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George Bellows, Robert Henri, Marsden Hartley, Rockwell Kent, John Marin, Louise Nevelson and N.C., Andrew and Jamie Wyeth. All lived or worked in Maine.

And all are represented in the 45 paintings, sculptures and assemblages in "American Treasures from the Farnsworth Art Museum" at The Society of the Four Arts. The Farnsworth, situated in Rockland, Maine, focuses on the state’s role in American art — the extent to which might surprise some viewers.

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Thursday, 19 June 2014 10:09

Currier Museum Acquires John Marin Painting

The Currier Museum of Art announced the acquisition of an important late oil painting by American John Marin (1870-1953). Movement in Red (1946) reveals Marin’s bold technique, which conveys a dynamic vision of boats sailing off the coast of Cape Split, Maine. It is on view in the Currier’s Modern Gallery.

“The Currier has a long tradition of thoughtfully acquiring important works of art that support our collection,” said Susan Strickler, Currier CEO and director. “Marin’s stunning painting joins major paintings in the Museum’s collection by his contemporaries Georgia O’Keeffe, Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley and Charles Sheeler. They offer our community an exceptional view of one of America’s most important and innovative artists of the first half of the 20th century.”

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has announced plans for a major renovation of its Lila Acheson Wallace Wing. Completed in 1987, the Wing houses the museum’s Modern and contemporary collection, which includes works by the circle of early American modernists around Alfred Stieglitz, including Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O'Keeffe, and John Marin; large-scale paintings by Abstract Expressionists, such as Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko; and modern design, from Josef Hoffmann and members of the Wiener Werkstätte to Art Nouveau jewelry by René Lalique.

The Met, which is the largest art museum in the United States, is in the midst of re-evaluating its layout, and addressing the Lila Acheson Wallace Wing’s shortcomings is a top priority. As it stands, the Wing does not allow for a chronological presentation of the museum’s collection, creating a disjointed visitor experience. To remedy the issue, The Met plans to rebuild the Wing, potentially from scratch. Enhanced exhibition space will also allow the museum to better display its Modern and contemporary art holdings, which got a considerable upgrade last spring when philanthropist and cosmetics mogul Leonard A. Lauder donated 79 Cubist paintings, drawings, and sculptures.

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Between 2010 and 2013, 100 American masterworks from the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. traveled to museums in Italy, Spain, Japan, Tennessee, Texas, and Florida. The exhibition earned rave reviews and was seen by more than 30,000 people. The Phillips Collection is currently hosting an expanded version of this hit show, titled “Made in the USA: American Masters from the Phillips Collection, 1850-1970.”

The exhibition is the most comprehensive presentation of the museum’s American art collection undertaken in nearly 40 years. “Made in the USA” presents over 200 works from the museum’s holdings including seascapes, city scenes, abstract canvases, and portraits. The exhibition is organized chronologically, beginning with American art from the late 19th century and ending with works from the postwar years. “Made in the USA” includes paintings, drawings, and etchings by Thomas Eakins, Rockwell Kent, Edward Hopper, John Marin, Arthur Dove, and Willem de Kooning.

The Phillips Collection, which was founded in 1921 by Duncan Phillips, was the first museum in the United States dedicated to American art. Over the course of 50 years, Phillips built a collection of nearly 2,000 pieces of modern art of which 1,400 were American.

“Made in the USA” will be on view at the Phillips Collection through August 31.

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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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On November 9, 2013 the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas unveiled the exhibition The Artists’ Eye: Georgia O’Keeffe and the Alfred Stieglitz Collection. The monumental presentation features 101 works of American and European art as well as African art from the collection of photographer and gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz. Works on view include masterpieces by his wife, Georgia O’Keeffe, Arthur Dove, Charles Demuth, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, Paul Cezanne, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec.

The exhibition traces the rise of American Modernism, a movement that Stieglitz championed through his career as a photographer and gallerist. When he opened his gallery in the early 20th century, Stieglitz was one of the first gallery owners in the United States to showcase European Modernists. Soon, he became devoted to highlighting the works of American modernists, often purchasing artworks from them and providing them with studio space.

The collection that comprises The Artists’ Eye was donated to Fisk University in Nashville by O’Keeffe after Stieglitz’s death in 1946 and is now co-owned by Crystal Bridges and Fisk. The collection will travel between the two institutions every two years.

The Artists’ Eye will be on view at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art through February 3, 2014.

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Colby College in Waterville, Maine will unveil its 26,000-square foot Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion on Saturday, July 13, 2013 at an opening event for friends of the institution followed by an open house on Sunday. One of the inaugural exhibitions, The Lunder Collection: A Gift of Art to Colby College, will present over 280 works gifted to the Colby College Museum of Art by major supporters, Peter and Paula Lunder. Mr. Lunder is a life overseer of the institution while Mrs. Lunder is a life trustee of the board.

