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Diversity key in new exhibits

July 19, 1999|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

It is not necessary to be an artist to be an art lover, according to art collector and physician William Marshall.

"My only background is as a surgeon - but some say surgery is an art form," said Marshall, who is most interested in American paintings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

His profession has helped him to appreciate the works of others and given him the means to acquire them, he said.

The physician and his wife, Nancy, of Peoria, Ill., have 50 representational paintings in their collection - 47 of which are on display at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts Museum through Aug. 22.

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More than 250 people came to the museum Sunday for a reception for the Marshall Collection and a concurrent exhibit of glass works by French artist Rene Lalique from the Lewison Collection.

The Marshall's have been collecting art since the 1960s. The impressionist works being shown in Hagerstown include pastels, acrylics and oil paintings. Among them are several landscapes, still lifes and portraits.

Artists featured in Marshall's collection are Whistler, Karl Albert Buehr, Theodore Earl Butler and Frederick Reed Whitesell.

"I am proud that they are so well liked," Marshall said regarding the response of Washington County attendees.

Marshall's most treasured artist from the period is Theodore Wendell, who he praises for his variations of technique and subject matter.

The glass work of Rene Lalique is no less diverse, according to museum Associate Curator Sandy Strong.

"He's known for his broad spectrum," she said.

The more than 150 glass pieces displayed show the artist's skill with color, texture and design, she said.

With an eye toward function as well as beauty, Lalique digressed from the traditional glass vase to plates, clocks, plate holders, place card holders and candlesticks.

Lalique also can be credited with creating the first manufactured perfume bottles. The artist was commissioned to mass produce bottles for Francois Coty in 1912.

Previously, consumers brought their own bottles to perfumers to be constantly refilled, Strong said.

Many of the bottles are included in the Hagerstown exhibit.

The Lalique Collection will be on display until Nov. 7.

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