From three outstanding public collections of their work, more than eighty paintings by the group of American artists dubbed The EightArthur B. Davies, William Glackens, Robert Henri, Ernest Lawson, George Luks, Maurice B. Prendergast, Everett Shinn, and John Sloanare joined together for the first time in The Eight and American Modernisms, on view at the Milwaukee Art Museum
June 6August 23, 2009.
The Eight and American Modernisms examines the distinct aesthetic agendas of The Eight artists from 1908 to the end of their careers. The conventional assessment of The Eights artistic partnership has focused primarily on themes of urban realismto the exclusion of exploring their artistic individuality. Past scholarship has not considered the legacy of the groups creative diversity, which Henri praised as an imaginative freedom that follows no unity in any cult of painting. The Eight and American Modernisms shows that Robert Henri (1865-1929) and his colleagues were anti-realist or expressionist, painting from memory and imagination.
This exhibition is organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum, the New Britain Museum of American Art, and the Terra Foundation for American Art. The exhibition is curated by Elizabeth Kennedy, curator of collection at the Terra Foundation for American Art; co-curated by Douglas Hyland, director of the New Britain Museum of American Art, and Joseph D. Ketner II, former chief curator of the Milwaukee Art Museum; and coordinated at the Milwaukee Art Museum by Liz Flaig, curatorial department administrator.
Terra Foundation for American Art is the lead sponsor. The Caxambas Foundation is the Milwaukee Art Museums presenting lead sponsor.
The Eight and American Modernisms features essays on each of the eight artists in addition to several color illustrations being published for the first time. It includes a checklist, a chronology of major exhibitions and awards of The Eight, and a chapter disputing the conventional wisdom that these artists reputations were short-lived. Hardcover, 177 pages. Available at the Milwaukee Art Museum Store ($29.95/$26.95 Member): 414-224-3210 or www.mam.org/store.