Georgia O'Keeffe Museum
Santa Fe, NM
Arthur Wesley Dow and American Arts & Crafts
The exhibition Arthur Wesley Dow and American Arts & Crafts will travel to Santa Fe, where it will be presented jointly at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts. The exhibition opens on March 10, 2000 and will run until June 18, 2000.
The show is the first to examine the far-reaching effects of Arthur Wesley Dow's influence as both an innovative artist and one of America's great art educators. It is also the first time the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts have collaborated in mounting an exhibition.
Two-dimensional works will be shown primarily at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, with the three-dimensional works at the Museum of Fine Arts.
"We are extremely pleased to collaborate with the Museum of Fine Arts in presenting this exhibition," said George G. King, director of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. He added that this is the first of what he hopes will be many such collaborations.
Organized by The American Federation of Arts (AFA), and curated by Nancy Green, chief curator of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, the exhibition includes eleven prints and four photographs by Dow and more than 110 works in a variety of mediums by his students and colleagues.
Dow's influence extended to some of the leading painters, printmakers, photographers, ceramicists and furniture-makers of the first half of the century. Those represented in the exhibition include painters Georgia O'Keeffe and Max Weber; printmaker Pedro de Lemos; photographers Alvin Langdon Coburn and Gertrude Käsebier; ceramicist Adelaide Alsop Robineau; Newcomb and Overbeck potteries; and the Byrdcliffe Colony, Woodstock, New York.
Throughout his lifetime, Dow developed a personal style that assimilatedthe influences of Japonisme, synthesism, and Impressionism. His work is distinctive in its simplification of colorful forms that read as flat shapes on the two-dimensional surface. The exhibition demonstrates the development of this style, and how it influenced the work of others.
In 1899 Dow wrote "Composition: A Series of Exercises in Art Structure for the Use of Students and Teachers." The manual, a 1913 edition of which is included in the exhibition, was widely read and changed the way art was taught over the next five decades -- from grade school to college level. Dow's ideas are widely recognized as having laid the stylistic foundation for the American Arts & Crafts movement.
During a 30-year teaching career at such institutions as Teachers College,Columbia University, The Art Students League, the Pratt Institute, and his own Ipswich Summer School of Art, Dow stressed, as he wrote in the preface to Composition, that the "study of composition of Line, Mass and Color leads to appreciation of all forms of art and the beauty of nature." His aim, to create beautiful, finely crafted objects for both practical use and aesthetic contemplation, resonates in each work on view.
The show began its national tour at the new Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, and was on view at the Terra Museum of American Art , Chicago. It will complete its tour at the Blanden Memorial Art Museumin Fort Dodge, Iowa.
The exhibition is organized by the American Federation of Arts. Support for the exhibition has been provided by the National Patrons of the AFA. It is a project of ART ACCESS II, a program of the AFA with major support from the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund. The show's presentation in Santa Fe is also funded in part by the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission, the 1% Lodgers' Tax and the Museum of New Mexico Foundation.
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For further biographical information on selected artists cited in this article please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.
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