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Woodmere Welcomes Pope Francis Biblical Art from the Permanent Collection


Foreword by William R. Valerio, PHD 2 A Conversation with Reverend Joseph F. Chorpenning, OSFS, Sister Agnes Reimann, SSJ and Peter Paone 4 Works in the Exhibition 20

July 11 – October 18, 2015


FOREWORD Careful, strategic planning is, of course, necessary

Insofar as this exhibition draws from Woodmere’s

for the functioning of any museum. However,

permanent collection, we are particularly proud

insofar as the entirety of Woodmere’s professional

of the quality of the works on view. We are also

staff can gather around our boardroom table, we

grateful for some recent gifts of art, and with

are able to react quickly in our work as a team,

regard to these, we would like to extend special

responding nimbly to opportunities and engaging

thanks to Anthony Visco, one of our city’s very

with important events.

extraordinary artists, unique, perhaps, in his dedication to making art that functions in the

Such was the case when, little more than one

church environment. Woodmere thanks Rev.

year ago, we learned that Pope Francis’ visit to

Joseph Chorpenning, OSFS, Editorial Director of

Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families

St. Joseph’s University Press, Sr. Agnes Reimann,

was no longer a possibility, but had become a

SSJ, Woodmere docent and artist Peter Paone

scheduled milestone in the history of our city.

for giving generously of their expertise and for

From around the table at our weekly staff meeting

participating in the conversation that appears in

the concept of this exhibition formed as staff

the pages of this catalogue. Woodmere’s staff is

member after staff member, excited about the

to be commended for its enthusiasm and flawless

Pope’s visit, suggested favorite works of art

execution. Rick Ortwein, Woodmere’s Deputy

of a religious or biblical nature in Woodmere’s

Director for Exhibitions, was the chief organizer

collection that could be placed on view in honor of

and curator of the exhibition. The creative

the His Holiness’ visit. It was a fascinating process

elegance of the presentation and the depth of the

because once we began in this way to build our

experience are due to Rick’s immense talent.

checklist, we realized that many of the artists whose work we frequently show—Violet Oakley,


Walter Erlebacher, Frank Galuszka, Sam Maitin,

The Patricia Van Burgh Allison Director and CEO

Peter Paone, Razel Kapustin, Julius Bloch, Michael Ciervo, Benton Spruance, Susan Moore, Jacob Landau, and Moe Brooker, to name a few—have expressed their ideas about spirituality in works of art. We also recognized that the framework of the exhibition gave us the opportunity to show works by artists we have never or have infrequently shown, and this, for a museum, is a thrill. Ralph Pallen Coleman’s Come Unto Me, a beautifully executed painting of Christ enthroned as the savior of the war-ravaged masses of World War II, is one such instance, and it seems fresh and powerfully moving in its directness. We are equally excited about Quita Brodhead’s Crucifix and Walter Stuempfig’s We Want Barabbas. 2


Come Unto Me, date unknown, by Ralph Pallen Coleman (Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of the Coleman Estate) WOODMERE WELCOMES POPE FRANCIS: BIBLICAL ART FROM THE COLLECTION


On Thursday, June 4, 2015, Father Joseph Chorpenning, OSFS, Sister Agnes Reimann, SSJ and artist Peter Paone sat down with Rick Ortwein, Woodmere’s Deputy Director for Exhibitions, and William Valerio, Woodmere’s Patrcia Van Burgh Allison Director and Chief Excecutive Officer, to discuss the exhibition, Woodmere Welcome Pope Francis: Biblical Art from the Permanent Collection. St. Francis of Assisi figures prominently in the exhibition. It is fitting to note the Pope’s reasons for selecting Francis as his name. Cardinal Walter Kasper, in Pope Francis’ Revolution of Tenderness and Love: Theological and Pastoral Perspectives explains, “At his first meeting with representatives of the media, the new pope explained his choice of name with a reference to Francis of Assisi: ‘He is a man of poverty, a man of peace, a man who loves and safeguards creation.’”

RICK ORTWEIN: As I began to organize this exhibition, I looked not only for works that were overtly religious—ones that represented stories from the Bible or the lives of saints, for example—but also works that simply had a religious quality or spirit. Moe Brooker’s I Can’t Keep From Singing #2 has a title similar to a Shaker hymn. It’s very abstract, and title aside, I don’t think people would necessarily think of it as a religious subject. It’s an expression

popularity of our current pope, his namesake? SISTER AGNES REIMANN: I have two thoughts about it. One was that Saint Francis was an ecologist before ecology was even popular. He was someone who believed that we are one with the sun, and earth, and stars; we are one with the animals, and all people. So he did not get his popularity necessarily from the Catholic Church.

