Modernism at Bowdoin: American Paintings from 1900 to 1940

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Modernism at Bowdoin: American Paintings from 1900 to 1940
MODERNISM
AT
AMERICAN PAINTINGS FROM
BOWDOIN
1
9
00 TO 194
0
MODERNISM
AT
AMERICAN PAINTINGS FROM
BOWDOIN COLLEGE MUSEUM OF ART
BOWDOIN
1
9 0 0
TO 1940
BRUNSWICK, MAINE
MODERNISM
AT
BOWDOIN
AMERICAN PAINTINGS FROM
JOACHIM HOMANN
In the
first
1
900 TO 1940
CURATOR, BOWDOIN COLLEGE MUSEUM OF ART
four decades of the twentieth century, the quest for the
modern
in
American
art
inspired radical innovation, aroused critical debate, and mobilized previously indifferent
audiences. American artists fervently believed that a renewal of the arts was necessary
to reflect,
through,
and indeed
among
to influence, the
profound changes that were transforming society
other things, dramatic advances in science and technology.
The paintings
presented in this gallery guide convey a sense of the rapidly evolving aspirations of American
artists as
they engaged with, and were polarized
drawn from the
collection of the
industrial landscape by Robert
by,
the advent of "modernity."'
Bowdoin College Museum of Art range from
Henri
to
The works
a
moody
sympathetic descriptions of New York City
life
by John Sloan, genre scenes by Guy Pene du Bois and Marguerite Zorach, and maritime
landscapes by William Glackens, Roclcwell Kent, and Marsden Hartley.
Selected paintings
on generous loan from the
broader context for Bowdoin's collection.
On
view
Yale University Art Gallery provide a
at the
Bowdoin College Museum of Art
during the academic year 2010-2011, these works include radical formal experiments by
Americans Joseph
Stella
and Stuart Davis,
as well as
by Henri Rousseau and Wassily Kandinsky. The
in
Europe that influenced Americans
at
two significant European paintings
latter
the time.
As
a
exemplify the varieties of new art
pioneer of abstraction, Kandinsky
3
demonstrated that painting could be detached from a
description of visible reality without losing
meaning, successfully accomplishing
employed the work's formal
emotions
also
in the viewer.
moved beyond
The
its
impact and
this if the artist
qualities to stimulate specific
Rousseau
self-taught French artist
representation of the world as
it
exists
by expressing his unique vision in dream-like paintings
unhindered by academic conventions. In
his writings,
Kandinsky introduced the distinction between two "poles" of
expression, "Great Abstraction" (exemplified by his
and "Great Realism"
paths to a
new
(as in
art "arisen
the
work of Rousseau),^ that he
out of internal necessity."'
own
identified as equally legitimate
When American
painters positioned
themselves between the poles of abstraction and representation, they too transcended
distinctions to create art that
The medium
that
was
vibrant, new,
most dominated the
Groundbreaking work in
and true
critical
fields as diverse as
work)
to the
stylistic
experience of modern hfe.
discourse during this period was painting.
photography, film, and graphic and industrial
design, for example, was only slowly beginning to be recognized by contemporaries as worthy
of critical interest. For most
artists
represented in this overview, creative expression was
primarily a matter of painting, drawing, or sculpting
The
history of progressive
American painting
—works
that could be exhibited
and bought.
in the early twentieth century has often
been written as the story of American encounters with European modernism,
a simplification
that underestimates the cultural cross-pollination that characterized the period. Like earlier
generations,
They
American
visited Paris
artists still believed
and other
centers,
it
was
essential to travel to
and study
in Europe.
where they engaged with works of the avant-garde.
Marguerite Zorach (nee Thompson), for example, became a lifelong advocate of the modern
cause after studying in Paris from 1908 to 1911. There she met Picasso and befriended other
trendsetters in Gertrude
and Leo
Stein's
famous
salon,
an incubator of modernism. Emigrants
linked art circles on both sides of the Atlantic as well. Italian-born Joseph Stella arrived in
the United States as a
young man, received
transformed by his encounter with
4
Italian
initial
academic training here, and was then
Futurism on
a visit to Paris in 1911. Similarly,
Polish aristocrat John
Graham
In the following decades, he exhibited
circle
came
(born in Russia as Ivan Dambrowsky)
and
socialized in
New York and
to
Paris,
America
in 1920.
keeping his large
of friends in the United States abreast of recent developments in the French capital.
In America, opportunities to encounter works of the European avant-garde increased
greatly as the twentieth century advanced.
The
first
decade was
still
marked by homegrown
New York's
events such as the widely discussed exhibition The Eight held in 1908 at
Macbeth
Gallery,
where paintings by Robert Henri, John Sloan, William Glackens, Maurice
Prendergast, and four other Americans were presented. But the
quickly
1909
became more
work of European modernists
providing benchmarks for their American colleagues.
visible,
showcased international avant-garde
to 1917, Alfred Stieglitz
art in his
Gallery 291, an outgrowth of his previous photography gallery at the
same
New
site.
