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Artists of the Commonwealth: Realism and Its Response in Pennsylvania Painting, 1900-1950

February 26 - May 21, 2006


(above: George Ericson, a.k.a. Eugene Iverd (1893-1936), Young Scientist, 1932, oil on canvas, 38 x 29 inches. Collection: Erie Art Museum, Erie, PA)


Artists of the Commonwealth: Realism and Its Response in Pennsylvania Painting, 1900-1950 will open at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art on February 26 and run through May 21, 2006. This exhibition, organized by The Westmoreland in collaboration with the Erie Art Museum and Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, brings together the work of Pennsylvania artists that, although stylistically varied, are firmly based upon the foundation of representational art. By celebrating the contributions of Pennsylvania artists and placing them and their work within the greater context of American art, Artists of the Commonwealth: Realism and Its Response in Pennsylvania Painting, 1900-1950 will provide museum visitors with a rare opportunity to assess the direction of art at the opening of the 20th century. (right: Daniel Garber (1880-1958), Spring Valley Inn, 1940, oil on canvas, 30 x 28 inches. Collection: Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, PA, Purchase, 1943)

According to The Westmoreland's Judith O'Toole, Director/CEO "This exhibition is the second to be organized through an initiative of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts intended to stimulate collaboration between museums within the Commonwealth while promoting the artists of Pennsylvania. The first exhibition, Artists of the Commonwealth: Realism in Pennsylvania Painting 1950-2000, traveled to five museums in 2001/02 serving to celebrate the change of the millennium. That exhibition's success led us to continue the concept, working backwards in time to examine the contributions made by artists connected to the state in the first half of the twentieth century. As with the first exhibition, realism emerged as the common stylistic thread, sustained even during the period in American art that saw abstraction being introduced in its various guises."

The Westmoreland has scheduled a symposium titledPennsylvania Painters: Emblems of American Artfor Friday, April 28 from 10 AM - 3 PM. The symposium will feature American art specialist Betsy Fahlman, PhD, Professor of Art History, Arizona State University. Fahlman also wrote the essay for the 72-page catalogue that accompanies the exhibition. The catalogue includes color plates of the 38 works in the exhibition and will be available in The Westmoreland's shop.

The exhibition will travel to the following venues:Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Saint Francis University (Loretto, PA): August 4 - November 5, 2006; Erie Art Museum (Erie, PA): December 1, 2006 - April 8, 2007; James A. Michener Art Museum (Doylestown, PA): May 19 - September 2, 2007.

This exhibition received funding from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA), a state agency, through a PCA program that supports Pennsylvania traveling exhibitions and a website promoting these exhibitions. The Richard C. von Hess Foundation provides additional funding. (left: Malcolm Parcell (1896-1987), Portrait of Helen Gallagher, c. 1928, oil on canvas, 44 x 40 inches. Collection: Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg, PA, Gift of the Estate of Malcolm Parcell, 1987.134)


The Significance of the Artists of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has held a prominent place in the advancement of American painting since the dynasty of the Peale family in the early decades of the 18th century. Exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Carnegie Museum of Art, along with nationally recognized studio art programs at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) played an important role in the American art scene in the opening decades of the 20th Century. This period in American art was an extremely energetic, creative and quickly changing one with artists addressing a barrage of new styles defined by abstraction and modernism.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the instruction and works of such Pennsylvania artists as George Hetzel, Thomas Anshutz, and Thomas Eakins set the stage for Robert Henri, Henry Ossawa Tanner, and Mary Cassatt, each of whom became synonymous with a different movement in American realism, focusing on the city and modern life. Artists including Aaron Harry Gorson, Everett Shinn, and John Sloan, who continued an interest in urban life, closely followed these artists. N.C. Wyeth, Violet Oakley, and Maxfield Parrish were artists whose works focused on images from mythology, history and literature.

The introduction to American artists of modernist European painters such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Paul Cezanne, through exhibitions in New York, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, brought Cubism, Abstraction, and Expressionism to the scene. These "isms" would stimulate new directions in American art, as explored through the works of William Baziotes, Arthur B. Carles, and Charles Sheeler. 


(above: John Sloan (1871-1951), Girl, Back to Piano, 1932, tempera and glazes on panel, 20 x 24 inches. Collection: Sordoni Art Gallery, Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, PA)


Artists included in the exhibition:

William Baziotes (1912-)
Cecilia Beaux (1855-1942)
Arthur B. Carles (1882-1952)
Clarence Carter (1904-2000)
Mary Cassatt (1845-1926)
Fern Coppedge (1883-1951)
Virginia Cuthbert (1908-2001)
George Ericson, a.k.a. Eugene Iverd (1893-1936)
Daniel Garber (1880-1958)
William Glackens (1870-1938)
Aaron Harry Gorson (1872-1933)
Johanna K. W. Hailman (1871-1958)
Robert Henri (1865-1929)
Roy Hilton (1892­1963)
John Kane (1860-1934)
Albert King (1854-1945)
George Luks (1867-1933)
Norwood MacGilvary (1874­1949)
Violet Oakley (1874-1961)
Malcolm Parcell (1896-1987)
Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966)
Horace Pippin (1888-1946)
Hobson Pittman (1900-1972)
Joseph Plavcan (1908-1981)
Edward Redfield (1869-1965)
Samuel Rosenberg (1896-1972)
Walter Elmer Schofield (1867-1944)
Charles Sheeler (1883-1965)
Everett Shinn (1876-1953)
John Sloan (1871-1951)
Robert Spencer (1879-1931)
Walter Stuempfig (1914-1970)
Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937)
A. Bryan Wall (1861-1935)
Christian Walter (1872-1938)
Everett Warner (1877-1963)
Franklin Watkins (1894-1972)
N. C. Wyeth (1882-1945)

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