Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art continues its 2013 exhibitions line-up with an international collaboration, rarely exhibited works from the permanent collection, the traveling exhibition Angels & Tomboys, a focused look at America in the ‘30s and ‘40s, and a collection of personal papers pertaining to the life and times of George Washington. Also scheduled for the latter half of the year is the much-anticipated exhibition of a selection of Modernist works and photographs from the collection of Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O’Keeffe; a collection which Crystal Bridges shares jointly with Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee.
An Ongoing Collaboration
American Encounters: Genre Painting and Everyday Life
May 11 through August 12
American Encounters is a partnership project forged last year between Crystal Bridges, the Terra Foundation for American Art, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA, and the musée du Louvre in Paris. Each year, the group produces an intimate, focused traveling exhibition featuring artworks chosen from each of the partner institutions. This year’s offering, Genre Painting and Everyday Life, will be on view at Crystal Bridges from May 11 through August 12. Genre painting — narrative scenes depicting the everyday activities of “stock” or “typed” characters — flourished in the United States during the mid-nineteenth century. These paintings captivated American audiences and helped to express a distinctly “American” character, often through the exploration of racial, regional, or class differences. This exhibition of five paintings includes works by George Caleb Bingham, Eastman Johnson, and Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait — American painters whose works illustrate three very different cultural experiences within the greater context of the United States. These will be exhibited alongside two paintings from the Louvre that present the Dutch and English schools which helped to inspire American genre artists. The exhibition will debut at the Louvre from Jan. 23 – Apr. 22, 2013, and will travel to the High Museum of Art (Sept. 14, 2013- Jan. 14, 2014), following its stop at Crystal Bridges. There will be no fee to view this exhibition.
Supported locally in part by Crystal Bridges’ Global Initiative Fund, Stella Boyle Smith Trust, Chuck and Terri Erwin, and Reed and Mary Ann Greenwood.
Rarely Exhibited Works from the Permanent Collection
American Experience: Genre Scenes on Paper from Crystal Bridges’
May 11 through August 12
This exhibition will be on view concurrently with the international traveling exhibition American Encounters: Genre Painting and Everyday Life. American Experience will feature a selection of watercolors and drawings that highlight the richness and variety of the American experience in the 19th century. The exhibition addresses themes of work and leisure in the city and country, and features a diverse group of artists, including several represented by paintings in the collection: Winslow Homer, Thomas Waterman Wood, and John Lewis Krimmel. These images demonstrate how American artists sought a visual language for the depiction of daily life while the nation discovered and defined itself from 1825 to 1900. Some are studies for works in different media, inviting guests into the creative process, while others are fully conceived by artists who found watercolor and drawing to be an integral aspect of their production. Because they are created on paper, these artworks can be displayed only for short periods of time, presenting a rare opportunity for guests to see another side of Crystal Bridges’ growing collection. There is no fee to view this exhibition.
A Focused Exhibition
Angels & Tomboys: Girlhood in 19th-Century American Art
June 29 through September 30
In the aftermath of the Civil War, the American girl seemed transformed—at once more introspective and adventurous than the previous generation. Although the culture still prized the demure female child of the past, many saw a bolder type as the new, alternate ideal. Girlhood was no longer simple, and the complementary images of angel and tomboy emerged as competing visions of this new generation. Angels and Tomboys: Girlhood in 19th-Century American Art explores the myriad ways artists portrayed young girls: from the sentimental, innocent stereotype to the free-spirited individual. The exhibition includes approximately 72 masterworks, including paintings, sculpture, prints, and photographs. Works by John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, and Thomas Eakins, together with those by leading women artists, such as Cecilia Beaux and Mary Cassatt, reveal a new, provocative psychological element not found in early Victorian portraiture; while the mischievous tomboys in Lilly Martin Spencer’s paintings and the pure angels in the works of Abbot Handerson Thayer underscore the complexity of girlhood. Angels & Tomboys: Girlhood in 19th-Century American Art was organized by the Newark Museum. Tickets are $5 for adults, free for Museum Members and youth ages 18 and under.