Europeans, including Picasso and Rousseau, as well as American modernists,
as the
Armory Show, introduced
the greater
gardes, simultaneously exasperating, bewildering,
In 1920, the painter
and
arts
Armory Show and
to the exhibition
"Societe
Anonyme,
selected
Kandinsky and Joseph
for artists
American public
to
York
He
featured
among them
European avant-
and entertaining them.
patron Katherine Dreier, the American
Duchamp
the French emigre artist Marcel
Art in
From
Hartley. In the spring of 1913, the pivotal International Exhibition of Modern Art,
Marsden
known
influential
artist
Man
Ray,
and
(notorious for his provocative submissions to the
of the Society of Independent Artists in 1917) founded the
Inc." to organize exhibitions of mostly non-representational art. Dreier
Stella for solo exhibitions. Ultimately
providing a platform
and interpreters of American and European modernism, the
New York was founded
in
1929 (moving
to its
Museum
of Modern
present
location in 1939) with the goal of becoming "the greatest
museum
of modern
art in the
world," as founding director
Alfred H. Barr explained.
For the
liberation
first
American modernists, innovation meant
from the corset of academic
tradition.
Searching
for the future of art, they metaphorically destroyed the art
of the past by dissecting
its
underlying conventions. They
discovered that painting could serve as a vehicle of self-
5
expression, celebrating, for example, everyday urban
as
it
making
did for Sloan;
felt lay
behind the
visible the
energy that
artists
visible world, as for Stella; or overtly
acknowledging the two-dimensionality of painting
it
did for Stuart Davis. Painting
of the
artist's self as
Which
life^
much
as
became
a public
itself as
expression
an engagement with the world.
position an artist staked out was not only a matter
of individual taste or personality, but also a reflection of the
political
and economic conditions of the time and of society's
changing expectations. In the 1920s,
shifted to a
more
introspective, at times even reactionary
mode,
modern
in a return to
an imported
broader societal conditions, and
art reflected
more
classical
artistic ideal,
two enigmatic
Life Soldier, for
figures.
and John Graham's Luxembourg Gardens infuse
years. Following the
to the
new
eschewed formal experimentation
life.
as
an end in
reality,
it
to
of
little
about
Rockwell Kent's Pioneers (Into the Sun)
their landscapes with symbolic
itself,
responding instead
power without
many
artists
to the realities
Raphael Soyer's painting of a model in his studio aspires
description of its subject, just as N. C. Wyeth's Island
of the place
reality
example, reveals
providing a key to their meaning. Especially during and after the Depression,
contemporary
to the
conservatism was reflected
responded, sometimes with ambivalence,
its
I
production
forms of expression. Post-war painters, no longer wedded
America's place in the world. Guy Pene du Bois's
the relationship between
political
War
artistic
response
partially in
increasing political isolationism that characterized the post- World
war,
much
to
of
be an accurate
Farm presents an unmediated view
represents. Addressing an audience that rejected art that questioned perceived
Soyer and
Wyeth looked back
to the classical traditions of
nude
figure painting
and landscape.
Marsden
Hartley's landscape Ajier the Storm, Vinalhaven stands at the
of American modernism
Portuguese Church),
painting.
visually
6
Its
it
at
Bowdoin. With
makes manifest
rough appeal,
or, to
what Harfley had put
its
graphic syntax (reminiscent of Stuart Davis's
Hartley's profoundly
use Kandinsky's words,
into
words
end of this survey
its
modern understanding of
"Great Realism," expresses
in a letter to Kandinslcy's close ally
Franz Marc
—
in 1913: "I live
my life
in as simple a
my perceptions
where
—
I
—
perhaps
in the abstract
comes
and aspirations comes
a
a
power
to express
language to express
This essay seeks to reopen a conversation that
The questions they asked then
in
art.^
What makes
a
,
^,
it
feet to
at
times
,
The works on view and
.„
rise to
,
—
I
—but
have
no matter
—having no
in the concrete also
faith in origins
—and
that for
all
and know
consuming
it."'*
artists
began more than
What
work of art an expression of "inner
,
walk on the earth
somehow
are not entirely obsolete:
"American" experiences might give
art.'
my
wish
I
have no fear for the esthetic expression of it
that for every lofty intuition
desires
as possible always with the fixed idea that
and intuitions wander
vision except of earth element
For the rest
way
role
a century ago.
does subject matter play
necessity"?
What
characteristically
new
my
"I live
,
illustrated here
life in
as simple a
way
as possible
always with the fixed idea that no matter
demonstrate the phenomenal diversity of this
era.
where my perceptions and
Modern painting between 1900 and 1940
offered
I
a rich
and constantly expanding repertoire of
^
^
forms that
^
*u
^
here and abroad. Through
* x
^omes
wander
,
,
that for
radically altered the cultural landscape
intuitions
...
Wish my feet to walk on the earth
.
11
all
language tO express
a
and
...
j
consuming desires and_i aspirations
•
it."
marsden hartley
lively critical debate,
groundbreaking exhibitions, and private and institutional collections that supported a
growing market,
the nation.
They
art
still
and the ideas
it
prompted were seen
to
matter in the larger
life
of
do.
