Artist Priscilla Crommelin (1919-2010) was always the life of the party and her spirit was definitely present May 12th at Stonehenge Gallery in Montgomery. Over 150 guests showed up to celebrate her life and works for the show's Opening Reception.
At the center of the reception were the two hostesses of the party, Priscilla Crommelin Ball and Priscilla Crommelin-McMullan, the Artist's Daughter and Granddaughter respectively. Crommelin Ball is the Artistic Director of the Alabama River Region Ballet while her daughter, Priscilla, is its Youth Company Director. Guests were treated to a delicious and elegant assortment of hors d'oeuvres, fine French cheeses and cocktails provided by Chef Michael as they walked through the gallery to admire Crommelin's beautiful art.
Many wonderful stories and memories were shared amongst those who had the honor of knowing Crommelin herself. "My grandmother was not only a talented painter but she always knew how to throw a party and I know she would have been overjoyed to see so many of her friends and family gather together to celebrate her art," said Priscilla, the granddaughter. Other than the art, people were captivated by little John Tyler McMullan, Priscilla Crommelin-McMullan's 7-month-old son with her husband Liam McMullan.
This show was the first time any of Priscilla Crommelin's artwork had been shown in 15 years and over 20 years since any of her art had been for sale. "She always wanted her artwork to be seen, appreciated and be in people's homes," said Crommelin-McMullan. Her artwork has surely found its way into people's homes. "I have people constantly bringing up my grandmother and not only how they admired her as a person and painter, but how they own at least one of her paintings," said Crommelin-McMullan. Her art can be found in the private collections of many prominent Alabamians and private international art collectors.
Crommelin’s paintings are also found in numerous collections around the world including in Europe, Great Britain, and the Middle East. Her paintings also appear in many corporate and government collections ranging from the Russell Senate Building in Washington DC to the State Capitol Building in Montgomery.
Elected as a member of L'Académie Cultural de France, she is one of very few contemporary Americans to have been chosen to have her works exhibited at the prestigious Grand Palais of the Salon d'Automne in Paris, France. Crommelin received praise by French critics and has won prizes in several dozen juried shows nationally and locally. She truly developed a notable reputation, a fact evidenced by her inclusion in the Blount American Collection in company with Mary Cassatt, Winslow Homer, Frederick Childe Hassam, and others of similar enduring quality.
Crommelin herself saw her art as "most at home with impressionism: its warm, joyful style allows me to express best my true feelings about my subject, whatever that subject may be-a landscape, a still life or even a person." Some have described Crommelin's work as: "A colorist's paradise with a rainbow of fresh flowers against a backdrop of sunbathed buildings…" Jeane E. Shaffer, The Montgomery Advertiser; "An almost fluid quality to the undulating land, sky and trees..." James R. Nelson, The Birmingham News; "A Springtime of wide, golden sun rays..." Robert Barret, La Vie des Galleries, Panorama, Paris. Susan Hood described Crommelin as someone who "was given a remarkable gift and she possessed the strength and perseverance to use that gift. One can sense her presence again and again in these paintings—her vision is joyous as she welcomes you into the worlds she has created."
"We're so thankful to everyone who came out to honor my grandmother and her art. Her paintings bring forth the joy she possessed as a person and the beauty she saw in the world. It was a pleasure to share that with everyone," said Crommelin-McMullan. Priscilla Crommelin's art will live on through the ages and surely be appreciated by many generations to come.