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Daniel Garber: Romantic Realist

January 26 - May 6, 2007


The James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia present Daniel Garber: Romantic Realist January 26 to May 6, 2007. An unprecedented collaboration between these two institutions, the exhibition is on view in Doylestown at the Michener, January 27 through May 6, 2007. In Philadelphia at the Academy, the exhibition runs January 26 and will be on view through April 8, 2007. The exhibition is split chronologically, with the works at the Academy examining the period of Garber's oeuvre between 1901 and 1929, and 1930 through 1955 at the Michener Art Museum.  (right: Daniel Garber (1880-1958), Geddes Run, 1930, Oil on canvas, 52 x 56 inches. Collection of Thomas and Karen Buckley) 

Reemerging as one of the finest painters of the early 20th century, Garber (American, 1880-1958), known for expressive works of the Pennsylvania countryside and his family at leisure, has not received a retrospective of his work since 1945 at the Pennsylvania Academy. Daniel Garber: Romantic Realist includes over 150 of the artist's finest paintings and works on paper drawn from the collections of both institutions as well as a number of private loans from America and abroad. The exhibition illustrates Garber's leading role in creating the Pennsylvania Impressionist movement, which artist and critic Guy Pène du Bois called America's "first truly national expression." Daniel Garber: Romantic Realist is curated by Dr. Lance Humphries, author of the Garber catalog raisonné, and organized by Lynn Marsden-Atlass, Senior Curator at the Pennsylvania Academy, and Brian H. Peterson, Senior Curator at the Michener Art Museum. Visitors can experience the work of one of the most respected American landscape artists in Philadelphia, where he taught, and in its countryside, where he lived and found inspiration.

"Daniel Garber is a distinct figure in American painting, especially in Pennsylvania where he is revered as an artist, instructor and longtime resident," says Lynn Marsden-Atlass. "At the Pennsylvania Academy, Garber left an indelible mark on the scores of students he educated in the course of his career, leaving a legacy that remains central to the Academy's educational endeavors."

Brian H. Peterson adds: "The idea of presenting this Garber exhibition as a collaborative project between the Michener Art Museum and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is a powerful symbolic gesture that honors Daniel Garber's life as a resident of Bucks County and a teacher in Philadelphia. The wide scope of the exhibit provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for visitors to see not only his famed landscapes but also his ambitious and evocative figurative work."

Born to a farming family in Indiana, Garber initially cultivated his talent at the Art Academy of Cincinnati but eventually enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy, where he was awarded a prestigious Cresson travel scholarship that allowed him to travel and study for two years in Europe.

When Garber and his wife returned to the United States, they settled permanentlyin the scenic Bucks County, Pennsylvania town of Lumberville, along the Delaware River. In 1909, Garber was invited to join the faculty of the Pennsylvania Academy, where he remained an instructor until 1950. Throughout the four decades of his tenure at the Academy, he exerted a strong influence on several generations of Academy students, upholding aesthetic values of the late nineteenth century.

Along with painter Edward Redfield, Garber became a stylistic leader of the group now referred to as the Pennsylvania Impressionists. However, while his Bucks County compatriots were known for swift en plein air painting, Garber was much more methodical, repeatedly returning to the same scenes both outdoors and within his studio. As he stated, "People talk about impulse, about impressions, but that isn't personal with me It is the study of a subject that appeals to me rather than any quick notebook impression of it."

During the first two decades of the 20th century, Garber became noted for a series of paintings of local quarries that transformed landscapes disfigured by industry into serene and glowing scenes. He also painted dreamlike spring landscapes depicting blossoming trees in dazzling tonalities, as well as a number of quiet domestic figure paintings of family members. By 1920, heavier stitchlike textures and large two-dimensional patterns began to emerge in Garber's landscapes, and in 1928, artist and critic Henry C. Pitz proclaimed that Garber's work represented "American landscape at its best."

Ticketing for this exhibition will be handled jointly at both institutions and allow visitors entry to both sites ($18.00 joint museum ticket; $12.00 individual museum ticket). The exhibition will be complemented by an engaging series of lectures, family programs and gallery tours.

rev. 11/2/06

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