November 17– December 23, 2011
Highlighting the dynamic period between the world wars, Modern America 1917-1944 features a select group of paintings and watercolors by Oscar Bluemner, Charles Burchfield, Stuart Davis, Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, Walt Kuhn, Reginald Marsh, and John Marin. Not only were the interwar decades pivotal to the development of American modernism, which had emerged earlier in the century, but they also witnessed an updated concern with realism, charged with a more modern focus on, or at least an allusion to, the pressing social issues of the day.
The era is characterized by the plurality of stylistic approaches that were pursued simultaneously by American artists working both here and abroad. Those that will be on view in the exhibition span the range from abstraction to social realism. Marsden Hartley’s strikingly modernist New Mexico Recollections No. 7, for example, is one of a series of memory paintings that he created in Germany in 1923, inspired by the powerful landscape and open space of the Southwest, while Reginald Marsh’s quintessential Depression-era painting, Washington Takes Union Square, contrasts a monumental statue that is a commemoration of the nation’s founding with the everyday realities of 1933 America.