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Through American Eyes: Two Centuries of American Art from the Huntington Museum of Art

February 13 - April 10, 2005


(above Yvonne Jacquette (b. 1934), Motion Picture (Times Square), 1989-1990, lithograph and screenprint in twelve colors, edition 17/60. Gift of the Fitzpatrick Society, Huntington Museum of Art) 



The Muskegon Museum of Art will present Through American Eyes: Two Centuries of American Art from the Huntington Museum of Art February 13 through January 2, 2005.  The public is invited to attend an opening reception for the exhibition on February 13, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. 

Through American Eyes is an exhibition of American treasures from the collection of the Huntington Museum of Art.  The works in the exhibition display a variety styles that represent the last two centuries of American art, and offers the opportunity to compare how artists from different backgrounds and time periods portray their world. The works range from pieces created by academic painters and sculptors to works by self-taught artists, pioneers in the studio glass movement, and 20th century American printmakers.  The works presented date from the late 18th century up through the end of the twentieth century, and mirror the strong collections of glass, painting, sculpture, folk art, and firearms that make up the collection of the Huntington Museum of Art. (right: Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997), Red Barn, 1969, color screenprint, edition 132/250. Gift of Malcolm Goldstein, Huntington Museum of Art) 

Featured works include early 19th century examples of portraiture such as: Gilbert Stuart's, Bishop Butson, and Samuel F.B. Morse's Portrait of Susan. Included are works by American masters such as George Inness, Ralph Blakelock, John Twachtman, John Singer Sargent, Frank Benson, J. Alden Weir, Maurice Prendergast, William Glackens; mid-to-late 20th century examples by Franz Kline and Robert Motherwell; and bronzes by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Harriet Whitney Frishmuth, and Frederic William Macmonnies.  Additionally, prints by Edward Hopper, John Steuart Curry, Andy Warhol, Helen Frankenthaler, Jim Dine, and Willie Cole round out the collection.  Commercial glass highlights by Louis Comfort Tiffany, Hobbs, Brockunier and Company, and Sinclair; early works by pioneers of the studio glass movement, including Harvey Littleton, Joel Philip Myers, Dale Chihuly, and Toots Zynsky are inclusions.  Works by Appalachian self-taught artists including Charlie Kinney and Shields Landon Jones will be seen alongside traditional folk examples, a mid-19th century quilt, and a carved powder horn by unknowns exemplify the diversity of the exhibit.  

A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition, and includes introductory essays by David Dearinger and George Woodman. Entries for individual objects, written by staff of the Huntington Museum of Art, highlight the collection.  Through American Eyes: Two Centuries of American Art from the Huntington Museum of Art and its catalogue are funded, in part, by a generous grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, Inc., and were originally organized to help the Museum celebrate its 50th anniversary. (right: Robert Longo (b. 1953), Cindy, 1984, lithograph, edition 34/38. Gift of Mrs. Virginia Van Zandt in memory of Richard Van Zandt, Huntington Museum of Art) 

The showing of the Muskegon exhibition is part of a one and a half year, eight-city national tour and contains approximately 75 art works.  The exhibition was organized by the Huntington Museum of Art and was developed and managed by Smith Kramer Fine Art Services, an exhibition tour development company in Kansas City, Missouri.


(above: Gari Melchers (1860-1932), Young Alsatian Woman, no date, oil on canvas. Gift of Ruth Woods Dayton, Huntington Museum of Art)



(above: Oscar Gieberich (1886-), Landscape with Flowers, 1943, oil on canvas, Gift of Beulah Conrad, Provincetown Art Association and Museum)


Also on exhibit through January 2, 2005 is A Community of Artists: The Collection of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum.