NOTES
1^
For a definition of the term "modernity," see Terry Smith,
"Modernity,"
Grove Art Online Oxford Art Online,
3.
"The forms employed for the embodiment
[of
the
spirit],
which the
spirit
//wwwoxf ordartonline.com/subscriber/article/grove/art/
may
easily
be divided between two poles. These two poles
T058788.
are;
1
in
http:
has wrested from the reserves of matter,
Details
on pages 2-7:
Page
Marguerite Thompson
Zoracin,
4,
2-
Wassily Kandinsky,
"On the Question
of
Form" (from
Blaue Reiter Almanac, 1912),
in
Peter Vergo, eds., Kandinsky:
Complete Writings on
VoL
1
quote
Kenneth C, Lindsay and
(1901-1921) {Boston: G.K.
p,
242.
Hall,
Art,
1982), 235-257,
two
2,
.
The Great Abstraction,
poles
open up two
single goal. "In Lindsay
4. Patricia
2.
The Great Realism. These
paths, which lead ultimately to a
and Vergo, 239.
The Family Evening; page
Maurice
Ivlalo,
page
Brazil
5,
Prendergast,
William
Captain's Pier; page 6,
du
Bois,
The
J.
Guy Pene
Life Soldier
McDonnell, Marsden Hartley "Marsden Hartley's
Letters to Franz
Marc and Wassily Kandinsky 1913-1914,"
Archives of American Art Journal,
vol.
St.
Glackens,
29, no. 1-2 (1989),
35-44.
7
ROBERT HENRI
During
AMERICAN, 1865-1929 Coal
Breaker, ^902
a brief train layover in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, in July 1902, Robert
Henri
sketched one of the area's characteristic processing plants where breaker boys sorted and
purified anthracite coal. Henri painted the scene the following day in his studio in
York.
When
it
was exhibited twice
have been understood in relation
prompted the
first
to paint
Academie
Henri trained
He found
and his
eerily quiet industrial
of May
to October,
early
1900s
in
New York,
landscape would
1902, that had
Henri was a mentor
such as John Sloan and William Glackens,
Julian in Paris
early Manet.
aesthetic
life.
to the coal strike
and from the
illustrators
urban
1902-03, the
intervention of a president (Theodore Roosevelt) in a labor confiict.'
In Philadelphia,
newspaper
in
New
at the
Pennsylvania
and favored the dark
whom
Academy of Fine
he urged
Arts and the
palette of Velazquez, Frans Hals,
a subject in the Coal Breaker that lent itself favorably
political principles.
to
and the
both
to his
THOMAS EAKINS
AMERICAN, 1844-1916
Eakins was fully recognized as a leading
New York and
Philadelphia, in 1917
Portrait of A. Bryan Wall, 1904
realist painter
and 1918
only after his memorial exhibitions in
respectively, but
on Philadelphia painters long before World War
I.
This
is
he exerted a strong influence
one of more than 145 bust-length
portraits that Eakins painted over the course of his career, usually without a
Typically, the sitters are
This 1904 work
is
shown
in a three-quarter view in front of a simple dark background.
dedicated on
its
reverse "to
my
friend A. Bryan Wall," a trustee of the
Carnegie Institute and a landscape painter, then in his early
and
briefly
who
lived in Pittsburgh
and unceremonious rendering of physiognomy
unprotected by either pictorial or societal conventions. "Social
said about Eakins, "enter secondarily. " The
is
forties,
maintained a studio in Philadelphia in the early 1900s.'
Eakins's acute observation
sitter
commission/
characteristic of Eakins's
Pennsylvania
work
Academy of Fine
uncompromisingly
after his resignation in
gifts,"
Walt
realist style
left
the
Whitman
of this painting
1886 from the directorship of the
Arts due to a controversy about the use of nude male models
in mixed-sex classes.
9
t'*
JOHN SLOAN AMERICAN,
1871-1951
As one of the Philadelphia newspaper
up
painting, John Sloan followed his
city dwellers,
memory
such as
Art.''
woman
in the studio.'' Sloan
and responded
scheme
this
...
bequeathed
tV/ndow on
illustrators
mentor
in her
to
first
harmony with
*
t/ie Street,
1912
encouraged by Robert Henri
New
window,
whom
he then painted quickly from
woman"
mood
in this scene,
by translating
it
into a "color
the subject," as he recalled in his book The Gist 0/
patrons were his friends George Otis and Elizabeth Hamlin,
their sizable collection of the artist's work, including
and Sunday Afternoon
in
to take
York in 1904. There he observed
especially perceptive of the
to the "sullen wistfulness of the
in close
Sloan's
was
>A
'
Union Square,
to the
who
A Window on
Bowdoin College Museum of Art
the Street
in 1961.
^
JOHN SLOAN AMERICAN,
1871-1951
Sunday Afternoon
in
Union Square,
This light-hearted painting revels in the pleasures of early twentieth-century
York
City.
