Modernism and Abstraction: Treasures from the Smithsonian's National Museum of American Art

Modernism and Abstraction: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum
Arthur Dove, Sun, 1943
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Bequest of Suzanne M. Smith

October 7, 2001 - January 6, 2002

Take advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see modern masterworks from the prestigious Smithsonian collection without leaving Worcester. The special exhibition is touring the country as part of the Treasures to Go program, while the Smithsonian American Art Museum undergoes a three-year renovation.

Modernism & Abstraction: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum traces the evolution of Modernism in the 20th century through a broad range of styles. With paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe, Helen Frankenthaler, Robert Rauschenberg and David Hockney, this exhibition reflects a passion for innovative approaches to making art.

Early in the 20th century, American artists were exposed to the avant-garde techniques sweeping through European capitals. While some artists including Marsden Hartley and Max Weber traveled abroad, others benefited from the teachings of artists such as Josef Albers and Hans Hofmann who emigrated from Europe.

These early modernists grappled with a basic choice: participate in an international art movement or create a uniquely American style? This question was finally resolved when the center of the art world shifted from Paris to New York after World War II. At the same time that the United States emerged as an economic and political power, it also reigned in artistic achievement. In the words of one art historian, New York “stole the idea of modernism”.

Modernism & Abstraction captures the momentum of a nation on the cusp of something new and exciting. American modernists chose subjects inspired by new technologies and rapidly growing cities of the industrial age. Georgia O'Keeffe painted skyscrapers; George L.K. Morris created sculpture that evoked flight; Irene Rice-Peira interpreted the new wave of industrialization; and Stuart Davis combined his love of jazz and his interest in commercial packaging.

Looking for more? See some of the history of Modernism at Worcester Art Museum.

Modernism & Abstraction is one of eight exhibitions in Treasures to Go, from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, touring the nation through 2002.

For more information on this exhibition go to the Smithsonian's web site.

The Principal Financial Group is a proud partner in presenting these treasures to the American people.

Worcester's presentation sponsored by FLEXcon Company, Inc.

Additional generous support provided by Paul and Nancy Morgan and by John and Linda Nelson.

Media sponsors are:
Charter Communications