William Paterson University Galleries Showcases Nineteenth Century Paintings From its Permanent Collection in New Exhibition

Rarely displayed works by nineteenth century artists Ralph Albert Blakelock, Willard Leroy Metcalf, and Edwin Lord Weeks are among the works on view in Nineteenth Century Paintings from the Permanent Collection, an exhibition in the University Galleries in the Ben Shahn Center for the Visual Arts at William Paterson University in Wayne from November 4 through December 13, 2013.  Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on November 10, 17 and 24 and December 8 from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free. An opening reception for the exhibition will be held on Sunday, November 3 from 2 to 4 p.m. Kelly Claudette Ruffel, a William Paterson University graduate student in history, will present her master of arts thesis, Collecting the Past, New Jersey Industrialists and Landscape Painting, on Tuesday, December 10, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in the Galleries.

This exhibition presents a small selection of eighty-five artworks donated to William Paterson University by Jeanne and S. Paul Boochever between 1959 and 1968. The Boochevers were avid collectors and had a wide range of interests that included nineteenth century American paintings and Japanese and French prints. Although not currently on view, the collection also includes more than thirty works by Anthony Thomas Triano (1928-1997), a painter, sculptor, and illustrator who taught at Seton Hall University.

Among the artworks included in the exhibition is “Moroccan Street Scene” (1883) by Willard Leroy Metcalf (1858-1925). Metcalf was an American Impressionist, one of a group of artists who emulated their European predecessors in their landscape scenes, use of natural light, and rapid brushwork. Metcalf visited Giverny, France, an artist colony where Claude Monet (1840-1926) practiced outdoor painting. Upon his return to the United States, Metcalf opened a studio in New York, where he was a portrait painter, illustrator, and teacher.

Artist Ralph Albert Blakelock (1847-1919) was influenced by the Hudson River School, an American art movement whose artists portrayed the ruggedness and vastness of the American landscape. A native of New York, Blakelock traveled extensively in the Western United States, Mexico, and Central America, gathering inspiration for his landscapes.  His favorite subject matter included depictions of seclusion in the wilderness, as well as moonlight landscapes and twilight hours, such as in his painting “Twilight,” on view in the exhibition.

Edwin Lord Weeks, whose work “Arab Scene” is included in the exhibition, favored creating exotic and imagined historical images of African and Middle Eastern societies. Here, he depicts Morocco from a typical Western perspective, as a scene of mystery, seduction and beauty. Like many of the artists in this exhibition, Weeks practiced plein air (or outdoor) painting and studied the effects of natural light and shadow.

Other artists included in the exhibition are Edward Lord Weeks, Frederick Arthur Bridgman, J. Antonio Hekking, Sir Benjamin W. Leader, William Trost Richards, and H.D. Kruseman van Elten.

In addition to this significant donation to the William Paterson University Galleries, the Boochevers established an art scholarship in 1964. S. Paul Boochever was an executive at several manufacturing companies including Gibraltar Paper Company and Ilikon Inc. He served as executive secretary of the New York City Department of Correction under the administration of Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia. He received an honorary degree from William Paterson in 1966. He died in Old Saybrook, Connecticut on May 22, 1983. Jeanne Boochever founded and oversaw a successful women’s accessories company, Jeanne Bouchever Inc.  She died on October 10, 2013.

The exhibition was curated by Kelly Claudette Ruffel, a William Paterson University graduate student, in fulfillment of her master's degree in history.  Currently, she is a historic preservation specialist for the city of Paterson. She previously worked as a graduate assistant for the University Galleries and an interpretive specialist for Ringwood Manor. She earned a bachelor's degree in history (2011) and anthropology (2012) at William Paterson University. She is a resident of Garfield.

The exhibition is one of three on view concurrently in the University Galleries. Without Adornment: Photographs by George Tice, on view in the South Gallery, presents gelatin silver prints from the renowned New Jersey photographer’s early Paterson series, as well as platinum/palladium prints, in celebration of Tice’s 75th birthday. On view in the Court Gallery is Navigations in the Present Tense, a site-specific installation by New Jersey artist Dahlia Elsayed that examines the interconnectedness of writing and painting.

This exhibition is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. The William Paterson University Galleries are wheelchair-accessible.  Large-print educational materials are available. For additional information, please call the William Paterson University Galleries at 973-720-2654.

10/28/13