A member of the
group of realist
artists loosely
known
}9M
New
as The Eight (which
included Robert Henri and William Glackens), Sloan believed that contemporary
American
art
people, and
should celebrate the commonplace.
on the whole
I
He
picked out bits of joy in
said, "I
human
saw the everyday
life
for
my
life
of the
subject matter."
Sloan later wrote about the "lavender light" with which this painting was infused.
He
rendered
it
with a harmonious palette drawn from the color system devised by the
painter Hardesty Maratta, a system Sloan
introduced
him
had used since 1909 when Robert Henri
to Maratta's colors.^
11
MAURICE BRAZIL PRENDERGAST
In this animated
briUiant reds
oil
AMERICAN, 1858-1924
Malo,
St.
ca.
1907
sketch painted in Brittany, on the northwestern coast of France,
and greens energize the expanses of sl<y and ocean. Prendergast dehghts
in
the sensual quality of the paint as well as in the exhilarating experience of water and wind
on an overcast
as
an excuse
especially
day.
The
to visit a
artist
used the inclement weather during the
wide spectrum of exhibitions of modern
his friends Henri, Sloan,
St.
art in Paris,
where he was
impressed by Cezanne and the Neo-Impressionists. Prendergast returned
United States with the excitement and zeal of an early convert
his
summer of 1907
Malo
oil
and Glackens
to the
to
to the
modernism, introducing
new developments. He
exhibited several of
sketches in the landmark exhibition The Eight in 1908.9
WILLIAM
J.
GLACKENS
AMERICAN, 1870-1938
Captain's
Pier,
1912-1914
Glackens, like his high school classmate Sloan, was a newspaper illustrator before
being
won
over to painting by Robert Henri,
associates as The Eight in
1908
who
exhibited the
work of his proteges and
to great acclaim. Captain's Pier is
of the waterfront in Bellport, Long Island, where Glackens spent
1916.'° This bright, colorful,
life
in a
moment
of leisure
and Post-Impressionism;
Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
and vivacious painting
—reveals the
in fact,
artist's
—
a slice
one of many renderings
summers from
1911 to
of contemporary American
admiration for French Impressionism
he was often compared in his day
to the
French painter
ROBERT HENRI AMERICAN,
Paintings by van
Gogh and
1865-1929 Menaune
the Fauves at the
encouraged Henri and other American
Island, Ireland.
Armory Show
artists to
in the spring of 1913
define themselves not only by their
subject matter, but also by their works' formal qualities. Like Kroll
Henri responded
This
oil study,
to
European innovations
sketched in Ireland in the
Sloan in Sunday Ajiemoon
in
in painting
summer
and Prendergast,
by revisiting coastal landscapes.
of 1913, takes advantage
(as
did
Union Square) of a wide spectrum of hues in Maratta's
color system, a palette of which
is
painted on the back of the panel."
•
RECTO
14
1913
f latttt
ffMif ii
LEON KROLL AMERICAN,
1884-1974 Monhegan Landscape, ^9^3
Loosely associated with Robert Henri's circle in
for the first
from
time in 1907
to paint at Prout's
—Winslow Homer. In the summer of
York's
Armory Show, he returned
Monhegan
for the artist,
Kroll
Neck, where he met
had
from the depiction of city
life.
his friend
worked with
a teaching career.
later
New
George Bellows, painting on
saturated, thicldy applied colors to
like his peers Henri, Sloan,
He
Maine
—and received advice
The study of the Maine landscape marked
during which he,
visited
1913, following personal success at
Maine with
Island.'^ In this sketch, Kroll
create a bold plasticity.
pursued
to
New York,
focused on nudes,
a period
of transition
and Glackens, turned away
still-lifes,
and
portraits,
and
HENRI ROUSSEAU FRENCH,
1844-1910
As
where he was once
a self-taught painter in Paris,
Rousseau was
/.e
Cana/, ca.
1
905
a toll collector, "Le
largely ignored by critics. Avant-garde painters, however,
Douanier"
admired him
for
his vision, determination, and, notably, his lack of interest in traditional painting skills.
Paul Signac, Pablo Picasso, and Wassily Kandinsky
all
promoted
his work.
Rousseau
exhibited regularly in the Salon des Independants and was featured in an exhibition
organized by American painter
Max Weber
the year of Rousseau's death. While the
modernists embraced
its
at
Alfred Stieglitz's Gallery 291 in 1910,
American press was
hostile to his work,
formal naivete and dream-like simplicity.
some
WASSILY KANDINSKY
RUSSIAN, 1866-1944 Improvisation No. 7 (Storm), ^9^0
Kandinsl-cy's study for a painting
now
in the Tretyakov Gallery,
invisible "inner nature" into dynamically
composed, vibrant
resonates with the viewer like music: "In general
direct influence
soul
is
upon
the soul. Color
the piano with
its
many
is
...
color
the keyboard.
is
colors.
a
The eye
strings," the artist wrote."'
Moscow,
translates
The image
means of exerting
is
the
a
hammer. The
Kandinsky arrived
at
non-
representational art through a process of gradual abstraction in which he was inspired
by sources as diverse as Bavarian peasant painting, Russian
philosophy.