The Twentieth Century saw the center of the visual art world move from Europe to New York.  Along the route of that migration the isolated fishing village of Provincetown, precariously perched 40 miles out to sea in the Atlantic Ocean, provided and still provides a place for artists to experiment, to communicate with each other, and to refresh themselves in the clear light and spare natural landscape.(right: Charles Hawthorne (1872-1930), Girl Sewing I, c. 1923, oil on board, Provincetown Art Association and Museum)

The arrival of the railroad in 1873 made Provincetown accessible to both tourists and artists.  Attracted by the incredible light and colorful surroundings, painters could stay in inexpensive boarding houses and rent studios for $50 per year.  The Provincetown art colony came into being when Charles Webster Hawthorne opened his Cape Cod School of Art in the summer of 1899.  By 1915, as many as 90 students were enrolled to learn his style of impressionist painting, en plein air.  On August 27, 1916 a Boston Globe headline read "Biggest Art Colony in the World at Provincetown."  More than 300 artists and students were in town (25 year-round) and six schools of art were in operation.  Expatriate artists who had been studying and working in France returned, fleeing the war.

The Provincetown Painting Classes, begun by Ross Moffett and Heinrich Pfeiffer in the '20s, were modernist in approach, coming after the Armory Show of 1913, which had introduced Modernism to the American public and made apparent growing rifts in the art world.  By 1925, Moffett, Karl Knaths and other artists were fighting conservatism within the art community and, beginning in 1927, the Art Association held a separate modernist show each year.

Since Charles Hawthorne's arrival in 1899, the Provincetown art colony has played a significant role in the history of American art-often in the forefront.  A microcosm of the larger art world, Provincetown has both welcomed and resisted new art movements.  Today, as often in the past, there is not one dominant teacher or school or style of art.  In Provincetown, as elsewhere, pluralism is the mode.  At the beginning of a new century, both established and emerging artists feel free to seek their own form of expression.  From Charles Hawthorne and Blanche Lazzell, to Hans Hofmann and the first and second generation Abstract Expressionists, to today's Paul Resika, Jack Pierson, Paul Bowen, and Jim Peters, artists have found Outer Cape Cod a haven and a place of regeneration.  The Collection of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum began in 1915 and continues today to represent the best of the area's artists, and a record of the art movements of the last century. (right: Franz Kline (1910-1962), Sketch for Portrait of Sue Orr, 1950, oil on paper, mounted, Gift of the Orr Family in memory of Elizabeth Kline, Provincetown Art Association and Museum)

This exhibition was organized by the Provincetown Art Association and Museum in Provincetown, Massachusetts and is part of a ten city national tour over a two and a half year period, developed and managed by Smith Kramer Fine Art Services, an exhibition tour development company in Kansas City, Missouri.

Also on exhibit December 12, 2004 through February 13, 2005 is Everyday Mysteries: Paintings by Mel Rosas. An opening reception for the exhibition will be held Sunday, December 12, 2:00-4:00 p.m. Rosas will give a talk at 2:00, which will be followed by the reception. (right: Mel Rosas, La Confrontacion, oil on panel, 1994, Courtesy of the Maxwell Davidson Gallery, NYC)

Mel Rosas lives and works in Detroit. He has shown in many group exhibitions and is represented in many private and corporate collections. His work draws upon surrealism, but can also be connected with contemporary trends such as the fantasy and surrealist based magic realism. Rosas' paintings reflect a sense of disquiet and offer a contemporary interpretation of American culture.

According to the Maxwell Davidson Gallery, New York, NY, "Mel Rosas is a painter whose work reflects the dichotomy of his childhood. He is the product of a Midwestern upbringing but was always influenced by his father's reminiscences of the Panamanian jungles and the occult. His paintings combine mystery and expectation with everyday symbols and occurrences to leave the viewer just slightly on edge. Says Rosas, "There has always been a quality of detachment, loneliness, moodiness and mystery in the workso that when you look at the work you can't fully relax". The surfaces of Mel Rosas' paintings are exquisitely rendered. The pigment is carefully built up and structural elements stand out from the picture." (left: Mel Rosas, La Palma, oil panel, 2003, Courtesy of the Maxwell Davidson Gallery, NYC)

Images Copyright: Maxwell Davidson Gallery, New York, NY.


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