Exquisite Miniature is a BIG hit at Stamford Museum & Nature Center!
By Rachelle Siegrist
Wes and I eagerly boarded a plane headed for Hartford, CT early last Wednesday, and within minutes the trees below looked like broccoli, which turned into to moss as we climbed higher into the sky. It was a stormy day in much of the Eastern U.S. region, so we got to see Hartford many times over, as our plane circled above for nearly thirty minutes while waiting for the storm to move out. Thankful to safely be on ground, we climbed into our rental car and started our journey to Stamford, where the beautiful Stamford Museum and Nature Center is located.
After an adventerous day kayaking Long island Sound, we went to the museum that evening for the opening of Exquisite Miniatures. The gorgeous 10,000 square-feet, neo-Tudor mansion which was the summer home of New York fashion designer and department store owner Henri Bendel, is now the Stamford Museum, currently sitting on 118 acres, where the peaceful Heckscher Farm sits nestled amidst woodlands. The Museum’s founders envisioned a sanctuary where children and families could learn about the natural world, agricultural sciences, astronomy, art, and history, and I dare say they have created just that!
Walking to the entrance of the museum, one is greeted by a splendid fountain and pool, where a lovely sculpture of galloping horses sits beneath a curving stairway. We were delighted to see a beautifully done poster featuring our Exquisite Miniatures Exhibition proudly displayed at the entrance of the building! We were instantly greeted by the smiling faces of friendly staff upon entering the grand stone building, and were thrilled upon seeing our paintings, which were perfectly arranged and looked stunning inside the arched enclaves!
We met and talked with Jillian and several others from the museum staff, and before long people were filing into the museum, and we began hearing, “Wow . . . These are amazing!” many times over. The event was very well attended with people admiring our miniatures and asking lots of questions. So much so in fact, that I was so busy talking with them, I forgot to even taste any of the hors-d’oeuvres offered! Time flew by and the wonderful evening ended almost as soon as it began!
A lovely pond and waterfall, greeted us upon entering the museum grounds early the next morning, arriving in time to enjoy the various furry and feathered residents living on their Heckscher Farm. The resident otters were the first to greet us, swimming, playing, eating, and as always great fun to watch!
Of course, I made several new friends, and this one precious sheep in particular and I quickly became best buds . . . that was as long as I kept scratching its head in all the right places! It didn’t want me to leave, nor did I really want to, but alas there was a lot yet to see.
Several adorable goats live on the farm, but this one named Brutus, was just too adorable and we were able to get several great photos of him, which will become future miniature paintings! We also enjoyed seeing cute pigs, lamas, chickens, cows and more that will surely become paintings, as we walked around the farm that morning.
Later we enjoyed a picnic lunch by a peaceful pond while watching resident ducks swim about. Nearby, a cute chipmunk hung out with us, while taking a bath, entertaining us the entire time, causing us to say “Oh how cute!” time and time again! Afterwards, it was time for our gallery walk and tour, and Wes’s presentation. The museum’s curator, Jillian, had chosen a few historic portrait miniatures from their permanent collection to display during our talk, which we all enjoyed examining up close.
It was such an elegant setting for Wes’ presentation, and he enjoyed incorporating the historic miniature portraits into his talk. Of course, those in attendance greatly enjoyed it and did a lot of laughing as well, as he shared various funny stories.
It was such a joy and a treat being inside this elegant museum with numerous arches, high ceilings and leaded glass windows, as we walked around while also viewing the current summer exhibition, Once Endangered: The Return of Wolves & Peregrine Falcons.
Afterward, Jillian graciously gave us a behind the scenes tour, where we learned that paintings by John Singer Sargent, Thomas Eakins and Raphael Soyer had been temporarily removed to install Exquisite Miniatures, leaving us both honored and humbled to say the least!
We also enjoyed seeing several other miniature portraits housed in their collection!
Many thanks again to Jillian and the delightful staff at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center for such a wonderful time and great opening! Exquisite Miniatures will be exhibited there through January 1st, so if you’re in or going to be in the Stamford area, I highly recommend a visit to this wonderful museum! For more info visit their website at Stamford Museum and Nature Center. Next week I’ll be sharing photos and stories from our Kayaking adventure in Long Island Sound as well as our day at Yale University!
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Until next time . . .