Museums at Stony Brook

Stony Brook, NY



Two Centuries of American Art


"Two Centuries of American Art" showcases paintings, sculptures and works on paper from the art collection of The Museums at Stony Brook. On view from August 19 through October 15, 2000, the exhibition includes many of the museum's newer acquisitions which have not been available to the public until now. (left: Nicolai Cikovsky, Inlet, 1948, oil on canvas, The Museums at Stony Brook)

The art collection was established in 1944 with William Sidney Mount's 1834 portrait of his cousin Elizabeth Mount Vail, donated by Mrs. Scott Kidder and the estate of Edith B. Douglass. Since then, the collection has grown to over 4,000 works by 19th- and 20th-century American artists. A particular strength of the collection is the representation of Long Island subjects as an enduring source for artistic inspiration.

An extensive body of works by William Sidney Mount (1807-1868), recognized as one of America's most influential painters, is a stellar facet of the collection. The late Ward and Dorothy Melville were the guiding forces in the development of the Mount collection, donating over 150 paintings by Mount family members to The Museums. Mount family paintings in the collection now include 150 by William Sidney Mount, 59 by Shepard Alonzo Mount, 60 by Evalina Mount, eight by Henry Smith Mount and three by Ruth Hawkins Mount, as well as over 400 Mount drawings. (left: William Sidney Mount, California News, 1850, oil on canvas, The Museums at Stony Brook))

The commitment of the Melvilles inspired others, who donated works by other Long Island artists, such as William Moore Davis (1829-1920) of Port Jefferson. A well-known painter in his day, Davis is widely appreciated for his marine and landscape subjects, which are included in the exhibition.

In recent decades the scope of the collection has been greatly enhanced through gifts of art dating from the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries. Especially notable are Ernest Lawson's Winter Landscape (c. 1890), donated by Mr. and Mrs. Aaron W. Godfrey; five works by Jane Peterson (1876-1965) and three paintings by Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933), received as a bequest from Miriam Godofsky; and gifts by the late Harry and Emma Williams of two rare Long Island pictures by John Evers (1808-1994). A monetary bequest by Melville A. Kitchin enabled The Museums to purchase the monumental Long Island Potato Patch, 1887, by Charles Yardley Turner (1850-1919).

Among the many donations from the Baker/Pisano Collection is Color Study Number 18 by Helen Ton (1886-1967), and Samuel B. Prellwitz donated works featuring Peconic, Long Island subjects by his artist grandparents Edith Mitchill Prellwitz (1865-1944) and Henry Prellwitz (1865-1940). Representing more contemporary interpretations are works by Arnold Hoffmann Jr. (1915-1991) and the Screen Print Workshop contributed by his widow, Jean Hoffmann, and Farm Terrain, 1987, by Mary Ellen Doyle (b. 1938) donated by Susan Conway.

To further develop aspects of the collection the museum has purchased appropriate paintings from galleries and through auction. Important Long Island pictures by Alfred Thompson Bricher (1837-1908), Frank Myers Boggs (1855-1926), Harry Roseland (1866-1950), Gaines Ruger Donoho (1875-1950), Leon Foster Jones (1871-1940), and Robert Bruce Crane (1857-1937) have been acquired in the last decade.

Several gallery talks will be held during the course of the exhibition.

Read more about the Museums at Stony Brook in Resource Library Magazine

Please click on thumbnail images bordered by a red line to see enlargements.

For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 3/18/11

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