He promulgated
Spiritual in Art of 1911
inspired
in the
many
artists
fairy tales,
and
esoteric
the renewal of art in widely read treatises, such as The
and the Blue Rider Almanac of 1912. In the United
States,
he
through translations of his writings as well as his participation
Armory Show of 1913 and
other exhibitions.
—
JOSEPH STELLA AMERICAN,
Italian-born Joseph Stella,
who had immigrated
nineteen and had received his
while traveling in Paris and
movement was
it
initial
Italy
a revelation to
indeed demanded that
1877-1946 Spring (The Procession),
to the
United States
ca.
at
^9'[4-^9^6
the age of
training in art here, encountered ItaHan Futurism
from 1909
to 1912.
The work of this avant-garde
him. Futurists turned away from the
be destroyed
—
in favor of the
art
of the past
dynamism of modern
life.
Building on the innovations of Cubism, they dramatized their fractured images through
brilliant color
and turbulent composition. With
Spring,
which
Stella
based on the
"lyricism of the Italian Spring," the artist created one of his finest paintings. In
glorified the vitality of nature
and
implicitly expressed
hope
it,
he
for spiritual redemption.'^
STUART DAVIS AMERICAN,
Portuguese Church
—Sketch,
1892-1964
1916
Portuguese Church, 1916
This pair of oils painted in the
grisaille,
artists'
colony of Gloucester, Massachusetts
the other limited to yellow, brown, blue, pink,
research into the pictorial foundations of modern
plane?
When
is it
perceived as spatial?
How does
art.
and green
When
—one en
—document Davis's
does
a color constitute a
the two-dimensional composition of a
painting reflect or revoke the stability of three-dimensional tectonics? Davis had studied
with Robert Henri,
whom
he knew from childhood. By 1916, as
he had outgrown his teacher's expertise: "Reliance on the
a twenty-four-year-old,
vitality
of subject matter
carry the interest prevented [him from] an objective appraisal of the
actual color-space relations
work
at
the
on the canvas.
Armory Show, but
it
I
to
dynamics of the
became vaguely aware of this on seeing the
took years to clarify the
point."'''
GERTRUDE FISKE
AMERICAN, 1878-1961
Two
Figures by a Pool, ^9^9
For Bostonian Gertrude Fiske, a former student of the School of the
Arts and one of the
with the
artists'
city's
colony
at
leading painters, the year 1919
marked
Museum
a closer association
Ogunquit, Maine. There, the daily practice of plein
sketching guided by marine painter Charles H.
of Fine
Woodbury loosened her
air
stroke
and
inspired her to experiment with unusual compositions. Two Figures by a Pool obscures
the view with delicately rendered branches, thereby dissolving traditional perspectival
space and emphasizing the painting's surface. In
its
subtle
acknowledgement of the
picture plane this de-centered painting reflects Fiske's interest in James
Whistler,
whose aestheticism she acknowledged
as liberating.'"
Abbot McNeill
ROCKWELL KENT
AMERICAN, 1882-1971 Pioneers
Rockwell Kent, a popular painter, writer,
illustrator,
(Into the Sun),
and world
traveler,
}9]9
spent the winter of
1918-1919, joined only by his young son, on a remote island in Alaska, where he created
powerful images of the mystical unity of man and nature. Kent had studied with Robert
Henri and Abbot Thayer (see his mural Florence
in the
Bowdoin College Museum of Art's
rotunda), before he found inspiration in the romantic imagination of William Blake
the poetry of Walt
cast the purity,
that, at the
22
Whitman, whose
Pioneers!
O
Pioneers! gave the painting
harmony, and overwhelming beauty of nature in
end of World War
I,
a
its title.
and
Kent
genuinely modern form
offered contemporaries a fresh vision of resolve.'^
GUY PENE DU BOIS
AMERICAN, 1884-1958 The
The two somewhat cyUndrical
wooden movements seem
casts the
relationship.
to preclude
them from meaningful
Pene du
Bois's "narrative of inaction" has
Edward Hopper's work.'^ The two
and
was widespread
As painter and
in the
art critic,
interaction.
in
artists
he
of their
to similar
represent a trend towards order
American and European
to 1924,
single light
been compared
art
of the 1920s.
Pene du Bois emerged from the Henri
Armory Show. From 1920
A
soldier's chest as a subtle indicator
visual strategies in
objectivity that
1922
figures in The Life Soldier can hardly be called a couple; their
shadow of the woman's head on the
ambiguous
Life Soldier,
lived in a small artists'
circle
and participated
community
in
Westport, Connecticut, in the neighborhood of Maurice and Charles Prendergast, the latter
of whom designed The
Life Soldier's
frame.
23
MARGUERITE THOMPSON ZORACH
The Family Evening,
ca.
AMERICAN, 1887-1968
1924
Eschewing patriarchal conventions and embracing the family
individuals
was the challenge
that Marguerite
as a
community of equal
Zorach espoused when painting The
Family Evening. Her children Dahlov and Tessim had just reached an age that allowed
their
mother
to
resume her
artistic
work. Marguerite, her husband (the sculptor and
painter William Zorach), and their children divided their time between
Georgetown, Maine. In
New
York, both artists were active
of modernism since returning
in the
to
York and
and long-established promoters
couple) from Paris in 191 1.