The other exhibitions that will be on view include a selection of Chinese art from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Lunder-Colville Collection; a presentation of American folk art weathervanes; paintings from the Alex Katz Foundation; a survey of abstract works by John Marin; and an exhibition exploring the design of the new pavilion, which adds 10,000 square feet of gallery space to the museum.

The Lunder Collection: A Gift of Art to Colby College, which includes works by John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Alexander Calder and Romare Bearden will be the highlight of the museum’s opening festivities.

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The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. will unveil its first permanent installation in over 50 years. Founded by the art collector and critic Duncan Phillips (1886-1966) in 1921, the Phillips Collection is the United States’ first modern art museum.

The new addition to the institution is a room made entirely from beeswax titled Wax Room. The experimental piece is the work of Wolfgang Laib (b. 1950), a conceptual German artist who is well known for his sculptural works made from natural materials. Laib has been making his beeswax chambers for over 25 years using hundreds of pounds of melted beeswax to coat walls and ceilings. The otherworldly spaces he creates are warmly lit by single hanging light bulbs.

The Phillips Collection’s other permanent installation is its Rothko Room, which holds four paintings by the abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko (1903-1970). The intimate presentation of Rothko’s works was added as a permanent exhibit in 1960, six years before Duncan Phillips’ death. Phillips worked closely with Rothko, deciding which walls to hang each painting on and the kind of lighting and furniture that would best suit the room. The Phillips Collection was the first American museum to dedicate a space to Rothko’s work and it remains the only one designed in collaboration with the artist himself.

Laib’s progressive work is a welcomed addition to the Phillips Collection. While Phillips’ holdings consisted of many Impressionist paintings and other mainstream works, he also had a taste for the unconventional. Phillips was one of the earliest patrons of American modernists including John Marin (1870-1953) and Arthur Dove (1880-1946) and also harbored great admiration for Abstract Expressionism before it became a respected art movement.

Laib’s Wax Room will be unveiled on March 2, 2013.

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The 1913 International Exhibition of Modern Art, referred to today as the Armory Show, was one of the most influential art events to take place during the 20th century. The show, which was held in New York City’s 69th Regiment Armory, introduced the American public to experimental European art movements including Fauvism, Cubism, and Futurism. While realistic movements dominated the country’s art scene, works by Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Henri Matisse (1869-1954), Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944), and Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) left the Armory Show’s American visitors awestruck.

On February 17, 2013, 100 years after the Armory Show took place, the Montclair Art Museum in Montclair, New Jersey presented The New Spirit: American Art in the Armory Show, 1913. The exhibition does more than just celebrate the significant art event; it commends the American artists who presented two-thirds of the nearly 1,200 works on view. While European art was a hugely important part of the Armory Show, The New Spirit aims to disprove the notion that the American art featured at the show was largely provincial.        

The New Spirit brings together 40 diverse works of American modern art including realist works from the Ashcan School as well as more experimental pieces executed by the painters associated with the influential photographer and art dealer, Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946). The Montclair exhibition presents works by well-known artists such as Edward Hopper (1882-1967), William Glackens (1870-1938), Marsden Hartley (1877-1943), Charles Sheeler (1883-1965), Robert Henri (1865-1929), and John Marin (1870-1953) alongside works by lesser-known artists including Manierre Dawson (1887-1969), Kathleen McEnery (1885-1971), and E. Ambrose Webster (1869-1935). The exhibition will also feature works by Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) and Matisse to illustrate the influence of European modern art on its American counterpart.

The New Spirit will be on view through June 16, 2013.  

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John Marin sought Maine as a subject—its islands, mountains, beaches, and rocky shores—from 1917 onward. However, when he landed on Cape Split in 1933, he knew this remote and untamed northern locale would imprint his work, foregrounding the abstract properties that had always been a feature of his painting. Featuring 54 works, this exhibition will concentrate on the late period of John Marin’s (1870–1953) career. It will explore the interrelationship between his watercolors, sketchbooks, and oil paintings from 1933 to 1953. Marin sensed the radical potential of painting on Cape Split, transforming the ephemeral patterns of waves in their alternative states of turbulence and calm into innovative compositions, forecasting, as it turns out, some of the primary features and preoccupations of mid-century American art.

This exhibition was organized by the Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, MA and the Portland Museum of Art.

Generously supported by Isabelle and Scott Black.

Supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Corporate Sponsorship provided by Bank of America, with additional support from The Bear Bookshop, Marlboro, Vermont. Media support is from WCSH 6, The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, and the Maine Public Broadcasting Network.
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