat of the city’s arts culture. It is at the center of the Woodruff Arts Center, a crossroads of community that houses the symphony, Alliance Theatre and High Museum.

The campus included facilities designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Richard Meir and Renzo Piano. It’s modern design reminds me of the Guggenheim with ramps leading up each floor. Natural light filters in through windows, illuminating the museum with a warm glow ideal for viewing art.

As an art lover (and painter) art is equivalent to air in my lungs. Nothing can lift a heavy mood, or console the heart like a day meandering through an art museum. Art is refined and wild. Art provides a unique window into the world and is a language of color and depth.

The High Museum is one of my favorite art museums because it houses a unique collection of more than 18,000 works of art – but also hosts world-class exhibits like Louvre Atlanta (2006) and the Terracotta Warriors of China (2009)

During college, I would make the 4 (ish) hour drive from Nashville to Atlanta several times a year to see the latest exhibits. Atlanta was the only museum to completely house The Louvre over three years (pieces of their collection). Some of the most famous pieces (sans Mona Lisa – she stays in France) made it to Atlanta; from Caravaggio to Vermeer.

In it’s permanent collection, art lovers will encounter an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American fine and decorative arts; major holdings of photography and folk and self-taught work, especially that of artists from the American South; burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, including paintings, sculpture, new media and design; a growing collection of African art, with work dating from prehistory through the present; and significant holdings of European paintings and works on paper. The High is dedicated to reflecting the diversity of its communities and offering a variety of exhibitions and educational programs that engage visitors with the world of art, the lives of artists and the creative process.

I spent several hours soaking in each gallery from the Renaissance Biblical icons and religious art.

As a person of faith, I love to sit in front of the icons of the Saints – like Mother Mary and St. Joseph – meditating and pondering the mysteries of my Catholic faith.

Art invites is a gift and has an almost supernatural way to help us reflect and find joy. It expresses the human condition and the hope we long for.

As an artist, continuing to learn and grow as a painter, I enjoyed spending looking at the layers and brushstrokes that build a painting.

Impressionism and beyond:

The High Museum has a fantastic collection of European art, including several glorious Monet’s, Pissarro, Sisley and more.

This Monet is my favorite: I admired it for at least twenty minutes!

American Art…

The High Museum has a variety of popular American artists and artisans including pieces from Frank Lloyd Wright, but this piece of a Baptist Church spoke to me and the spirit of Atlanta.

This painting ‘The Church is the Union Hall’ was painted by Lithuanian/American Ben Shahn in 1946. Shahn was deeply concerned social justice and the crossroads of the church.

Another painting that spoke to my heart: ‘The Old Bridge over Hook Pond’ by Thomas Moran. If you have followed my Yellowstone series you may remember that Thomas Moran traveled with The Hayden Expedition in 1871. HIs paintings of Yellowstone convinced Congress to declared Yellowstone a national park in 1872.

To learn more about the High Museum check out their website here.

This was a short ATL trip – but I’ll be back and promise to share some more Georgia posts in the future.

Next week I’m heading out west to South Dakota – we are going on a Wild West adventure…stay posted.

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