Armory Show of 1913 and contributed
exhibitions.^"
24
(as a
New
The Zorachs
participated
and organized subsequent avant-garde
JOHN
D.
GRAHAM
summer
In Paris during the
that extends the Jardin
late
The Luxembourg Gardens, 1928
RUSSIAN, 1881-1961
of 1928, John
Graham
painted the grandiose, tree-Uned axis
du Luxembourg towards the Observatory,
nineteenth-century French urbanism.
The
Palais
a
major achievement of
du Luxembourg,
in the
background,
can be seen from the Fountain of the Four Continents (1874). Rendered in a dark and
by splashes of russet and green, the painting
palette punctuated
virtuosic brushstrokes
and
is
moody
characterized by rapid,
a vertiginous space reflecting the artist's lifelong interest in Italian
Renaissance perspective.
Although by 1920 the dashing and eccentric John Graham had immigrated
where he became an
influential painter, dealer,
a family of Polish aristocrats.
frequently between
aesthetic ideas
New
He
to
theorist,
studied with John Sloan in
York and
from Europe
and
Paris,
Expressionism, organizing Jackson Pollock's
first
New York, and he
shuttled
coiiduit of modernist
Graham championed
New York
America,
he was born in Russia into
becoming the primary
America. In the 1940s
to
Abstract
show.
25
RAPHAEL SOYER
AMERICAN, 1899-1987
As one of three Soyer brothers who made
New
at
a
Ze/c/a, ca.
mark on
York, Raphael immigrated to the United States
1930
the art scene of Depression-era
from Russia
in 1913
and trained
Cooper Union, the National Academy of Design, and the Educational Alliance
Art School.
The
three brothers, Raphael, his twin Moses, and Isaac,
as Social Realist painters
became known
and were prominent members of the "Fourteenth
School," a group of artists
who
depicted unvarnished
city life to further the
Street
cause
of the underprivileged. Grounding his paintings in the study of the figure, Raphael
Soyer frequently painted models in his studio with the same ethos and solidarity that
characterizes his
many
street scenes.^'
NEWELL CONVERS WYETH
N. C.
of the
Wyeth belonged
new
to a
AMERICAN, 1882-1945
Island Farm, 1937
generation of magazine illustrators
who
took advantage
halftone and photo-offset lithography technologies that transformed the
publishing industry in the early twentieth century. His enormous commercial success
with nostalgic mass-produced images allowed
to
encourage the
in time,
would outstrip
Port Clyde
friend's
artistic
home,
him
to
pursue his interest in painting and
leanings of his children, especially his son Andrew,
his father's.
that inspired
him
It
was the experience of Maine, summering
to paint realist landscapes. In this
house on an island off Port Clyde, Wyeth
transcended the limits of his
whose fame,
illustrative
at his
bucohc view of a
implicitly strove for a significance that
work."
27
MARSDEN HARTLEY
AMERICAN, 1877-1943 After the Storm, Vinalhaven, ^938-^939
Painted by Hartley (who was born in Lewiston, Maine) in his early
productive phase
at
the end of his itinerant
life,
a unified vision of the artist's creative ambitions
innovation in
modern
art.
Like
many
exposing himself to avant-garde
and supported by
a stipend
this
and
from Alfred
whom he
a highly
a bold response to four decades of
American education by
Europe. Following the advice of Maurice Prendergast,
Stieglitz,
Hartley traveled to Paris, Munich, and Berlin,
where he absorbed the lessons of Cezanne, Matisse,
Like Stuart Davis, with
during
view of Vinalhaven, Maine, offers
others. Hartley bolstered his
art in
sixties,
Picasso,
and Kandinsky, among
others.
painted in Gloucester, Massachusetts, in 1916, Hartley
applied his colors with a clear understanding of the
autonomy of painting
freed
from the
confinement of naturalistic representation. While his early work abroad embraced abstraction,
after
is,
to
1920 he developed
his
own
his
rough-hewn realism.
Tliis
bold and elemental landscape
use Kandinsky's terms, a convincing realization of "inner necessity."
NOTES
1.
Robert Henri: Painter (Wilmington: Delaware Art
1984),
cat. 33, p.
Museum,
12.
2.
Theodore Stebbins,
V.
2:
ed..
13.
American Paintings
Paintings, Watercolors, Pastels,
by Artists
Bom
University Art
14.
1899
International Exhibition,
The
Artist
Fine Arts
15.
Influence on
4.
Museum.
American
16.
2003), footnote 253.
17.
Sidney Kirkpatrick, The Revenge of Thomas Eakins (New
On
April 21, 1912, Sloan wrote in his diary,
looldng out of the
window
and
her from memory.
it
tried to paint
yet but will probably
in a
John, ed.,John Sloan: John Sloan's
York: Harper
6.
&
it
I
Art, Phillips
"I
saw
a girl
don't think
I
18.
York Scene
St.
Jake
of Modern Art, 1945), 9.
