Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Hyde Collection

Ever since the Barnes, we are in search of small museums with amazing collections. The Barnes, especially in the original home of it's founder, is an experience like no other. First the home is huge, but not by museum standards. It is huge by home standards, but by contemporary museum standards, it is small. Filled with master artworks that were arranged by Dr. Barnes for teaching purposes - to emphasize a use of color, a type of form in art - the house is at one overwhelming and uplifting in its density and great beauty. We were hoping that the Hyde Collection would be like that.

We arrived in Glen Falls, NY at about 11:15 the morning. It is an old and small industrial town. The smell of sulfur was in the air. Most things were closed on Sunday morning, but we found a small coffee shop to have a cup and write out some postcards. The museum opened at 12 noon and we were there. Similar to the Barnes, the Hyde Collection is housed in the home of the original family that purchased the artwork. The collection is similar to the Barnes as well in terms of focus on Impressionists, but the family also collected other masterworks. One of the most stunning pieces was a sketch attributed to Leonardo da Vinci that is an early Mona Lisa, with a number of differences. It was extraordinary. There was also a large collection of furniture that was beautiful as well as French tapestries. Textiles are always a weakness of mine--one of the guest beds was covered in toile. I told Kim, this is the room that I would want to stay in when I visited. Original Botticellis and Rembrants were on display. As well as Degas sketches and a thimble collection. It was a lovely visit.

What I missed though at the Hyde Collection was the density of the Barnes. I believe that when Mrs. Hyde lived in the home it had more of the density that Dr. Barnes had, but now, managed by professional museum curators, the collection has been pared down in what is displayed on a daily basis to reflect the aesthetics of the current U.S. museum standards. It was less overwhelming, but also less breathtaking as a result. Still, the security guards indicated that the over 3,000 holdings are rotated regularly in the Collection so it would be the sort of place to visit every other month if one were lucky enough to live close to Glen Falls. Either way, it's worth a stop when driving up I-87 in New York.

Tonight, we are at the Hilton Hotel in Lake Placid. Moving from the high-brow artwork of the Hyde Collection this morning to the popular, Snakes on a Plane, after dinner made it a full and satisfying day in the vacation world.

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