Poetic evening

UNHERALDED today but recognized during four decades in the middle of this century, Constance Richardson exhibited her landscapes with regularity, receiving favorable reviews and seeing her paintings acquired by major museums. She grew up in Indianapolis and attended Vassar. From 1925 to 1930, she studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. There she met Edgar P. Richardson, a fellow painting student who later became an art historian and her husband.

After working in Indianapolis from 1928 to 1930, she moved to Detroit with her husband in 1931 and lived there for more than 30 years while he served as editor of The Art Quarterly and as director of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Her own words elucidate her artistic intentions: ``... it interests me to look at nature, which I find much more remarkable than anything anyone can make up; and to try to say something about light and space and air and how wonderful the world is if you really look at it; and to say it with clarity, serenity, and objectivity.''

Shown above is ``Street Light'' (1930) Richardson's magical view of a summer evening in Indianapolis, when familiar objects are transformed in the nocturnal light. A mother accompanied by her daughter seems to call across the street to a younger child, while a man sits on the steps of his house. Shafts of light emanating from the street lamp shine through the tree leaves, illuminating the walk and the four individuals in the pervasively blue evening. In addition to the clearly established twilight mood, the painter constructs a well-defined space in generalized geometric planes.

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