Ogden Minton Pleissner said that he could be called “a landscape painter, a painter of landscapes who also liked to hunt and fish.” Through much of his career, he traveled around the United States and into Canada prepared with both fishing and sketching equipment. The Arkell Museum exhibition of works from its permanent collection, on view now through June 1, 2014, includes both watercolors and oil paintings by Pleissner dating from the 1930s through the 1940s. His oil paintings and watercolors almost always include the people who live and work in the environment depicted and the works in this exhibition show cowboys, farm and circus workers. The watercolor Picnic Over Pinto Lake, 1940 is magnificent landscape that depicts cowboys enjoying a picnic. These men were probably from C-M Ranch in Dubois, Wyoming where Pleissner and his wife spent many of their summers.
Pleissner was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1905, and after high school he studied at the Arts Students League in New York City. He set up his Brooklyn studio in 1929, and found success as an artist with his first solo show at Macbeth Gallery in 1933. Ten years later, he was commissioned as a Captain in the Army Air Forces to work for the Historical Division, as a painter recording Air Force activities, and this led to his work as a War Art Correspondent for Life magazine. Fighter Returns from Kiska, 1943 is one of the works he created during World War II. It depicts American a plane returning from Kiska, an island in the Aleutian Islands.
The Arkell Museum has changing exhibitions drawn from the permanent collection that includes American artists such as Winslow Homer, Childe Hassam, Robert Henri, and Thomas Hart Benton on display in the galleries. Mohawk Valley history and Beech-Nut advertising are also featured in exhibitions. The Arkell Museum is located half way between Albany and Utica — just three blocks from exit 29 on the New York State Thruway (I-90). For information call 518-673-2314 or visit www.arkellmuseum.org.