Editor's note: The Wiegand Gallery at Notre Dame de Namur University provided source material to Resource Library Magazine for the following article. If you have questions or comments regarding the source material please contact the Wiegand Gallery directly through either this phone number or web address:



 

The Society of Six: American Masters of Color

 

The Wiegand Gallery, on the campus of Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, presents The Society of Six: American Masters of Color from March 11 to April 19, 2003. (left: Selden Gile, Tiburon, 1926, 16 x 20 inches, oil on board)

This is a substantial show of Society of Six paintings with works from numerous private collections and the Oakland Museum of California. A 16-page catalog with 11 color images will accompany this exhibition.

They were once deemed "too rough and audacious for the refined Bay Area art establishment." Now the works of 'The Six' are regarded as the most advanced painting of the early 20th century in Northern California.

The Society of Six -- Selden Conner Gile, August F. Gay, Maurice Logan, Louis Siegriest, Bernard von Eichman and William H. Clapp -- were plein air painters who worked closely together in Northern California from about 1915 to 1930, and who came to be celebrated for their fresh and direct approach. (right: Selden Gile, Cows and Pasture, n.d., 11 1/2 x 15 1/2 inches, oil on canvas)

Nancy Boas writes in her essay from the catalog accompanying the exhibition, "As the canon of American art has evolved, it has become clear that the purposes and achievements of the painters of the Society of Six had to do with larger issues of modernism. It wasn't the scenery that distinguished their painting but the formal issues they addressed and the advances they made in the boldness of color and painterly ability to turn pigment into idea." Nancy Boas quotes Terry St. John, "The members sensed they were...making new art...with an exhilaration that was born from overthrowing subservient attitudes toward previously sanctified art modes. They were a part of the Bay Area art scene in the Twenties, but they had an allegiance primarily to themselves."

 

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