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Museum: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Gardens: 7:00 AM - 5:30 PM
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All Items (Kelly, Felix)
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Kelly loved imagining the life of the beautiful old plantation homes he painted, capturing the history recorded in this passage from Mark Twain's "Castles and Plantations", based on a trip down the Mississippi: From Baton Rouge to New Orleans, the great sugar-plantations border both sides of the river all the way, and stretch their league-wide levels back to the dim forest walls of bearded cypress in the rear. Shores lonely no longer. Plenty of dwellings all the way, on both banks standing so close together, for long distances, that the broad river lying between the two rows becomes a...
Created by: Kelly, Felix
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In Kellys paintings, even the things that arent there . . . are there. So this empty Bandstand teems with a sense of unseen presence. Playwright Enid Bagnold wrote in a letter to Kelly that he painted "with a false and true perspective an indication that all might slip sideways and show what the ghosts and bodies . . . are really like . . . the unheard talk between one age and another . . . " For that reason, critic Herbert Read preferred the term "super-realism" rather than surrealism for Kellys work. In short, there's far more...
Created by: Kelly, Felix
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Designed by architect Henry Howard, this Iberville Parish plantation was completed in 1857, but, having been allowed to fall into disrepair throughout the 20th century, now lay mouldering and forgotten. Photographer Clarence John Laughlin, whose images of great houses abandoned over time echoes those of Kelly, wrote of Belle Grove: "When completed, its tremendous mass rose on huge brick foundation arches over twelve feet above the surrounding earth, its walls and mantels were plastered and carved by the most expert European craftsmen money could secure, its great flight of brick steps was covered with imported marble, its door knobs and...
Created by: Kelly, Felix
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Always intrigued by the workings of machinery, Kelly became fascinated with railways in the 1960s and they became the subject of a number of paintings. Though less obviously haunted and haunting than many of his house paintings, Kelly's trains still share some surrealistic qualities and show a debt to Magritte; the locomotives frequently feature a plume of smoke and drive through slightly ominous landscapes. Here he juxtaposes the railway with some of his other common motifs, including a steamboat.
Created by: Kelly, Felix
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During repeated trips to the Deep South in the 1970s, Kelly became enamored of the image of the great steamboats as well as smaller paddlewheelers. Like many of his paintings, Death of a Sidewheeler has what one art critic called "the spirit of something sinister and ghostlike." Alongside the derelict and haunted "queen" of the river, Kelly includes a smaller snagboat bearing one of his recurring motifs the candy stripes of its deck awning, a perversely cheerful note that surfaces in even his darkest paintings, inspiring yet another critic to suggest that he'd be a good illustrator for the...
Created by: Kelly, Felix
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Ferries had a particular nostalgic value for Kelly, reminding him of the ferry steamers of his native Auckland. When he found other ferry sites along the American seaboard and riverfronts, he couldn't resist painting them. He explained, "One sees these scenes of romantic dereliction in ones wanderings . . . They remind me too, of old corners of New Zealand seen as a boy. So it's almost second nature to paint them."
Created by: Kelly, Felix
Collection Item
In this work, Kelly combines four of his recurring subjects, icons of the Deep South river culture that were rapidly passing from the scene. His intent was to create a record of their passing as well as render an image of their haunting beauty even in decay. One critic explained that a neo-Romantic artist like Kelly, "paints a ruined house, not because it is ruined but because it was once whole; a decaying mansion, not because it is decaying but because it symbolizes a past for which he has a nostalgia . . ."
Created by: Kelly, Felix
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In 1972, Felix Kelly had his first one-man show in Louisiana at the R.W. Norton Art Gallery as part of the Holiday in Dixie celebration. Kelly had come to know the Norton family who became the most significant of his American patrons. The Kelly Gallery within the museum remains the most extensive display of Kelly paintings available to the public anywhere in the world. Only one British family owns a comparable number of his works but does not exhibit them publicly. Kelly created this painting of the Norton Art Gallery in homage to his friends and their support of the...
Created by: Kelly, Felix
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In the 1950s, a critic for London's Sunday Times referred to Kelly as a "rare master of the art of evoking the mood of a house." Naturally, Kelly fell in love with the frilly Gothic architectural decoration he found in the Ticonderoga area of upstate New York, which he depicted to full effect in Gothic Gingerbread. Kelly himself declared, "I feel its important to make a record of great homes, both here and in England, before grim things happen to them."
Created by: Kelly, Felix
Collection Item
As all artists know, viewing things or people from a low angle makes them appear larger, more powerful, and occasionally ominous. That viewpoint adds to the power of this work, providing the house with a sense of presence evoking both grandeur and threat, despite its apparent abandonment. It illustrates Kellys contention that whatever the subject, either imaginative or otherwise, I like to compose it not only of the visible but [also] the invisible people or things once there.
Created by: Kelly, Felix
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