HARTFORD, CT.- The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art
has organized the first major exhibition of its American works on paper from the years 1910 to 1960. American Moderns on Paper: Masterworks from the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art will include more than 100 exceptional works from the museums permanent collectionincluding a recently-acquired Georgia OKeeffe pastelproviding a groundbreaking new look at the diverse directions pursued by modern artists in America. The exhibition will tell the story of the Wadsworths acquisition of works by artists from Edward Hopper and Charles Demuth to Salvador Dali and Ellsworth Kelly, and will reveal how the museum was at the forefront of introducing modern art to America.
The National Endowment for the Arts awarded the Wadsworth Atheneum a grant through its American Masterpieces Program to support a national tour for the exhibition. American Moderns on Paper: Masterworks from the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art will conclude at the Wadsworth in October of 2010. It will open at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, in Fort Worth, Texas, on February 27, 2010 through May 30, 2010, and then travel to the Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Maine, from June 22 through September 12, 2010.
The collection of American modernist works on paper is a point of pride for the Wadsworth, as we were one of the first museums to collect and exhibit these works, which have since been recognized as seminal reflections of the development of modern art in this country, said Elizabeth Mankin Kornhauser, Chief Curator and Krieble Curator of American Painting and Sculpture at the Wadsworth who serves as curator of the exhibition.
We are very excited to be able to share these treasures with a national audience and to tell the story of the Wadsworths history of collecting modernist works on paper, beginning with Edward Hopper in 1928, and continuing with John Marin, Salvador Dalí and Ellsworth Kelly, to name a few, Kornhauser continued.
The exhibition will highlight works by Charles Burchfield, Charles Demuth, Arthur Dove, Edward Hopper, Maurice Prendergast, and Pavel Tchelitchew. The museums most recent acquisition, an important pastel by Georgia OKeeffe titled Slightly Open Clam Shell, has been included in major publications on American modernism and will be the centerpiece of this traveling exhibition. Of the acquisition, Kornhauser said OKeeffe is one of the preeminent modern masters and she worked on paper throughout her career, but her work was not represented in the Wadsworths collection of works on papermaking this acquisition a transformative addition to our existing collection.
The exhibition will present watercolor as an essentially American medium that was well suited to the restless, spontaneous, and confident American spirit. The inclusion of works by both the Neo-Romantics and the surrealists who came to the United States in the 1930s, in addition to that of native-born American artists, give the Wadsworth Atheneums works on paper collection its unique character. The diversity of styles in the early twentieth-century, specifically the tension between modernism and anti-modernism is also explored.