Art & Design Magazine

Saying Goodbye (and Sometimes Hello) to George Ault

By Americanart


George Ault, January Full Moon, 1941 Oil on canvas, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust (by exchange), Photo by Jamison Miller

Now that the exhibition, To Make a World: George Ault and 1940s America is closing on September 5, we thought we'd share some visitor comments. A common thread through many of the responses was the viewer's unfamiliarity with Ault, and a sense that once they spent some time in the gallery, they got to know an artist whose work is worth exploring. The comment books not only capture our reactions to art but where we are in our own lives as when one visitor in the spring wrote: "I came in here seeking calm after the devastating news of Japan's horrific earthquake and tsunami. I found some here among the stillness in these paintings. Thank you." Here are a handful more that filled more than five notebooks during the course of the exhibition:

Fantastic exhibit. I have never seen Ault's work before, but having experienced many American landscapes in person, in snow and at night, Gosh! In January Full Moon, he totally nailed it! It brings you right back. Beautiful isolation. Thanks for bringing these out of hiding. --unsigned

His paintings, especially of Russell's Corners, accurately portray the mood and stark lonely 'psychology' of those tiny (midwestern) crossroads towns. It really takes me back home to those solitary electric beacons in the night. (Many of them remain unchanged to this day.) --Tim

I find Ault's pieces deeply stirring—growing up in upstate New York, it feels as though his paintings were ripped from my memories and retain the starkness and gravity just the same—moving. --unsigned

A wonderful place to reflect. I don't yet know in full where my artistic destiny leads me, yet however, I feel closer to it just being here! --B.

And then, of course, there's this: "Wow."

If you haven't seen the exhibition, now's the time. And don't forget to add your thoughts and/or observations to the comment books available in the gallery. If you can't make it to the museum you can still view many of the images from the show online. You can leave your comments there as well. To Make a World: George Ault and 1940s America remains on view through Monday, September 5.

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