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May 23 - August 26, 2012
A distinguished selection of work by women artists from the 19th century to present day will be on view at the National Academy in Women's Work. The exhibition, on view May 23 through August 26, 2012, reflects the Academy's mission of presenting outstanding work by noteworthy, as well as under-recognized, artists. Including rarely shown pieces, the exhibition aims to broaden perceptions and knowledge of art work by American women, considering their work within the context of American art history. (right: Colleen Browning, Holiday, 1954, Oil on canvas, 13 3/4 x 22 3/4 inches. Private Collection, Hastings, New York)
Women artists have been central to the National Academy since its founding in 1825. Their roles as Academicians, exhibitors, students and art instructors are emblematic of the Academy's visionary and eclectic nature. "Since the Academy's inception, women artists have played an important role," states Bruce Weber, Senior Curator, 19th and early 20th Century Art. "Women's Work displays the achievements of women in American art over a hundred years. The exhibition offers many surprises, featuring works in a variety of media by well-known artists, but also artists worthy of recognition or reconsideration. We are especially proud of a rare set of drypoints by Mary Cassatt, certainly one of the highlights of the show."
In addition to Cassatt's prints, Women's Work emphasizes the evolution of sculpture from classical allegory of the early 19th century to politically and sexually charged work by contemporary artists. Colleen Browning: Urban Dweller, Exotic Traveler offers a fresh and intimate look at the realist painter. May Stevens' Big Daddy Series explores the significance of Steven's art of the late 1960s, and From Protest to Process: Recent Gifts by Women Academicians touches on the paintings and prints of some of the finest women artists working today.
Mary Cassatt: Graphic Artist
Over the course of her career impressionist painter Mary Cassatt created over 200 graphic works, the majority of which were not printed for general sale. Her most important graphic art is a set of twelve drypoints that she created in 1889 and 1890, and printed in an edition of 25 impressions. Distinguished by their free flowing line, compositional economy, and emphasis on contour, the set is evenly divided between studies of young women and the theme of mother and child. This outstanding group of prints was given to the Academy in 1903 by the artist, printmaker and decorator Samuel Colman, who became closely aware of Cassatt's work through his association with her great patrons Louisine and Henry Osborne Havemeyer.
Women Sculptors of the National Academy
Women Sculptors of the National Academy highlights approximately 20 works dating from the 1890s to the late 20th century. The pieces range in subject from classical allegory in Evelyn Beatrice Longman's Victory (1903;1908) to Nancy Grossman's politically charged Gunhead (c. 1991); and from the ethnic references of the late Elizabeth Catlett's Fluted Head to the sexually charged work of recently deceased Academician, Louise Bourgeois. The exhibition also reflects significant but currently overlooked artists of the past including Margaret Cresson, Cleo Hartwig, Jennie Ruth Nickerson, Marion Roller, and Katherine Lane Weems.
Colleen Browning: Urban Dweller, Exotic Traveler
Realist painter Colleen Browning's work is largely recognized for its command of material and media and for her unwavering devotion to depicting the human condition. Colleen Browning: Urban Dweller, Exotic Traveler highlights Browning's provocative sense of design, underlying abstract compositional structure, bold application of texture and pattern, and personal and dramatic renderings of light and atmosphere. Featuring twenty works, the exhibition uncovers Browning's subject matter: New York City and sites in the developing world where Browning visited and worked, including Grenada, South America, and North Africa.
As a seminal feminist artist, May Stevens never shied away from controversial topics. Beginning in the late 1960s Stevens undertook a series of important protest paintings. These works were vehement visual protests against the Vietnam War, and biting commentaries on the state of civil rights in America. They were harsh satirical depictions of what Stevens saw as the white, male-dominated authoritarian power structures in the country. The significance of her work and political message continues to resonate today.
From Protest to Process: Recent Gifts by Women Academicians
From Protest to Process: Recent Gifts by Women Academicians shows approximately thirty gifts covering forty years of artistic production in painting and printmaking. The installation illustrates several artistic strategies and approaches. Included are Sarai Sherman's color etchings of popular musicians, including Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, Howardena Pindell's Autobiography: Hiroshima Disguised (in 10 parts), Emma Amos' Giza and Faith, Polly Appelbaum's The Fandancer, Frances Barth's Violet, Julie Heffernan's Millenium Burial Mound, Jacqueline Gourevitch's Night:WTC Looking East, and recent work by Nancy Friese, Karen Kunc, Ellen Lanyon, Carole Robb, Diana Horowitz, and others.
(above: Mary Cassatt, Tea, c. 1890, Drypoint, Sheet size: 12 ? x 9 7/8 inches, Plate size: 7 1/8 x 6 1/8 inches)
(above: Mary Cassatt, The Mandolin Player, c. 1889, Drypoint, Sheet size: 12 ? x 9 7/8 inches, Plate size: 9 3/8 x 6 3/8 inches)
(above: Elizabeth Catlett, b. 1915, Fluted Head, 1991, Patinated bronze, 12 1/2 x 9 x 9 inches)
To view additional images from the exhibition, please click here.
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For biographical information on artists referenced in this article please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists
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