(Portland,
Kent: The Mythic
and
Hudson
Hills Press, 2005),
the
m
15.
Barbara Haskell, The American Century: Art and Culture
Art, in association with
WW.
Museum
of American
Norton, 1999), 182.
20. Jessica NicoU, "To Be Modern:
John Sloan, Gist of Art (New York: American Artists
Selective
ME: Portland Museum of Art,
igoo-ig^o (New York: Whitney
(New
Row, 1965), 619.
A
Gallery of American
Academy, 1996), 370-371.
association with
19.
MA: Addison
Milgram Wien, Rockwell
Modem
have
tomorrow." Bruce
New
Museum
Addison Gallery of American Art: 65 Years:
Catalogue (Andover,
rooming house opposite
go on with
James Johnson Sweeney, Stuart Davis (New York:
Tlie
Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 349.
5.
(New York: Whitney
Stella
of American Art, 1994), 206-207, and
footnote 116.
to 1903. Linda Merrill,
and His
Barbara Haskell, Joseph
Museum
a juror for the Institute's
Painting (Atlanta: Yale University Press, in association
with the High
and Marianne Lorenz, Theme and
association with Bulfinch Press, 1992).
and trustee of the
member of its
Commission while Eakins was
After Whistler:
Gail Levin
3912-1950 (Dayton, Ohio: Dayton Art Institute, in
Wall, a friend of Andrew Carnegie
Carnegie Institute, was a
MA:
Press, 1994, 160.
Improvisation: Kandinsky and the American Avant-Garde,
in association with Yale
University Press, 2008), 95.
3.
118.
Wassily Kandinsky, Complete Writings on Art, edited
DeCapo
MA: Harvard
Reckoning with Winslow Homer:
by Kenneth C. Lindsay and Peter Vergo, Boston,
Haivard.
and Stained Glass
3826-1856 (Cambridge,
Museum,
at
ed..
Cleveland University Press, 1990),
Coal Strike of 1902: Turning Point in U.S. Policy," Monthly
Labor Review, October 1975.
Bruce Robertson,
His Late Paintings and Their Influence (Cleveland:
68-69. Also: Jonathan Grossman, "The
The Origins of Marguerite
Group, 1939), 230.
and William Zorach's Creative Partnership, 1911-1922,"
7.
Sloan, Gist of Art, 233.
in Marguerite
8.
John Sloan: Spectator of Life (Wilmington: Delaware Art
Contrasts (Portland,
Museum,
9.
Nancy
1988), cat. No. 62,
MowU
98-99.
21.
Mathews, Maurice Prendergast
(Williamstown,
MA: Williams
College
Museum
Tradition
of Art,
Richard
Scenes
J.
Smithsonian Studies
in
American
Spring 1988, 75-94.
11.
Robert Henri: The Painter (Wilmington: Delaware Art
Museum,
the
Whitney
K. Tarbell,
The Figurative
Whitney Museum of American Art (New
Museum
Wiley Todd, The "New
Wattenmaker, "William Glackens's Beach
at Heliport,"
York:
and
ME: Portland Museum of Art, 2001).
and Roberta
of American Art, 1980), 72.
For a study on Soyer's paintings of shop
1990), 24-25.
10.
Patricia Hills
and William Zorach: Harmonies and
1984), 116-117.
Art, 2,
Gender
Politics
Woman"
on Fourteenth
girls,
see Ellen
Revised: Painting
Street (Berkeley
and
and Los
Angeles: University of California Press, 1993).
22. Christine B. Podmaniczl<y, N. C. Wyeth:
Exhibition (Rockland,
A
Centenary
ME: Farnsworth Museum
of Art, 1982).
29
ILLUSTRATIONS
GRAHAM
STUART DAVIS
JOHN
American, 1892-1964
Russian, 1881-1961
Portuguese Church- Sketch, 1916
oil
on canvas
23 X 19
on canvas
32 X 25
Gift of Earl Davis, Yale University
New Haven,
Art Gallery,
Luxembourg Gardens, 1928
oil
inches
'/s
Connecticut
Portuguese Church, 1916
inches
'/z
Bequest of William H. Alexander,
in
memory
Mrs.
oil
D.
J.
of his friends, Major and
Tarn McGrew,
Paris,
2003.11.38
on canvas
23 X 19 inches
MARSDEN HARTLEY
Gift of Earl Davis, Yale University
American, 1877-1943
New
Art Gallery,
Haven, Connecticut
After the Storm, Vinalhaven,
oil
22 x 28 inches
American, 1844-1916
Gift of Mrs. Charles Phillip
Portrait of A.
Bryan Wall, 1904
1938-1939
on academy board
THOMAS EAKINS
oil
France
Kuntz
1950.8
on canvas
24 74 X 20
Museum
^/i6
inches
ROBERT HENRI
American, 1865-1929
Purchase,
George Otis Hamlin Fund
Coal Breaker, 1902
1962.16
oil
on canvas
26 74 X 32 inches
GERTRUDE FISKE
Museum
American, 1878-1961
Elizabeth B. G.
