is right here under our noses. In all of my years living and working around Jacksonville, I had no idea that Mussallem Galleries held so many of my favorite artists work.
For many years I worked in Southside and drove Phillips Hwy. It always seemed shady. Strip clubs, run-down hotels, the lonely lady walking down the road. As time went by I noticed many “showrooms” taking hold for everything an interior designer could need and places to show it to their clients. One such place was Mussallem Galleries. I had actually stopped in one day and it seemed to be many gorgeous oriental rugs, which surely could be considered works of art. They are beautiful to look at but don’t really hold a great interest to me personally.
Years have passed and I have always believed it to be the same oriental rug “gallery”. I was SO wrong!
Move forward a few years, my step-father’s brother is retiring after 12 years as Jacksonville’s sheriff, The party was being held at Mussallem’s. I was informed it was an art gallery and at first, I was confused then excitement set in. I went, I saw, I took pictures, I am in awe, and I will BE BACK!
If you are from this area you may recognize some of the people who attended, sorry I didn’t focus on them much (And there were many photographers there for that). I am not really into politics (and yes I do read the bills and vote, just don’t like the drama). I was, however, happy to see how many people turned out for John. His retirement party was very nice and I hope all of his future choices bring him happiness and fulfillment. And I tried to grab a few shots of the actual event for my dad.
But what I was really taken with was the art. After seeing the gift presentation and hearing John’s speech, a few of us sneaked out and back into the gallery itself.
There I felt that we became the luckiest people of the night as we were treated to a mini private tour of some of the most amazing pieces. Stories of their many acquisitions, the artist themselves, talk of perspective and brush strokes. Along with the fate of art appreciation. I was in heaven.
A few things that really stuck out. One was the chandelier, Can you guess who? Chihuly!
Another was the very ornate silver candelabra that had originally been a gift to Napoleon…
The next was unexpected in every sense of the term, words elude me on how to describe what it feels like to be standing less than two feet in front of an actual Van Gogh, let alone one estimated at around 60 million. Not a print, no litho, no forged copy…The REAL DEAL… to see the lines, the color, the detail. To imagine his thoughts…There just are NO words…
And if you know art that is a Pollock at the top of the stairs. And there is a Picasso up there too (not one of my favorites of his, as he IS my favorite. But still an original, one that his hands… his brush touched)
Also a Vermeer, a completely different style of an artist. But the colors in person are breathtakingly deep.
My favorite of the night though was actually not one of the greats and not one of the most expensive.
It was one that draws you in, makes me feel I am touching the sand, hearing the ocean, the cool breeze at the end of the day. I can imagine climbing the rocks to watch the sunset. This painting was flawless, not a rock or a shadow out of place. If I ever wanted “stuff” this would be it! I could design an entire house around this one piece of art.
ON THE COAST OF NORMANDY
Oil on Canvas by Karl Josef Kuwasseg Austrian/French- 1802-1877
Highly recommended if you are in the area to stop in.