Dark Glasses Series
Dark Glasses Series
2 x 2 inches
Wichita Art Museum, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. William G. Wagner
Not Currently on Display
About the Artwork
Addison t. Millar (1860-1913)
Venice from the Schiavoni Quai
Oil on canvas, ca.1900
14-1/8 H x 27-5/8 in.
Wichita Art Museum, Bequest of Ida E. Derby
Venice, the glorious city of reflections, serenades and romance, has captured the imagination of artists, both American and European, for many centuries. Indeed, few if any artists who have ever visited Venice have failed to record their personal impressions. And although all agree on its charm, no two interpret that charm in exactly the same way.
In this painting titled Venice from the Schiavoni Quai by the late 19th century American Addison T. Millar, the compositional structure guides the eye into pictorial depth. There we glimpse an early morning view of the mouth of the Grand Canal, bordered on the right by the stately Ducal Palace and the soaring bell tower of Saint Mark’s Square, and on the left by the massive dome of Santa Maria della Salute, Venice’s most famous church. Beyond are towers and the facades of typical Venetian palaces lining the canal as it winds into the distance. Of course this work is not intended to be a literal transcription of Venice’s topography, for instead Millar has attempted to catch the lively mood of the city and its many varied colors and contrasts. Certainly in choosing forms and colors, he apparently was most interested in furnishing a sense of contrast between hot and cool color tones which drench the site, and between the eternal and the transient qualities which simultaneously are ever present. For here the monuments of the past are bathed in bright light and stand boldly silhouetted against a changing luminous violet sky, while colorful sailboats and gondolas — some with and some without canopies — glide gracefully along the rippling blue-green waters. Streaks of white clouds swirl around the still visible moon, echoing the varied architectural outline that stretches across the horizon. In essence, this painting is simply Millar’s impression of the beautifully satisfying harmony experienced in the multiple contrasts that typify the unique character of Venice.
Addison T. Millar was born in Warren, Ohio in 1860. For a while, he was a pupil of William Merritt Chase in New York and subsequently he studied in Paris. Throughout his career he was best known for his etchings and aquatints, representative examples of which are found in the collections of the New York Public Library and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. However, he also produced a large body of paintings and was represented in many turn of the century private collections and in such public collections as the Detroit Museum of Art and the Rhode Island School of Design. Millar is one of the many artists who flourished in the late 19th and early 20th centuries but who today have been almost entirely forgotten. Little is known of the late period of his life except that he was killed in an automobile accident in 1913 in South Norwalk, Connecticut.