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Displaying items by tag: American Modernism

Only a short time remains for a special exhibition of the work of American modernist Gershon Benjamin (1899-1985), a Romanian-born, Montreal-educated artist remembered as an Expressionist for his individualistic style and use of color. The exhibition, Gershon Benjamin: Modern Master features more than 60 portraits, still lifes, landscapes and city scenes in oil, watercolor and charcoal—all representing more than seven decades of work.

Benjamin was part of a 1920s New York scene of progressive artists who favored European modernism to the popular American Scene and Regionalist art of the day.

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RINCETON, NJ.- Rarely on view due to their sensitivity to light, the Princeton University Art Museum’s extensive holdings of American watercolors are distinguished by their quality and breadth as well as by the institution’s sustained commitment to the collection’s growth over time. Painting on Paper: American Watercolors at Princeton presents 90 selections from this remarkable collection, supplemented by select loans, providing a potent overview of American art as well as a survey of the importance and evolution of watercolor painting in the U.S. since the early 19th century.

Among the noted artists included in the exhibition are John James Audubon, Milton Avery, Charles Burchfield, Alexander Calder, Dorothy Dehner, Charles Demuth, Richard Diebenkorn, Arthur Dove, Thomas Eakins, Sam Francis, William Glackens, Adolph Gottlieb, Childe Hassam, Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Jacob Lawrence, John Marin, Claes Oldenburg, Maurice Prendergast, John Singer Sargent, Ben Shahn, James McNeill Whistler, and Andrew Wyeth.

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From New York to New Mexico: Masterworks of American Modernism from the Vilcek Foundation Collection opened at Phoenix Art Museum on June 7, 2015. The exhibition includes 65 objects of American modernism spanning more than fifty years by notable artists like Stuart Davis, Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley and Georgia O’Keeffe. The subject matter ranges from the skyscrapers of New York City to the adobe homes of the American Southwest. These objects are on loan from the Vilcek Foundation in New York that was started by Marica and Jan Vilcek, immigrants from the former Czechoslovakia.

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The “Nature and Metamorphosis” retrospective includes 56 paintings and 103 drawings from 1924 through 1990, spanning Peter Blume’s entire career. From jarring early works inspired by the machine age and growth of cities through profound ruminations on to power of nature. Blume’s work helped define American modernism.

While best known as a painter, Blume was a virtuoso, dynamic draftsman, and his drawings show a surprising range. The retrospective is curated by Robert Cozzolino, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) senior curator and curator of Modern Art. “Blume was critical to the development and reception of modernism in America. His work played a key role in disseminating avant-garde ideas in the U.S. art world using a method that resembled Flemish art transposed through the lens of Cubism and the unconscious.


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On September 21, Stanford University will reveal the Anderson Collection, one of the most valuable gifts in its history. Assembled over the course of fifty years by Bay area collectors Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson along with their daughter Mary Patricia Anderson Pence, the collection features 121 works by 86 artists, including Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Mark Rothko, and Ellsworth Kelly. While Abstract Expressionist works form the collection’s core, the Andersons’ gift also includes a number of works from California art movements such as the Bay Area Figurative School, which started in San Francisco in the 1950s, and the Light and Space movement, which originated in Southern California in the 1960s.

The Andersons began collecting art after their first visit to the Louvre in 1964. Before focusing on works by Abstract Expressionists, Color Field painters, and Pop artists, they acquired a number of works by French Impressionists and American modernists.

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Once derided as a slavish admirer of Renoir, the painter and illustrator William Glackens is among the most intriguing and underestimated participants in the first wave of 20th-century American modernism. That perception is confirmed by the enlightening and overdue, if still deficient, survey of his dappled canvases and dazzling drawings at the Parrish Art Museum here. It should be required viewing for anyone interested in the period.

Glackens, who was born in Philadelphia in 1870 and educated at that city’s prestigious Central High School, was briefly affiliated with a loose group of urban-conscious realist painters known first as the Eight and later as the Ashcan School.

