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Full View: American Painting and Sculpture (1720-2005)

January 11 - April 10, 2005


The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, home to America's artists, celebrates its 200th Anniversary in 2005 with a yearlong series of exhibitions, events, family activities and more. Opening the year of major exhibitions is In Full View: American Painting and Sculpture (1720-2005), January 11 through April 10, 2005.

The most extensive exhibition of the Academy's collection ever presented, In Full View takes the viewer on a journey through the history of American art. Set in new contemporary spaces of the Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building and in the High Victorian Gothic architecture of the historic landmark building, In Full View includes painting and sculpture from every era of American art from its birth in the 18th century to today.

The Pennsylvania Academy -- established by artist Charles Willson Peale and now opening the new Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building that more than doubles the Academy's gallery space -- is the oldest institution for fine art education and exhibition in the nation. In Full View reveals the Academy's pivotal role in fine arts exhibition and education. Nearly every major American artist has studied, taught or exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy. With the founding of the Academy at Independence Hall in 1805, fine arts became an integral part of American culture and a defining aspect of the city of Philadelphia.

The ornate historic landmark building, designed by Frank Furness and George Hewitt, reveals a chronological display of American paintings from 1720 to 1945. Included are iconic works such as co-founder Charles Willson Peale's The Artist in His Museum (1822), Jasper Cropsey's Mount Washington from Lake Sebago, Maine (1867) and Winslow Homer's Fox Hunt (1893). Work by many artists who studied or taught at the Academy is represented in the exhibition. Among them are graduate Henry O. Tanner's Nicodemus (1899), alumna Cecilia Beaux's New England Woman (1895), instructor Thomas Eakins' The Cello Player (1896), alumnus Maxfield Parrish's Princess Parizade Bringing Home the Singing Tree (1906) and graduate William Glackens' The Soda Fountain (1935).

Several works in the exhibition depict key events in American history, such as David Martin's famous portrait Benjamin Franklin (1767), Benjamin West's Penn's Treaty with the Indians (1771-72), Charles Willson Peale's George Washington at Princeton (1779), Xanthus Smith's Final Assault Upon Fort Fisher, North Carolina (1872-73) and Horace Pippin's John Brown Going to His Hanging (1942).

The Vivian O. and Meyer P. Potamkin Gallery includes 10 masterpieces given to the Academy by the Potamkin family. The collection includes works by Georgia O'Keeffe, Frederick Childe Hassam, Mary Cassatt, Maurice Prendergast and others. Two works from the collection-Marsden Hartley's Flower Abstraction (1914) and Arthur Dove's Naples Yellow Morning (1935)- were included in the list "100 Top Treasures" of 2003 selected by Art & Antiques Magazine.

Sculptures as well as post-1945 paintings are arranged in the contemporary spaces of the new Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building--opening to the public on Jan. 11, 2005. Included in the second-floor Sculpture Gallery overlooking the Avenue of the Arts are Isamu Noguchi's Girl Torso (1958), Alexander Calder's Route Barree (1962) and David Smith's V.B. XXII (1963). Works by Richmond Barthe, Nancy Frank, Nancy Graves, Louise Nevelson also are featured.

Among modern and contemporary paintings are Leon Golub's Seated Boxer II (1960), Mark Rothko's Untitled (Maroon Over Red) (1968), Red Grooms' A Room in Connecticut (1984), Betye Saar's Blackbird (2002) and Pantocrator (2002) by Vincent Desiderio, Academy faculty member and Alumni Association president. (right: Red Grooms (1937 - ), A Room in Connecticut, 1984, oil on canvas and acrylic on Plexiglass with aluminum frame, 72 x 96 inches (182.9 x 243.8 cm.). Pennsylvania Academy Purchase through the John Lambert Fund 1985.4)

The Hamilton Building also houses a Sculpture Study Center, the first resource of its kind in Philadelphia. The Center will provide an opportunity for art students to observe and draw from scores of original sculptures in the Academy's collections.  Situated on the second floor of the Hamilton Building, the Sculpture Study Center includes glass display cases, drawing area and study space. Pairing the Sculpture Study Center and adjacent Sculpture Gallery, the Academy offers an impressive location for sculptors to study a wide variety of original American sculpture.

Complementing the exhibition is the Academy's principal 200th Anniversary publication, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts: 200 Years of Excellence, 1805-2005. The illustrated book explores the Academy's rich history, catalogs 225 important works in the permanent collection and details the two campus buildings. Among other 200th Anniversary publications is the catalog American Originals: The Vivian O. and Meyer P. Potamkin Collection released November17, 2004.

In Full View is accompanied by the exhibition The Chemistry of Color: The Harold A. and Ann R. Sorgenti Collection of Contemporary African American Art (also January 11 - April 10), the first comprehensive exhibition of the collection that was given to the Academy by the Sorgenti family in 1999. The Chemistry of Color features works by Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Faith Ringgold, Sam Gilliam and others representing turning points in the development of African American art. The collection is shown in the second-floor galleries of the Hamilton Building and is accompanied by an illustrated full-color catalog.

A symposium titled Arthur B. Carles and the Philadelphia Tradition of Color will present a balance of views of art historians, accounts of Carles as an art world presence and insights of contemporary artists on March 12, 2005.

During the run of In Full View, the Academy will host an additional exhibition, Point of Sight: Thomas Eakins' Drawing Manual Reconstructed (February 26 - April 3), providing an in-depth look at the meticulous drawing methods and teaching philosophy of the renowned American realist and Academy instructor. A contemporary installation by Eamon Ore-Giron (March 5 - May 15) in the Academy's Morris Gallery blends contemporary graphic design, folk and tourist art, and surrealism.

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