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Art exhibit at public library showcases local artists, friendship

"Clouds" by Dwight Williams is on display at the Cazenovia Public Library through May 31, 2013. The exhibition Impressions of a Friendship: Dwight Williams and Arthur B. Davies honors Davies’ influence on Cazenovia artist Dwight Williams as well as Davies’ role in the 1913 Armory Show in New York City.

"Clouds" by Dwight Williams is on display at the Cazenovia Public Library through May 31, 2013. The exhibition Impressions of a Friendship: Dwight Williams and Arthur B. Davies honors Davies’ influence on Cazenovia artist Dwight Williams as well as Davies’ role in the 1913 Armory Show in New York City.

— The Gallery’s Exhibition Guide shows examples of Davies’ works held in other museums. The similarities between Davies’ and Williams’ pastels is striking, particularly their landscape and cloud paintings. Another interesting connection is found with Williams’ early Williamsburg, Virginia watercolor and Davies. At least three of Williams’ paintings were used in the restoration of colonial Williamsburg in the 1920s. And according to Ronnie Owens, daughter of Arthur B. Davies, it was her father who originally recommended Williamsburg to project benefactor John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and his wife Abby Aldrich Rockefeller; perhaps Davies helped procured the project for Williams as well.

Three of the paintings, Vernon Fair and two paintings from Mexico, were featured in a 1931 exhibition at the Syracuse Museum of Fine Arts that paired Williams’ pastels with Davies watercolors. The exhibition was held as a memorial for Davies (he had died three years earlier in Italy) and just two years prior to Williams’ own death. For Williams it was a celebration of his lifelong devotion to art as well as a celebration of his student and artistic inspiration, friend and sketching partner, Arthur B. Davies.

As the 100th anniversary of the Armory Show returns Davies' life to the national spotlight, “Impressions of a Friendship” provides a glimpse of life in Cazenovia at the brink of the modern era.

Visitors to the Cazenovia Public Library will also enjoy the lobby display showcasing memorabilia, books and newspapers from Dwight Williams and the 1913 Armory Show featuring cartoons of Marcel Duchamps’ controversial “Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2.”

The Cazenovia Public Library Museum and Gallery is open during regular library hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. There is no admission charge and parking is free.

For more information on the exhibits or other news at the Cazenovia Public Library, call 655-9322 or visitcazenoviapubliclibrary.org.

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