of joy, for sure, but when it’s paired with some of


the other works in the room it really resonates as

somewhere that Francis of Assisi was the most

a religious experience. The exhibition also includes

popular saint in Renaissance Italy. There are multiple

a number of images of Saint Francis, made by

layers to that. He resonates with environmentalism—

Catholics and non-Catholics. I’m curious as to why

certainly the Franciscan spiritual vision is an

Saint Francis captures the imagination of people of

incarnational vision, seeing the presence of God in

different denominations from all walks of life. Does

the world. But this vision also includes other things,

the popularity of Francis of Assisi explain in part the

like his love of poverty. But I was struck by Francis’s



I Can’t Keep from Singing #2, 2001, by Moe Brooker (Woodmere Art Museum: Museum purchase, Barra Foundation Art Acquisition Fund, 2003)

authenticity. This is what people really like about

the artist even scumbles it up a little bit so you

Pope Francis—he’s real, he’s comfortable in his

can see it’s made out of ordinary fabric. Yet he’s

own skin, and there are no pretexts. Even someone

in Venice, with the beautiful Saint Marks Church

who doesn’t agree with him on every point has

in the background—that’s the world of luxury, the

to acknowledge this. Pope Francis has a warmth

church of luxury. It’s dripping with gold. Does that

and an openness, and one of the characteristics of

juxtaposition strike a chord with any of you, in

Francis of Assisi was his openness to all kinds of

terms of Pope Francis?

people. There’s a famous story in which he ministers to a leper when no one would even go near this man, and we see the same in Pope Francis. I don’t know what the disease was, but there was a man, terribly deformed, and Pope Francis went out to him and embraced him; he sees people, he goes out to them—he doesn’t wait for them to come to him.

REIMANN: I see a parallel. Francis of Assisi was a very wealthy man; his father wanted him to take over his business as a cloth merchant. One day he had a vision and heard the words, “Renew my church.” It had a powerful effect on him, strong enough that he gave up his wealth and decided to take up a simple life to renew the church. I do

WILLIAM VALERIO: Can we talk for a moment

believe that in this day and age, the twenty-first

about Benton Spruance’s print? (p. 6)To me it’s

century, Pope Francis also is being called to renew

an iconic image that shows Saint Francis as a

our church. That’s the parallel I see. Also, as I said

man of the people. He wears a brown frock, and

before, he was one with earth and sun—I never saw


that figure in the sun before. You really need to look

than the story of Francis. I left Roman Catholicism

at art with time and care.

at a very early age, but the images and the stories

PAONE: That’s the interesting part about that print: Francis and his two people are in the square, almost like tourists feeding pigeons, and yet, in the sun there’s the crucifix where he’s about to receive the stigmata. That moment is also depicted in Jan van Eyck’s painting at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In van Eyck’s scene, it’s just a matter of fact—it’s about to happen. But in Spruance’s print, it’s not happening. If you remove that, it’s just a day at Saint Mark’s Square. So, there’s more than the image implies. VALERIO: Peter, were you inspired by the van Eyck?

in Catholicism are the first Surrealist ideas in art: angels with wings, Christ sitting on a throne on a cloud, the serpent. These things don’t exist in everyday life, but they exist in faith. Think about the Annunciation, when the Archangel Gabriel appears before Mary and informs her that she is to be the mother of Christ. We see a winged man presenting himself to a woman who is indifferent to his appearance. Even the message that it will be an immaculate conception is surreal. In the twentieth century, when religious art had pretty much diminished, there was one artist who brought it to the top beautifully, and that was Salvador Dalí. He was a surrealist. His Madonna of Guadalupe is a

PAONE: When I first saw it as a boy, I was inspired

masterpiece. He painted it in a Renaissance manner,

by the van Eyck for formal reasons without the

but he brought forth the surrealist quality in his own

story of Francis. My interpretation is much larger


St. Francis— The Piazza, 1953, by Benton Spruance (Woodmere Art Museum: Museum purchase, 1954)



St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata, after Jan Van Eyck, 1991, by Peter Paone (Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of the artist, 2015)

VALERIO: I’m interested, Peter, in your decision to make two versions of this print, a white on black and a black on white.

VALERIO: So the lines are empty? PAONE: The lines are empty and appear white. This is a time-honored process, but I thought it was a

PAONE: I made two because of the story of the two

good idea in terms of there being two versions of

versions of van Eyck’s painting, one of which is now

the van Eyck, since I’ve taken it from the van Eyck,

in Turin and the other, as we discussed, is here in

more than the story itself.

Philadelphia. They were commissioned by a wealthy merchant who had two daughters. The girls went into nunneries in different parts of Europe, and he wanted a version of the painting for each of them. I wanted two also, so I printed the etching intaglio in this very traditional manner, and then I did a relief print of it, where you roll the black over the top

ORTWEIN: What interested me in putting this print in the exhibition is seeing it alongside our other images of Saint Francis. In Edward Hoffman’s sculpture, it’s the Saint Francis of the animals: he’s earthbound, and the work doesn’t really address his mystical nature.


PAONE: That’s the surreal quality. He’s both earthly

church, but also very clearly, especially in the

and heavenly.

program for his pontificate laid out in The Joy of

ORTWEIN: Well, he’s much more real that way. He’s alive, present. There’s definitely spirit there, one that doesn’t exist in the statues of Francis you see in gardens. But Hoffman’s work reminds me of those in its scale and posture. VALERIO: What I love about Hoffman’s Saint Francis is the kind of a mid-century stylization of the figure: it’s tall like a column and has an architectural feel.

the Gospel, on a personal, transforming encounter with Christ. I’m really struck by how much emphasis he puts on preaching, on priests, on people. He is saying, “We’ve got to renew preaching, and in your preaching, you should be leading people to a personal encounter with Christ.” VALERIO: I’d like to turn for a moment to something Peter told me earlier that I found to be really

What’s really nice is the communication between Saint Francis’s eyes and the two birds. It’s about the energy that passes between them, and then you have a third bird that’s looking up, observing. CHORPENNING: There’s another thread in the Francis of Assisi narrative. I see it in Anthony-Petr Gorny’s use of his own image as the image on the sudarium (the veil of Veronica) (p. 9). One place in the tradition where this comes through is in the masterwork of Saint Francis de Sales, the Treatise on the Love of God. Francis de Sales chooses Francis of Assisi as the image of what it means to be a lover of God, whether you’re a layperson, a priest, or whatever. One interpretation of Francis of Assisi’s stigmata is that it didn’t come from the outside, but from the inside out. Saint Bonaventure highlights this in his biography of Francis of Assisi. According to Bonaventure, Francis had so shaped himself interiorly to conform to Christ that the stigmata appeared on his body from the inside out. The seraph that appeared was there simply to facilitate the process, rather than as its source. The emphasis really is on personal transformation, on conversion. In terms of Pope Francis, again, we’re talking about different levels. He is focused on the poor, and certainly on the renewal of the



St. Francis, 1960, by Edward Fenno Hoffman III (Woodmere Art Museum: Museum purchase, 1966)

provocative. Peter, you commented about how,

VALERIO: Looking at Landau’s Cain and Abel, I have

in the works of say, Jacob Landau, the stories of

to think that Landau is interpreting the biblical story

the Old Testament are no longer stories of faith,

in the context of the Second World War. This is

but rather stories of humanity. How is Landau

brother against brother.

interpreting this? You made a distinction between Renaissance images that were designed to convey the stories to people who couldn’t read, and works

PAONE: The two figures are battling. It’s humanity against humanity.

by artists of our age who can read and are taking it

ORTWEIN: These are second-generation humans.

a step further to make it art.

Cain and Abel were the first children of man, so by

PAONE: Well, in the traditional images, people were looking at stories, because they couldn’t read. In contemporary images, the story isn’t brought

the second generation, jealousy and violence are prevalent. The stories are universal and again speak to each generation.

to the viewer—the viewer brings the story to the

REIMANN: Adam and Eve, if we put them on Earth

image. So, it can be any number of things. The

today, would be having the same power struggle

basic image comes from a very traditional story, in a

that Adam and Eve did with the snake. You’re

certain time, but we are not in that time now. So, we

right—humanity is humanity, whether it was way

interpret that story in our own time.

back then, or today.

A Sudarium, 1994 by Anthony-Petr Gorny (Woodmere Art Museum: Museum purchase, 2014) WOODMERE WELCOMES POPE FRANCIS: BIBLICAL ART FROM THE COLLECTION

Saint Rita in Ecstacy, 2000, by Anthony Visco (Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of the artist, 2015)



CHORPENNING: And that’s the appeal, Peter,

Street, Philadelphia. I asked him if he’d had to make

as you said, to whether believers, non-believers,

compromises when working with clients versus

practitioners of faith, non-practitioners of faith—

working independently in the studio and revealing

these works have a broader appeal because they

the work after completion. He explained that it

are archetypal stories. Sociologists of religion have

was not a sacrifice to work in this manner, that

long pointed out that the stories are among the

in his early artistic career he made site-specific

most enduring aspects of Catholicism because they

installations in the Arte Povera movement. Often

capture people’s imaginations, and people relate

executed outdoors, they were temporary works,

them to their own experience; stories give people

but they were integrated into the site. He sees the

a framework to make sense of their own lives and

work for sacred spaces that he engages in now as a

their own struggles, their joys and sorrows, and so

continuation of those same thoughts and interests.


As a young man, he went to Italy to see the

PAONE: But now, if you give a title to something,

Masaccios and other artists he knew from art history

it can make it religious. For example, the Rothko

texts. When he saw them firsthand, the purity and

Chapel consists of fourteen dark-colored canvases.

isolation of the artwork was missing. They weren’t

If you think it’s religious, it’s because you’re reading

framed and surrounded by white like they appear

into those voids. Are they religious? Are they

in books. They were in living spaces; they had

sacred? Are they something that you would worship

utilitarian function. There were candles all around

in a chapel? It depends on who you are, and how

them. People stopped not just to look at them for

you interpret this. So, there’s a switch here, because

color and light and perspective, but to contemplate

now you can label something as being something,

the events depicted. It’s the reason they’re there.

although you can’t read it as being that.

These images, in the Catholic sense, provide the

CHORPENNING: Right. And there are debates about the titling even of some religious paintings that come from the Renaissance and the Middle Ages,

occasion for meditation and contemplation. They’re not objects of worship. That really resonated with Visco, and he started doing this kind of work.

because the titles have been assigned by scholars.

VALERIO: Rick, I know the bust of Saint Rita that

They haven’t, necessarily, been given by the artist.

Visco gave to Woodmere is a fragment, and yet,

So, for example, there are a variety of nativities.

it’s something that he’s preserved in his studio as a

Well, is the nativity only the moment of the birth?

work of art. How is it different or similar?

Or does the nativity include the adoration of the shepherds? Or some other moment?

ORTWEIN: Well, it has a completely different context, so it hangs over the door of his studio.

ORTWEIN: Your description, Father, of the impact

You wouldn’t necessarily guess it based solely on

of scholars in applying titles can be illustrated in

the bust, but it’s describing the moment of ecstasy

Anthony Visco’s experience. I became familiar with

when she receives the stigmata, which in this case

Visco’s work from seeing it in churches. His bust

manifests in a single wound on her forehead from

of Saint Rita in our collection was made for the

the crown of thorns, rather than the wounds of

National Shrine of Saint Rita of Cascia on Broad

the hands and feet that Francis of Assisi bore. I


certainly don’t look at the bust and envision the full

from the Church of Saint John the Evangelist

setting with flowers and candles that surround the

on Thirteenth Street, Philadelphia. The sculpture

sculpture at the shrine.

presents him slightly bent at the waist, hands out,

VALERIO: What’s interesting to me, relative to what you said about Visco’s journey as an artist, is that he’s given this to the museum, and so he’s imagining that this piece is going to live in a very different context where people are going to approach it from a very different point of view. And yet this will certainly function very well as a work of art in a museum, and perhaps it’s the fact that it is a fragment that makes us recognize it more as a museum-ready work of art than the full spectrum with the candles and flowers. PAONE: Well, it’s interesting how a work of art transcends from one thing to the next. When you’re in a studio making a sculpture, it’s just clay,

clad in a Franciscan robe. His foot is protruding from beneath the robe. People have such devotion to him, they hold the hands of the statue while they meditate and pray to the saint for his intercession. When I told the artist I had witnessed that, he said, “Well, when people ask me what kind of sculpture I make, I say I make sculptures that old ladies kiss.” But, he pointed out that he had to have that posture where the foot came out from underneath the robe because people like to touch the feet. PAONE: That’s the other interesting thing about religious sculpture that you don’t get in any other kind of sculpture. People look at it, and believe that it’s real, and therefore they have to touch it. In

it’s just plaster. Then it goes into bronze, and it’s still just your sculpture. But all of a sudden it’s in a church and it becomes something more. I did a very large painting of the Resurrection for the Armenian Church and it gave me all the problems of a painting. Then it goes to the church, and there it is with people genuflecting in front of it. It blew my mind. It was no longer mine. It really was no longer that painting I tried to solve, it was something religious. That’s what we’re looking at here, and the fragment is part of Visco’s thinking process, his creativity. It’s not meant to be worshiped or looked at, and yet suddenly it is and it’s no longer that problem that you have to solve. That’s what’s interesting not only about art, but about art that goes to the people, as a opposed to going back in your rack, or going to a museum without the religious context—it has two lives. ORTWEIN: In his living room, Visco had a sculpture of Saint Padre Pio, which I was familiar with 12


Maquette for Jesus Breaking Bread, 1975, by Walter Erlebacher (Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of the artist’s wife, Martha Mayer Erlebacher, 2009)

other sculpture, even if it’s pre-Raphaelite sculpture

REIMANN: Yes, it makes the body visible, and

but not religious, they look at it just to look at it,


but in religious sculpture, you’ll always find a shiny spot that’s a little more worn than anywhere else because people need to touch it because they

CHORPENNING: The bread and the body are the same.

believe it’s real. That’s the belief that goes into a

ORTWEIN: We were talking earlier about

religious representational sculpture.

abstraction and realism in religion—this is about the

CHORPENNING: Because it becomes an object of devotion and admiration.

body, the corpus. The fact that the torso is revealed and not draped makes him all the more real. This is an encounter with a person.

VALERIO: The images of the Madonna by Violet Oakley and Bo Bartlett were made a hundred years apart, but the two artists used a similar strategy of making the Madonna a real woman. You can tell in both cases that the artists were trying to avoid the trappings of a religious context, but to make images that nonetheless find their spirituality in realism.

CHORPENNING: Yes. You see the glorious wounds of the risen Jesus. In his homily at the mass for the canonization of Saints John XXIII and John Paul II, Pope Francis explained that the wounds on the risen Jesus’s body never pass away because they’re the enduring sign of God’s love for us, as 1 Peter 2:24 reminds us: “By his wounds you have been

PAONE: I have a funny story about that. When I

healed.” As the memorial of the Lord’s Passion,

was in college, I took art education and we had

death, and resurrection, the Eucharist makes this

to practice-teach from kindergarten to twelfth

healing accessible to us. When Jesus’s side is

grade. I was in a first-grade class and the students

pierced by the soldier’s lance and blood and water

were going to make drawings. One boy drew a

immediately flowed out, we understand that the

round head, and added two eyes and a nose. I

water and blood are symbolic of the sacraments of

asked, “Who is that?” And he said, “That’s God.” I

baptism and Eucharist.

said, “People don’t know what God looks like.” He said, “They do now.” [laughs] That’s the power of imagery and conviction. VALERIO: We can see that realism in Walter Erlebacher’s maquette of Jesus as well. The artist makes it appear that the toga has rolled under, as if

REIMANN: Even his gesture, the way he is handing out the bread, says take, and eat. CHORPENNING: Yes. Just as in the Resurrection narratives about the appearances of the risen Jesus, he keeps telling his disciples, take this, eat it.

there’s been a process of revealing of Christ’s upper

VALERIO: We also have Erlebacher’s maquette

body. This is not a towel that he’s wrapped in the

of Bishop Neumann, which was never realized. It

way you wrap a towel around yourself when you get

shows Bishop Neumann on the cobblestones of

out of the shower—it’s been wrapped under from

Philadelphia, being approached by people.

above, and that’s a very specific strategy on the artist’s part, because it makes you aware that this body of Christ is a revelation.


VALERIO: We also have Erlebacher’s maquette

VALERIO: Well, here you see the nun with the child,

of Bishop Neumann, which was never realized. It

and you understand that the nun is a teacher.

shows Bishop Neumann on the cobblestones of Philadelphia, being approached by people. CHORPENNING: My first thought when I saw this was that Saint John Neumann was exactly the kind of bishop that Pope Francis wants. He was a bishop of the people and a very able administrator, although he was not highly thought of by the clergy, and by some other bishops, because he had this thick Bohemian accent and he was apparently not impressive in appearance. When he died, his critics said they were astounded by the outpouring of the people. REIMANN: Now, this is important, for the history of Philadelphia as well, because John Neumann was very instrumental in starting Catholic education in Philadelphia, and then it spread. 14


REIMANN: She is a Sister of Saint Joseph, and she’s talking to this young man about education, which was very influential. ORTWEIN: I spoke to Anthony Visco about this piece too, because, he was a studio assistant for Walter Erlebacher. The location that Erlebacher envisioned wasn’t next to a church necessarily, but in a public square, perhaps along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, to emphasize the impact that Neumann had on the culture as a citizen, not only a cleric. PAONE: I’d like to add something about Walter. I met him in 1960, when we were both teaching at Pratt, and he would often say to me, “I’m doing something nobody else is doing.” He was doing this

Calling of Elisha, 1920, by Edith Emerson (Woodmere Art Museum: Museum purchase, 1958)

Renaissance concept of art, which, of course, in

But Landau isn’t telling the same stories that

1960, nobody was doing and they didn’t want to be

Michelangelo does. What is this story?

caught doing it. That was a very brave thing for him to do at that time.

CHORPENNING: Hosea’s wife was unfaithful and, of course, he was very distressed. God told him, that is

VALERIO: Erlebacher was very interested in the art of Michelangelo, as was Jacob Landau. One of the things I learned about Landau is that he had a reproduction of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel’s on the ceiling of his studio.

how it is between myself and Israel. REIMANN: Right. And the hymn notes, “Come back to me with all your heart. Give yourself back to me,” and you see the lovers here. This other figure is Abraham sacrificing his son. God said to Abraham,

ORTWEIN: These are Landau’s studies for the

“If you love me, would you sacrifice your son?”

cycle of windows called The Prophetic Quest, at

Abraham was heartbroken, but if that’s what God

Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park.

wanted, he would do it. And then God said it was

VALERIO: When you see the way this snake is

just a test.

wrapped around these figures, or the general

CHORPENNING: And it was also because God made

contortion of the figures, you really do think of

the promise to Abraham that he would be the father

the Sistine Chapel. The figure with his arm out is

of many nations and his descendants would be as

reminiscent of God, the father, touching Adam.

numerous the stars in the sky and the sands on the


ORTWEIN: It is also a study and we’re not sure if it was ever realized. It depicts the last supper at the bottom. The center refers to what Father Joe referenced earlier when we were looking at the Erlebacher Christ, the post-resurrection meal on the shore where Christ greets the apostles, cooks them fish for breakfast, and invites them to eat. He also eats the fish with them, showing that his is a real body, not an apparition. The final scene above is the celestial banquet with, again, Christ presiding. VALERIO: We’re at the very beginning stages of a big research project on Violet Oakley, and really sorting out the large amount of material of hers that we have here at Woodmere. We have a lot of work to do. Oakley is one of the great storytellers. Another artist in the show is Quita Brodhead. We’ve spoken mostly about artists who are working in a Crucifix, 1940, by Quita Brodhead (Private Collection)

narrative tradition, but Brodhead is a modernist painter, a student of the great Arthur Carles. This painting is unusual in her body of work, insofar as

promise, and this is how the promise will be fulfilled,

it’s a crucifixion. You can see three crosses—the

and then God says, to Abraham, “I want you to take

other two people who were crucified with Jesus

Isaac and sacrifice him.”

were thieves, right?

VALERIO: This one is Elijah?


ORTWEIN: Yes, and we have two designs for

ORTWEIN: This is actually a still life painting—

windows for the same congregation: the Landau

Brodhead had a crucifix in her house, and that’s

and the color study for the window that Edith

how the painting began. But she turned it into a

Emerson designed. Emerson’s was made for the

dramatic, world-altering event.

synagogue when it was located at Broad and Columbia Streets in Philadelphia.

VALERIO: Can we talk a bit about Susan Moore’s work, Thy Will Be Done? Agnes, how do you

CHORPENNING: This one is the calling of Elisha.

interpret this painting?

Elisha was selected as the replacement of Elijah. REIMANN: You see the tattoo on one arm, you see VALERIO: We also have The Three Communions by

the figure of Christ, you see the heart, the pierced

Violet Oakley. Oakley was a Christian Scientist, and

heart—the sacred heart, is the way we interpret it—

she made many works of art for Christian Scientist

and yet, he’s got the love heart on the other arm, I

churches here in Philadelphia and, I believe, beyond.

love John, or I love Mary.



VALERIO: But, this heart has thorns on it too, right? REIMANN: Right. And there is very little color. There’s a skeleton on the one side and helping hands on the other side, and the words Thy will be

REIMANN: It could be nothing religious at all. Do you see rock stars with their crosses on? Wearing rosaries? And it’s not a religious symbol for them, it’s a piece of jewelry. So is this a religious armor? PAONE: Whoever this man is, it’s religious, because

done. VALERIO: The artist told me that she encountered a person whose body was tattooed like this and she

he has the head of Christ, he has Mary, he has the sacred heart. He knew the symbols.

asked him to pose for her. This is a rendering of the

VALERIO: What does the phrase “Thy will be done”

tattoos that actually existed on his body. How do

come from?

you interpret this idea of the face of Christ tattooed on a person’s body, in terms of being one with God? PAONE: That’s another version of wearing a cross. ORTWEIN: Yes, it could be armor, protection. It could be camouflage, someone to hide behind.

CHORPENNING: It’s from the “Our Father.” And from the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus says, “Father, if you are willing, let this cup pass from me, however, not my will, but Thy will be done.“ ORTWEIN: It’s also interesting the way that the head is replaced by the head of Christ. The figures’ hands, the real hands of the model, could even be the hands of Christ, as well as the drawn hands of the tattoo. The way things disintegrate, and reconfigure, it’s very interesting. I’m reminded of the statement of Saint Paul to “put on Christ” and “clothe yourself with Christ,” which is to remind humanity to divorce itself from preoccupation with things of the flesh. So this painting denies flesh by covering it, while celebrating it by making it an offering to God. REIMANN: Well, this has really been a sacramental encounter with all of you, just by our understanding of each other and the talking from our minds and hearts in a real way. That’s not the religious sacrament we talk about, but we’re constantly in sacramental union with people. CHORPENNING: Well, current writing on spirituality speaks about the sacrament of friendship.

Thy Will Be Done, 2007, by Susan Moore (Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of the artist, 2012)

VALERIO: And when you say sacraments, you mean like the sacred aspects of friendship? And it


becomes something sacred? CHORPENNING: A sacrament mediates the divine, and that the divine can be mediated in human relationships. This idea is grounded in our spiritual tradition. Francis de Sales insisted that spiritual friendship was indispensable for living the Christian life. He did this in an era when people were suspect

had all sorts of slide reproductions. Watching the faces of the students when we talked about art just expanded my love for art. So, that’s where it goes back to. I always wanted to be a docent in a museum. I remember doing my presentation here at Woodmere and looking at the fifteen people around me, and saying I wanted to do this my whole life.

of friendship. In the early seventeenth century, de

CHORPENNING: It’s interesting that you ask that

Sales was saying that people who want to lead

question. I don’t know where I started exactly, but

a Christian life need to have good, solid spiritual

I do remember growing up that we had a very

friendships because you need that support, you

beautiful Parish church. I was enamored by it—it

need to accompany one another on the way and to

was elegant, but also simple. Its appointments

have people in your life who share your values, but

were post–World War II, although the church was

can also challenge you. Authentic friendship is not

much older than that, but it was renovated after

just about agreeing, but having someone who, in a

the war. Actually, the church is dedicated to Saint

context of love and friendship, can challenge you.

Francis of Assisi, and the sanctuary has a beautiful,

REIMANN: Some of the conversation we’ve had in this room today on interpretation was sacramental, because we each got into the heart differently.

Italian wood panel mosaic of Saint Francis. It’s the kind of thing you really didn’t see then in too many places, it would have been thought very “modern,” but presumably it reflected the taste of Monsignor

CHORPENNING: And that’s what Pope Francis is

Maguire, the pastor, who seems to have had a pretty

talking about. In the Joy of the Gospel, he says that

refined aesthetic sense. When I was in college, I had

we need to recover the idea of accompanying one

the opportunity to study in Europe, and the art just

another, because we’re so busy being superficial,

kind of captured me.

being self-absorbed, and just trying to see people and then get away from them, that we don’t let


anybody in. The Pope’s challenging people on many

CHORPENNING: Well, I studied in Spain, at

fronts—not only the church, but humanity, society.

Salamanca, and also in Paris and had the

VALERIO: Agnes and Father Joe, you’re both people of the church who have built lives involved with the arts. Would you talk about the place of art in your personal lives?

opportunity to travel throughout Europe, including visiting Rome. When I went to graduate school at John Hopkins, I was in a Ph.D. program in romance languages, but we were encouraged to explore other areas of intellectual interest so my fellow

REIMANN: When I was a child, we had a little

students were taking courses in history and other

book called Picture Study that included Millet’s

subjects. I spoke to my mentor and he said, “Why

the Angelus. I loved art from the moment I saw

don’t you take some courses in art history?” So, we

that book. When I started teaching high school, I

charted that out, and I did it, and from that time

taught an advanced course in the humanities, so I

on, my own reading, research, and publications



have had a distinctive visual orientation. Later on,

outside of cartoons and Norman Rockwell books

I spent a semester as a postdoctoral fellow at New

until I came to Elkins Park and went to Tyler, and

York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, focusing on

started that formal training.

Caravaggio, in conjunction with the exhibition The Age of Caravaggio. One of the aspects of the writings of our patron, Saint Francis de Sales, is that they are very visual and very pictorial. They don’t have visual

VALERIO: Peter? PAONE: I was avoiding the priesthood. That was one of my battles, but I’ve been an artist ever since I can remember.

illustrations, but vivid word images and descriptions,

VALERIO: So, you were also a kid who could draw.

verbal descriptions of works of art. This is


something that has intrigued me and that I’ve been working on. In the process, I’ve been supported

PAONE: Yes, well, I was developing as an artist, and

by some colleagues in art history who have been

somewhere along the line, my mother decided I

companions and mentors on the way. Then, of

should be a priest, and, we looked into it for about

course, when I went to Saint Joseph’s University,

three months, and I decided that’s not where it’s

I was right in the middle of the art thing. The

going to be. It can’t be that way. But, there was

president at the time, Father Rashford, and I were

enough there, that the imagery has stuck with me.

in graduate school at Hopkins during the same time period. He was very interested in building up the art collection and giving it a distinctive focus. I recall saying to him, “Well, you’re not going to be buying Italian Renaissance art because you can’t afford it. What’s still collectible and affordable? Spanish Colonial art.” So that’s when we started to develop Spanish Colonial art as the core of the collection. It’s great to introduce the students who work with us as research assistants to art. Many of them do not have a background in art history, and so if I take them to an exhibition, or to a museum, they’ll say, “Father, I don’t know anything about art. I’m a chemical biology major.” I say to them, “It doesn’t matter, just tell me what you see.”

VALERIO: My mother is a painter, my father is a writer, and so art history was a natural thing for me. I would sometimes go with my grandparents to church on Sunday, but the church itself wasn’t so much a part of my life, except for baptisms, weddings, funerals, and so on—which is to say that, yes, it was a part of my life. [laughs] I didn’t even realize it, because I enjoy looking at the imagery so much, but it’s all very familiar to me. REIMANN: I do think there are very few people who do not have any religious background. Even the young children we start at preschool and kindergartners recognize Adam and Eve. How do they recognize Adam and Eve? There has to be some background.

VALERIO: That’s where it begins. How about you, Rick? How did you get involved in art?

VALERIO: These are stories that shape the way we understand the world. I’m sure we could find many

ORTWEIN: I was a kid who could draw. I drew

Judeo-Christian resonances in popular culture. Well,

Snoopy all the time. I didn’t have much exposure

anyway, this was wonderful. Thank you all.



JAMES W. (BO) BARTLETT American, born 1955 Burden of Evolution, 1992 Graphite on paper, 22 1/2 x 27 1/2 in. Woodmere Art Museum: Museum purchase, Barra Foundation Art Acquisition Fund, 1993

JULIUS BLOCH American, 1888–1966 The Green Pastures, date unknown Lithograph, 14 1/8 x 10 in. Woodmere Art Museum: Museum purchase, 2004

BRIAN BOUTWELL American, born 1960 Grid #XXIII, 2008 Oil and charcoal on canvas, 28 x 22 in.

RALPH PALLEN COLEMAN American, 1892–1968 Come Unto Me, date unknown Oil on canvas, 36 1/4 x 30 in. Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of the Coleman Estate, 1968

WALTER DODD CONDIT American, 1918–1991 Head of Christ, date unknown Woodcut, 8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in. Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of Annie Lloyd Condit, 1995

EDITH EMERSON American, 1888–1981 Calling of Elisha, 1920 Oil on canvas, 21 3/4 x 78 1/4 in.

WALTER ERLEBACHER American, born Germany, 1933– 1991 Maquette for Jesus Breaking Bread, 1975 Lead alloy and polychromed plaster, 12 1/4 x 16 1/4 x 14 1/4 in. Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of the artist’s wife, Martha Mayer Erlebacher, 2009

Bishop John Neumann Greeting the Citizens of Philadelphia, 1979 Lead alloy, polychromed plaster, and wood, 15 3/4 x 28 1/2 x 7 3/4 in. Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of Martha Mayer Erlebacher, 1997

Woodmere Art Museum: Museum purchase, 1958

Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of Bill Scott, 2011

QUITA BRODHEAD American, 1901–2002 Crucifix, 1940 Oil on canvas, 36 x 24 in Private Collection

MOE BROOKER American, born 1940 I Can’t Keep from Singing #2, 2001 Mixed media on paper, 29 7/8 x 29 1/2 in. Woodmere Art Museum: Museum purchase, Barra Foundation Art Acquisition Fund, 2003

MICHAEL CIERVO American, born 1982 Untitled (Cross), 2008 Oil and enamel on EPS board, 60 x 60 in. Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of Bill Scott, 2011



Untitled (Cross), 2008, by Michael Ciervo (Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of Bill Scott, 2011)

SAM FEINSTEIN American, 1915–2003 Untitled (Crucified), mid-to late 1930s Oil on canvasboard, 20 x 24 in Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of the Samuel L. Feinstein Trust, 2011

FRANK GALUSZKA American, born 1947 Bethany (Mary and Martha), 1982 Oil on linen, 106 x 80 in. Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of the Winfield Family, 2013

MARGUERITE GAUDIN American, 1909–1991 Easter Morn, date unknown Pen and ink on paper, 15 x 18 in. Woodmere Art Museum: Museum purchase, 1965