Angels & Tomboys is sponsored at Crystal Bridges by Greenwood Gearhart Inc. and NWA Media/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Historical Documents from the Founding of Our Nation
Surveying George Washington
June 29 through September 30
This summer, Crystal Bridges will mount the second of an ongoing series of exhibitions featuring historical documents pertaining to the Museum’s mission and collection. This year’s exhibition focuses on George Washington, and features an assortment of documents written by Washington himself, or by contemporaries who knew him. The aim is to provide a look at Washington that offers insight into his life as a real person, not just a historical figure. The exhibition will feature documents spanning the breadth of Washington’s life, including, among others, a land survey prepared by Washington at age 19; a copy of the broadside recruiting poster mustering troops for what would become a regiment under Washington’s command during the French & Indian War; a hand-written letter to General John Cadwalader of the Pennsylvania militia, appealing to him for troops to continue the push against British outposts in New Jersey during the War for Independence; and a hand-written letter by Washington’s private secretary Tobias Lear, announcing Washington’s death in 1799. Also included is a first edition of George Washington’s Last Will and Testament, printed from the record of the County Court of Fairfax, 1800.
No special tickets are required, and there is no admission fee to view Surveying George Washington. Space is limited in the exhibition area, and admission is first-come, first-served. There may be a waiting period for admittance.
The exhibition is sponsored by Randy and Valorie Lawson / Lawco Energy Group.
A Collaborative Exhibition Focusing on a Changing Nation
This Land: Picturing a Changing America in the 1930s and 1940s
August 31, 2013 to January 6, 2014
The 1930s were a decade of great social and environmental upheaval in the United States. The crash of the stock market in 1929, combined with disastrous drought in the Great Plains and massive flooding along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, caused dramatic change to our natural and cultural landscape. Artists during this time responded to and documented the hardships of the Depression era in a variety of styles and media. This Land: Picturing a Changing America in the 1930s and 1940s is a new exhibition at Crystal Bridges featuring some 45 paintings, drawings, prints, and photographs from this crucial era in American history. Along with never-before-exhibited works from the Crystal Bridges collection, the exhibition also includes works on loan from a variety of other institutions, including the Smithsonian, the New York Public Library, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, as well as from private and corporate collections. The works feature well-known Regionalist painters Thomas Hart Benton, Joe Jones, and Joseph Vorst, among others; as well as famous photographers Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, and Ben Shahn, who documented the effects of drought, flood, and financial hardship in communities across the U.S. Many of these artists were participants in the various government-sponsored recovery programs that resulted in post office murals across the country, fine-art prints for non-federal public buildings, and photographs that captured the iconic images of the Great Depression. The exhibition tells the story of both rural and urban American life, and represents several very different styles that coexisted at this time: from Regionalism to abstraction, Cubism to Social Realism, along with the emergence of photography as a fine art medium. There is no fee to view this exhibition.
A First Look at a Shared Collection of American Modernists
The Artists’ Eye: Georgia O’Keeffe and the Alfred Stieglitz Collection
November 9, 2013 through February 3, 2014
In 1949, Georgia O’Keeffe donated 101 works of art, ranging from African masks to Modernist paintings, to Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. Most of the objects had been collected by O’Keeffe’s late husband, Alfred Stieglitz, a photographer, gallery owner, and tireless champion of American Modernists, including O’Keeffe, Charles Demuth, Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, and John Marin, among many others. The Artist’s Eye: Georgia O’Keeffe and the Alfred Stieglitz Collection celebrates a partnership between Fisk University and Crystal Bridges that allows this important collection to be shared between Nashville and Bentonville.
Alfred Stieglitz was not a collector in a traditional sense, but instead supported those artists he felt were most important in developing a uniquely American version of Modernism. Stieglitz was an artist in his own right, a pioneer of Modernist photography. O’Keeffe’s gift to Fisk includes photographs by Stieglitz as well as some of her own paintings. The Artist’s Eye dually celebrates the “eye” of Stieglitz and O’Keeffe as patrons and collectors, but also as artists who interpreted America through camera and brush. There is no fee to view this exhibition.
The Artist’s Eye is sponsored at Crystal Bridges by Greenwood Gearhart Inc. and NWA Media / Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is located in Bentonville, Ark. The museum is open every day but Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., with extended hours until 9 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays.
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