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American Art at Dartmouth: Highlights from the Hood Museum of Art

June 9 - December 9, 2007

 

The Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College presents American Art at Dartmouth: Highlights from the Hood Museum of Art. On view now through December 9, 2007, this exhibition of more than 160 works presents the most comprehensive overview of Dartmouth's American art collections to date and features an extraordinary display of paintings, sculpture, silver, furniture, and other decorative arts. American Art at Dartmouth and its related publication illuminate aspects of the development of art traditions in this country from the early eighteenth century until 1950 while also telling the story of how and why these objects found their way to this northern New England college. This project is the first in a planned series of exhibitions and catalogues to celebrate major areas of the Hood's collections.

American works dating from roughly 1900 to 1950 can be seen on the first floor in the museum's Israel Sack Gallery, while second-floor galleries focus on works from the eighteenth century through 1900. Text panels highlight distinctive characteristics of the collection, including some of its primary modes of acquisition and its particular connections to Dartmouth and the region, as well as spotlights on such Dartmouth luminaries as statesman and orator Daniel Webster, Class of 1801, and Boston man of letters George Ticknor, Class of 1807. Highlights from this exhibition include works by Paul Revere, John Singleton Copley, Winslow Homer, Frederic Remington, Willard Metcalf, John Sloan, Augusta Savage, Paul Sample, Maxfield Parrish, Georgia O'Keeffe, and a newly acquired early work by Jackson Pollock. Beginning September 22, a companion exhibition featuring more than fifty selections from the museum's collections of American watercolors, drawings, prints, and photographs through 1950 will also be on view.

The Hood's American collections began with a gift in 1773 of a Boston-made silver bowl from Royal Governor John Wentworth to Dartmouth's founder, Eleazar Wheelock, in honor of the College's first commencement. The collections have grown dramatically since that first gift, particularly with the opening of the Hood Museum of Art in 1985.

Many of the highlights of the collections reflect the museum's associations with Dartmouth and its location in northern New England. The painting collection is strong in portraits and in New England landscapes, particularly views of New Hampshire's White Mountains. It also includes important examples of nineteenth-century genre paintings and early-twentieth-century impressionism, social realism, and modernism. Sculpture highlights include works by Harriet Hosmer, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Augusta Savage, Paul Manship, and unidentified makers of folk sculpture. In the decorative arts, the exhibition showcases an outstanding representation of colonial Massachusetts silver and smaller holdings of American pewter, glass, and textiles. Other features include Boston neoclassical furniture as well as Shaker furniture from Enfield, New Hampshire. Two exceptional examples of Grueby pottery represent a high point of New England ceramics in the Arts and Crafts style.

"It is a welcome pleasure to be able to share so much of our collections with visitors at one time and to be able showcase their many strengths," notes Barbara J. MacAdam, