Wooden Owl (1991) by the American contemporary surrealist painter Cheryl Laemmle (b. 1947), was given to the Montclair Art Museum in 2008 by the renowned collectors Herbert and Dorothy Vogel. MAM was one of the American art museums that received works from the Vogels as part of their “Fifty Works for Fifty States” initiative in partnership with the National Gallery of Art.
Wooden Owl was exhibited at MAM in 2010 as part of the exhibition Living for Art: The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection, featuring all of the works gifted by the Vogels to the Museum. “Of all the museums we chose to donate to, the Montclair Art Museum has the most personal connection for us,” Dorothy Vogel told Baristanet at the time. “We know people here and have mutual interests, so it felt right to have part of our collection in Montclair.” Fortunately, Herbert Vogel was able to view this work on display at MAM before he passed in 2012. The Vogels are known for their comprehensive approach to collecting and their interest in Minimalist and Conceptual art, including artists Richard Tuttle, Richard Francisco, Will Barnet, Barbara Schwartz, and Richard Nonas.
From Minneapolis, Minnesota, Laemmle received a Bachelor of Arts from Humboldt State University in 1974 and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Washington State University in 1978. From 1982 to 1983, Laemmle spent time in the Adirondack Mountains, where he grandfather carved her toys made out of birch wood (Harvard Art Museums, 2008.133). Many of her works feature childlike, carved wooden figures set in uncanny settings against shallow backgrounds as seen in Wooden Owl. According to Harvard Art Museums, her work creates a “play between fantasy and pessimism, reality and illusion.” As described by Baristanet, Wooden Owl appears “nearly as desiccated as a De Chirico [painting]” (Sept. 29, 2010).
Text Written by Liz Frasco (Social Media and Communications Specialist)
This work is not on view.