Inside the Masters' Studios: Richard Haas Dioramas

Inside the Masters’ Studios: Richard Haas Dioramas
April 6 to July 27, 2019

Glasgow School of Art Library Diorama Box.jpeg

We all know a Picasso when we see one. We can recognize a Pollock drip painting from far across a gallery. We know a Vermeer from a mile away. But what about the spaces in which these works were produced? Have you ever wondered where the magic happens?  Where art history is literally made?

This spring at the Polk Museum of Art, prepare to gain VIP access into the rooms where it happened. Inside the Masters’ Studios: Richard Haas Dioramas offers a unique museum experience, granting visitors a literal window into the past to peek into the private, hidden worlds of the most revered artists.

Although best known as a master of trompe l’oeil illusionistic painting, Richard Haas, a Wisconsin-born artist who now resides in New York City, also began creating diorama boxes in the 1960s as a means of exploring in intimate, three-dimensional scale, the workspaces of the great masters of art history.  An unusually personal show, Inside the Masters’ Studios presents each Museum visitor with his or her own individualized viewing experience.

Look through one window, and see Haas’ re-imagining of Mark Rothko taking a break from working on his color field paintings. Nearby, glimpse Frank Lloyd Wright, bathed in shadow, in his studio at Taliesin East. And there’s Camille Corot, spotted in his plein-air “atelier,” seated outdoors in a garden and smiling out at us beside his easel and open box of pastels.

An art historical treat, Inside the Masters’ Studios presents an unlikely gathering of the pantheon of master artists, many of whom never met, lived centuries or decades apart, and whose inner sanctums spanned the globe. Thus, in addition to looking at the past through Haas’ three-dimensional renderings of the spaces in which some of the most famous art of all time was made, this exhibition will also take each diorama as a jumping-off point from which to explore the more expansive history of each of those artists, their processes, and the spaces in which they worked.

With his meticulously rendered and deeply-researched dioramas, Haas brings all the masters to Lakeland for the very first time, and — thrust into the role of voyeur — you will never look at these art world stars the same way again.