Tennessee Botanical Garden and Museum of Art

Nashville, TN




Pride in Place: Landscapes by The Eight in Southern Collections

September 2 - October 15, 2000


This exhibition, the first to focus on landscapes by the group of painters known as The Eight, is comprised of 40 landscapes drawn from 17 Southern museum collections. An essay by Dr. William Gerdts, noted American art scholar, is included in the accompanying full-color catalogue. The exhibition and catalogue were organized by the Albany Museum of Art in Georgia.

Because of their subject matter, The Eight represented the first modern American revolution in painting. The painters were reacting to the sterile tradition of bland generalizations fostered by the National Academy of Design. In February of 1908, at the Macbeth Gallery in New York City, Arthur Bowen Davies, Maurice Brazil Prendergast, Ernest Lawson, William Glackens, Everett Shinn, Robert Henri, John Sloan, and George Luks mounted an independent show of their paintings. This exhibition was a milestone in the history of modern American painting because it established for the first time the artist's privileges and freedom of choice in subject matter. (left: Everett Shinn, Fire on 24th Street, Collection from Cheekwood Museum of Art)

The young painters from Philadelphia -- Sloan, Glackens, Shinn, and Luks -- who gathered around Henri were newspaper and magazine illustrators who provided on-the-spot reportorial sketches, a form not yet replaced by the new art of photography. Because of their vocations, their art emphasized drawing rather than color, and their subject matter portrayed the urban realities of life in America. Yet, some of the artists were drawn to pure nature, while all of them absorbed the relatively new categories of the urban and recreational landscape into their art.

The forty works in Pride in Place feature mountain and coastal scenes, landscapes from around the world, rural and suburban scenes, recreational and urban landscapes. According to Cheekwood curator Rusty Freeman, "Anyone whose idea of the work of The Eight is limited to gritty urban scenes will be surprised and impressed with the romantic subject matter of American landscapes and the exciting, modern use of color." (left: Ernest Lawson (American, 1873-1939), Washington Square, c. 1910, oil on canvas, Museum Purchase through the bequest of Anita Bevill McMichael Stallworth)

Please see our earlier article on this traveling exhibition: Pride in Place: Landscapes by The Eight in Southern Collections (1/16/00)

Read more about Cheekwood Museum of Art 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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