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The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, has purchased two paintings by pioneering 20th-century American artists -- “Lattice and Awning” by Arthur Dove and “Summer Fantasy” by George Bellows. Dove, an early American modernist who spent most of his life in New York, was not previously represented in a public collection in Los Angeles County. The late-career landscape by Bellows, who is best known for his gritty depictions of day-to-day life, will enhance The Huntington’s collection of works by the realist painter.

Kevin Salatino, Hannah and Russell Kully Director of the Art Collections at The Huntington, said, “We have strengthened our collection of great American paintings dramatically with these acquisitions. ‘Lattice and Awning’ is a superb example of the artist’s work at a peak moment in his career, while ‘Summer Fantasy’ is a fascinating, multifaceted painting that eloquently fills a gap in our collection. Each will add invaluable depth to our display of American art.”

The works will go on view on July 19, when The Huntington opens five new rooms in its Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art, which house one of the largest collections of American art in California. The Huntington’s holdings span from the colonial period through the mid-20th century and include works by John Singleton Copley, Mary Cassatt, John Singer Sargent, John Sloan, and Robert Motherwell as well as a selection of American decorative arts.

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The Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock has received 290 watercolors and drawings by the early American modernist, John Marin, from Norma B. Marin, the artist’s daughter-in-law and administer of his estate. Norma Marin said, “I am thrilled that this collection of my father-in-law's watercolors and drawings is going to the Arkansas Arts Center, where it will give people a deeper understanding of his work. The Arts Center has a long history of collecting and exhibiting great American works on paper on paper, so I feel like we've found the perfect home for them.” This substantial gift, coupled with the works already in the Center’s collection, establishes the Arkansas Arts Center as the second largest repository of works by Marin in the world.

Marin, who was one of the first American artists to experiment with abstraction, is best known for his depictions of urban structures, landscapes and seascapes. The gift spans Marin’s career, beginning with early architectural drawings, moving on to the works created by Marin at the turn of the century in Paris, and ending with the modernist works he made following his return to America. The collection also includes works that explore subjects not readily associated with Marin such as portraits, nudes, animals, and the circus.

The Arkansas Arts Center is planning a major Marin exhibition tentatively scheduled for 2016.

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Thursday, 12 December 2013 18:41

S.C. Johnson Sues Sotheby’s

S.C. Johnson & Son, a global manufacturer of household cleaning supplies and other consumer chemicals, has filed a lawsuit against Sotheby’s. The lawsuit concerns a rare desk and chair from the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed S.C. Johnson & Son Administration Building in Racine, Wisconsin. The furniture, which was slated to be the highlight of the auction house’s upcoming 20th century design sale on December 18, exemplifies American Modernism.

According to a complaint filed in a New York federal court, S.C. Johnson claims that that the desk and chair are stolen goods. While the company does loan furniture and objects designed by Wright to museums, selling works is against their policy. The company’s statement went on to say that the removal of the desk and chair from the Administration Building was not authorized.

The sale’s catalogue lists the provenance of the desk as having been acquired by the chemist Elerslie E. Luther from S.C. Johnson during the early 1950s. The desk was alleged passed on by descent until it reached the current owner who acquired it from Jeffrey V. Luther. However, there is no evidence of a connection between Luther and S.C. Johnson in the company’s records. Similarly, the catalogue lists the chair as having been gifted by Samuel C. Johnson to a private collector in 1972. However, the bequest in inconsistent with S.C. Johnson’s records. 

The desk is estimated to sell for $400,000 to $600,000 while the chair is expected to net $80,000 to $120,000.

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Suspended Forms: American Modernism 1908-1928 opened yesterday, January 31, 2013 at Driscoll Babcock Galleries in New York and will run through February 16, 2013. The exhibition focuses on American modern art’s earlier phase and includes paintings and drawings by modern masters such as Alfred Maurer (1868-1932), Walt Kuhn (1877-1949), Stuart Davis (1892-1964), Charles Burchfield (1893-1967), Marsden Hartley (1877-1943), Charles Sheeler (1883-1965), and Joseph Stella (1877-1946).

Suspended Forms will be held at Driscoll Babcock’s relatively new location in Chelsea. Founded 160 years ago, Driscoll Babcock Galleries moved from its former Fifth Avenue location to Chelsea in September 2012.

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