Join the Mattatuck Museum for the Opening Reception of two exciting exhibitions on Sunday, March 3, 2013 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. Contemporary realist painter Eric Forstmann moves effortlessly between still life painting and depictions of the landscape in his solo-show, Everything/Nothing: Paintings by Eric Forstmann and the realism and honesty of American printmaking in the first half of the 20th century is explored in American Master Prints from the Collection of Dr. Dorrance Kelly.

Eric Forstmann’s work celebrates images of the everyday and takes inspiration from painters before him garnering comparisons to such luminaries as 17th-century Dutch artist Jan Vermeer to 20th-century American realist Edward Hopper. Forstmann finds brilliance in conventional and unconventional subjects; painting ordinary objects that appear so real that one could reach out and touch them. Scale varies in Forstmann’s work. Some still life paintings are the size of a page while his urban street scenes may reach to six-feet. His art reflects its time and responds to its place as he makes numerous references to contemporary life in his scenes of both the urban and rural landscape around his home in northwestern Connecticut and the nearby Hudson Valley.

Everything/Nothing is the title of one of Forstmann’s trompe l’oeil works. Its subject is a rumpled and creased irregularly-shaped piece of brown paper that is suspended on a blank wall by a push-pin at each top corner. The title refers to the mysterious questions—What is everything? What is nothing?

The collection of Dr. Dorrance Kelly focuses primarily on the early decades of the 20th century when a number of artists began to reject conservative traditions in printmaking for more innovative directions. During this time several diverse directions developed. A figurative tradition based on a realistic depiction of American people and places took on new life with subjects of everyday life, particularly urban life. Artists who shared a commitment to vernacular themes reached across stylistic and group affiliations.

American Master Prints examines the work of six artists who rejected genteel and fashionable subject matter for scenes that reflected modern life including George Bellows, Thomas Hart Benton, Edward Hopper, Martin Lewis, Reginald Marsh and John Sloan. Cultural history comes alive in their visual first-hand accounts of topics as far-ranging as boxing, church-going, storms and floods, subways and country fairs. Important historical figures in art, literature, politics and sports are portrayed and states of mind, emotions and records of urban alienation are evidenced.

These exhibitions, on view through Sunday, May 19, 2013, will be accompanied by educational programs and lectures. This event is open to the public; RSVP is required. Join the museum to immediately qualify for member benefits. Please register in advance at or by calling (203) 753-0381 ext. 10.

Visit or call (203) 753-0381 for more information on all of the museum’s adult and children’s programs, events and exhibits. The Mattatuck Museum is operated with support from the Department of Economic and Community Development/Connecticut Office of the Arts, and is a member of the Connecticut Art Trail, a group of fifteen world-class museums and historic sites ( Located at 144 West Main Street, Waterbury, the museum is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Free parking is located behind the building on Park Place.