Louis K. Meisel Gallery is pleased to announce "Museum Insider", an exhibition of Robert Neffson’s recent paintings. An American Photorealist painter, Neffson is known for his wide-angle cityscape paintings. In recent years, his subject matter has expanded to include museum interiors and spaces; "Museum Insider" unveils two of his latest large-scale works, which place his audience inside two of New York’s most iconic museums—the Metropolitan Museum of Art and MoMA.
A native New Yorker, Robert Neffson has an almost innate eye for urban compositions. Whether depicting a busy street scene or the interior of the Metropolitan Museum, Neffson acts as the metteur-en-scène, carefully balancing the various elements within his tableaux. Through the course of multiple visits to his chosen site, along with extensive photography, he is able to collect visual information about his subject. Reflecting light, the time of day, the juxtaposition of architectural interior and exterior elements, and the movement of people are all carefully considered and balanced to create compositions that reveal overlooked moments of beauty.
His two latest works American Wing and MoMA Garden exemplify Neffson’s subtle choreography. Set in recognizable locations, Neffson’s strong use of sweeping lines propel his audience to reexamine these familiar places. The “American Wing”, which depicts the Charles Engelhard Court in the Metropolitan Museum, puts Frishmuth’s bronze sculpture “The Vine” at the forefront of the scene. While museum visitors within the painting admire Saint-Gaudens’ gilded “Diana”, we, as viewers beholden to the artist’s vision, find our eye drawn throughout the work via the shadows that have drawn long across the walls and floor. This is the Crystal Palace of the Met, and Neffson purposefully pulls our view out into Central Park and back again, to emphasize the connection between the architecture and nature.
Similarly, MoMA Garden feels like an oasis amongst its midtown backdrop. His newest painting, this work pauses to admire the scene from MoMA’s courtyard. Brilliant greens frame the garden, which is set against glimmering marble. This work too shares a moment of tranquility. Movement can be seen from within the glass walls of the museum, but the artist offers us a peaceful moment—a respite from the energy of the city. Neffson reminds us that even when surrounded by urban activity that there is much beauty that abounds.