A Little Time and a Keyboard: Appreciating the Galleries of Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Appreciating the Galleries of Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa

Appreciating the Galleries of Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa
Figge Art Museum Impresses With A Large Art Collection Dating From The 15th Century To Present

Disclosure: Thank you to Visit Quad Cities for hosting my trip to the Quad Cities in order to share incredible experiences with my audience. Opinions are 100% my own.

Meandering through the galleries of the Figge Art Museum introduced us to an unexpected array of artworks representing the use of a variety of media. A journey through the Figge Art Museum awakened exploration with art from old masters as well as new emerging artists. Some exhibitions are drawn from the Figge's outstanding collection of over 4,000 works of art. Other exhibitions feature traveling pieces from other collections. Each visit to the Figge is unique! 

The spaciousness of the Figge's galleries allowed us time for contemplation.
The spaciousness of the Figge's galleries allowed us time for contemplation.

Incredible Collection of Haitian Art

The Figge Art Museum is home to one of the largest collections of Haitian Art in the world. We began our creative journey studying vibrant and expressive Haitian Art. Haitian Art expresses the nation's history as well as the day-to-day experiences of the Haitian people with the Haitian Revolution featured prominently. Two of my favorite pieces focused on Toussaint Louverture, a general and significant figure in the Revolution. Toussaint Louverture by Myrlande Constant displays exquisite beadwork and bold colors.

Toussaint Louverture by Myrlande Constant impressed with intricate beadwork and vibrant colors.
Toussaint Louverture by Myrlande Constant impressed with intricate beadwork and vibrant colors.

Toussaint Louverture by Edouard Duval-Carré is a mixed media piece. Once again, bold and vibrant colors beckon for admiration of the piece.

Toussaint Louverture by Edouard Duval-Carré is a mixed media piece.
Toussaint Louverture by Edouard Duval-Carré is a mixed media piece. 

The Haitian exhibit presented a range of pieces in a variety of media. I loved the striking and lively presentations and vivid colors. 

The Feast by Pierre Edugène reflects on the harshness of Haitian life through whimsical animals and the encroaching barren trees.
The Feast by Pierre Edugène reflects on  Haitian life through whimsical animals and the encroachment barren trees.

The Feast by Pierre Edugène features a bear eating an apple given by a rabbit-headed snake. By eating an apple from the Tree of Knowledge, the bear will cause all of his fellow animals to be expelled from paradise. In the background, you can see the barren trees of Haiti encroaching on the scene. So, the harsh realities of Haiti are encroaching in on this idyllic spot.

 Le Sagittaire en Demon by Murat Bierre exemplifies Haitian Metal Sculpture

Another portion of the Haitian art collection focused on Haitian Metal Sculpture reflecting upon transformation and the volatile nature of life. Both are important elements of Vodou. The metal sculptures are crafted from scrap metal -- often oil drums or car remnants. One of my favorites is Le Sagittaire en Demon (The Sagittarius and Demon) by Murat Bierre. 

Impressed by the Depth of the Figge Art Museum Collection

Wandering the galleries of the Figge Art Museum admiring an interesting variety of artwork.
Wandering the galleries of the Figge Art Museum admiring an interesting variety of artwork.

After visiting the Haitian exhibit, we wove through the remaining exhibit halls. The extensiveness of the collections is pretty impressive! I did not do a ton of research on the collections of the Figge before our visit because I wanted to be surprised. I was certainly surprised to see pieces from the 1600's including Portrait of a Lady by Dutch artist Jan Van Ravesteyn. I just marveled at the intricacy of the ruffles in the painting. Incredible!

Portrait of a Lady by Dutch artist Jan Van Ravesteyn depicts  an incredible lace ruffle worn by the subject.
 Portrait of a Lady by Dutch artist Jan Van Ravesteyn depicts
 an incredible lace ruffle worn by the subject.

We also discovered The Marriage of the Virgin by Mexican painter Luis Juarez. The richness and joy in the painting truly glow.

The Marriage of the Virgin by Mexican painter Luis Juarez exudes joy.
The Marriage of the Virgin by Mexican painter Luis Juarez exudes joy.

Exhibit Highlighting the National Academy of Design

We were quite fortunate to visit during the exhibition called For America: 200 Years of Painting from the National Academy of Design. The exhibition -- which is ending this week -- features 90 works from 1810 - 2010 highlighting how artists see the world around them alongside how they see themselves as fitting in that world. My favorite in this section is The Jewel Box, Old Lyme by Hassam Childe. The impressionist painting took me right into the forest where colors change as the sun filters through moving trees. Stunning!

The Jewel Box, Old Lyme by Childe Hassam.

One of the Figge's galleries features a fantastic panoramic view of the Mississippi River and Moline across the river. We found some lovely large scale pieces there including Angel of Justice crafted from found aluminum, wire and glass by Lionel St. Eloi. This piece dazzles but also is fierce!

Angel of Justice crafted from found aluminum, wire and glass by Lionel St. Eloi
Angel of Justice crafted from found aluminum, wire and glass by Lionel St. Eloi
dazzles with fierceness!


Before leaving the Figge Art Museum, I definitely recommend a stroll through the gift shop. Inside you will find a plethora of art inspired items as well as some locally made items. Every visit to the Figge will provide an opportunity for new discoveries. The expansive collection rotates through exhibits. With such a large collection, you never know what will pop up in exhibit! Traveling exhibitions also offer occasion to discover art from all over the world. Figge Art Museum opens a world of creative discovery in the Quad Cities!

Figge Art Museum Impresses With A Large Art Collection Dating From The 15th Century To Present


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