PAUL GORKA American, born 1931 The Lamentation, date unknown Oil on canvas, 39 1/4 x 59 1/4 in Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of the Estate of Doris Gorka Bartuska, 2014

ANTHONY-PETR GORNY American, born 1950 A Sudarium, 1994 Silkscreen on fabric, 24 1/2 x 21 in. Woodmere Art Museum: Museum purchase, 2014

EDWARD FENNO HOFFMAN III American, 1916–1991 St. Francis, 1960 Bronze, 30 1/2 x 10 1/3 x 8 in. Woodmere Art Museum: Museum purchase, 1966

RAZEL KAPUSTIN American, 1908–1968 Locusts (Eighth Plague), 1966 Oil on canvas, 37 1/2 x 49 1/2 in Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of Sheldon and Sylvia Kapustin, 2012

The Lamentation, date unknown, by Paul Gorka (Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of the Estate of Doris Gorka Bartuska, 2014)

JACOB LANDAU American, 1917–2001 Behold, I Will Send You Elijah, 1973 Lithograph, 22 3/8 x 30 3/8 in. Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of Rosa Giletti, 2015

Cain and Abel, date unknown Watercolor, 20 1/2 x 15 1/2 in. Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of Rosa Giletti, 2015

Woodmere Art Museum: Gift from the Collection of Harry and Catherine Kuch, 1988

SUSAN MOORE American, born 1953 Thy Will Be Done, 2007 Oil and acrylic on canvas, 78 x 50 in. Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of the artist, 2012

Abraham, Elijah, Amos, Hosea (studies for The Prophetic Quest window cycle), c. 1973 Charcoal on tracing paper, each 24 x 4 3/4 in.

VIOLET OAKLEY American, 1874–1961 Goliath, 1874 The Virgin Mary, 1903 Charcoal and chalk on paper, 24 1/2 x 19 in.

Woodmere Art Museum: Museum purchase, 2015

Woodmere Art Museum: Museum purchase, 1957

SAM MAITIN American, 1928–2004 Search and Create: Jacob Wrestles with Dawn, 1979 Ink, watercolor, and gouache, 15 x 9 3/4 in

The Three Communions (The Last Supper, Morning After the Resurrection, Banquet in Heaven), 1940s Watercolor on illustration board, 24 1/4 x 43 1/4 in.

Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of Ann E. Donald W. McPhail, 2013

Promised gift of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

DAVIS MELTZER American, born 1930 Samson, date unknown Lithograph, 10 1/8 x 12 7/8 in. WOODMERE WELCOMES POPE FRANCIS: BIBLICAL ART FROM THE COLLECTION

We Want Barabbas, c. 1945, by Walter Stuempfig (Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of Lee and Barbara Maimon, 2013)

PETER PAONE American, born 1936 St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata, after Jan Van Eyck, 1991 Etching, 15 3/8 x 19 5/8 in

St. Francis—The Piazza, 1953 Color lithograph, 16 x 20 3/4 in.

ANTHONY VISCO American, born 1948 The Third Station: Jesus Falls the First Time, 1983 Plaster, 32 1/2 x 20 1/2 x 3 3/8 in

Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of the artist, 2015

Woodmere Art Museum: Museum purchase, 1954

Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of the artist, 2015

St. Francis Receiving the Stigmata, after Jan Van Eyck, 1991 Etching, printed in relief, 15 3/8 x 19 5/8 in.

Jacob and the Angel, 1956 Lithograph, 15 x 19 3/4 in.

The Fifteenth Station: The Resurrection, 1983 Plaster, 31 1/4 x 20 1/2 x 3 5/8 in.

Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of the artist, 2015

HELEN SIEGL American, born Austria, 1924– 2009 Adam and Eve, 1968 Woodcut, 12 1/4 x 12 1/4 in. Woodmere Art Museum: Museum purchase, 1968

BENTON SPRUANCE American, 1904–1967 The Word and Job, 1951 Woodcut, 22 5/8 x 16 1/2 in Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of Ron



Rumford, Peter Maxwell, and Margaret Chew Dolan, 2006

Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of the Spruance Family, 2013

WALTER STUEMPFIG American, 1914–1970 We Want Barabbas, c. 1945 Oil on canvas, 13 x 20 in Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of Lee and Barbara Maimon, 2013

UNKNOWN ARTIST Bible Lesson Card, 1882 Printed by American Baptist Publication Society, Philadelphia Charles Knox Smith Archives Found as a bookmark in Smith’s Book of Psalms

Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of the artist, 2015

St. Rita in Ecstasy, 2000 Plaster, 31 x 22 1/2 x 9 1/4 in. Woodmere Art Museum: Gift of the artist, 2015

EDWARD WARWICK American, 1881–1973 St. Francis, date unknown Woodcut, 12 x 10 in. Woodmere Art Museum: Museum purchase, 1960

Woodmere Art Museum receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Support provided in part by The Philadelphia Cultural Fund.

© 2015 Woodmere Art Museum. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission of the publisher. Photography by Rick Echelmeyer unless otherwise noted. Catalogue designed by Barb Barnett and Emma E. Hitchcock, and edited by Gretchen Dykstra. Front cover: St. Francis—The Piazza, 1953, by Benton Spruance (Woodmere Art Museum: Museum purchase, 1954)


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