Two
1970.48
oil
Figures by a Pool, 1919
Purchase,
Hamlin Fund
on canvas
20
inches
27
X
Gift of
Osborne
7'<5
R.
and Mary M. Soverel
Menaune
011
12 74 X 16 inches
1991.100
Gift of
WILLIAM
Island, Ireland, 1913
on panel
J.
GLACKENS
David
P. Becker,
Class of 1970
1983.14
American, 1870-1938
Captain's Pier 1912-1914
oil
on canvas
Russian, 1866-1944
25 7^ X 30 7* inches
Gift of
Stephen M.
Etnier,
Honorary Degree, 1969
1957.127
WASSILY KANDINSKY
Improvisation No. 7 (Storm). 1910
oil
on pasteboard
27
3/16
x 19
inches
Gift of Collection Societe
Anonyme,
Yale University Art Gallery,
New Haven,
Connecticut
1
ROCKWELL KENT
JOHN SLOAN
American, 1882-1971
American, 1871-1951
Pioneers (Into the Sun), 1919
A Window on
oil
on canvas
28
X
oil
the Street, 1912
on canvas
26 X 32 inches
44 74 inches
Gift of Mrs. Charles F. Chillingworth
Bequest of George Otis Hamlin
1957.126
1961.50
LEON KROLL
Sunday Afternoon
American, 1884-1974
oil
Monhegan Landscape, 1913
on panel
26 7^
oil
8
X 10
Museum
'/s
inches
in
Union Square, 1912
on canvas
X 32 7s inches
Bequest of George Otis Hamlin
1961.63
Purchase,
Elizabeth B. G.
Hamlin Fund
RAPHAEL SOYER
American, 1899-1987
1970.79
Zelda, ca. 1930
GUY PENE DU BOIS
oil
26 X 32 74 inches
Gift of Stephen M.
American, 1884-1958
The
oil
Life Soldier,
1922
on panel
25 X
on canvas
Etnier,
1956.
20 inches
Gift of Walter K.
Gutman, Class of 1924
JOSEPH STELLA
American, 1877-1946
1966.37
Spring (The Procession),
MAURICE BRAZIL PRENDERGAST
oil
American, 1858-1924
75
St.
Honorary Degree, 1969
Malo,
oil
on panel
10
'/z
1914-1916
inches
Anonyme,
Yale University Art Gallery,
New
X 13 74 inches
Anonymous
40
X
Gift of Collection Societe
1907
ca.
ca.
on canvas
Haven, Connecticut
Gift
NEWELL CONVERS WYETH
1991.9
American, 1882-1945
HENRI ROUSSEAU
Island Farm, 1937
French, 1844-1910
oil
Le Canal, ca. 1905
41 '7i6 X
011
on canvas
on canvas
48 7* inches
Long-term Loan from John
R.
Hupper
12 7/8 X 16 78 inches
The Katharine Ordway
Collection,
Yale University Art Gallery,
New
Haven, Connecticut
MARGUERITE THOMPSON ZORACH
American, 1887-1968
The Family Evening,
oil
on canvas
34
'/&
X
Gift of
ca.
1924
44 7x inches
Dahlov Ipcar and Tessim Zorach
1979.77
31
SELECTED READINGS
Baur, John
I.
H., ed.
New Art
contributions by John
and Frederick
Corn,
S.
I.
in
America.
of the 20th Century, with
H. Baur, Lloyd Goodrich, Dorothy
Wight. Greenwich, CT:
Wanda M. The
Fifty Painters
New York
Graphic
Miller,
James Thrall Soby,
Society, 1957.
Great American Thing: Modern Art and National Identity, 1915-1935-
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999.
Greenough, Sarah,
Galleries.
ed.
Modem
Art and America: Alfred Stieglitz and His
York
Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art (Boston: Bulfinch Press), 2000.
Haskell, Barbara. The American Century: Art and Culture, 1900-1950.
Whitney
New
Museum
New York:
of American Art, 1999.
Kennedy, Elizabeth, ed. The Eight and American Modernisms. Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 2009.
Hunter, Sam. American Art of the 20th Century.
New
York: Harry N.
and Marianne Lorenz. Theme and Improvisation: Kandinsky and
Levin, Gail,
American Avant-Garde, 1912-1950. Dayton, OH: Dayton Art
Naumann,
to
New
Abrams, 1974.
Institute,
Francis M., ed. Marius de Zayas: How, When, and
York.
Tuite, Diana,
Cambridge, MA:
and Linda
J.
MIT
the
1992.
Why Modem
Art
Came
Press, 1996.
Docherty. Methods for Modernism: American Art, i8y6-i925.
Brunswick, ME: Bowdoin College
Museum
of Art, 2010.
This publication
is
made
possible by a generous grant from the
American Art Program
of The Henry Luce Foundation.
Cover
illustration: Detail
of Pioneers (Into the Sun) by Rockwell Kent
Inside cover illustration: After the Storm, Vinalhaven by
Design: Wilcox Design
Printer:
Kirkwood Printing
Copyright
© 2011
Bowdoin College
Bowdoin College Museum of Art
Brunswick, Maine
Marsden Hartley

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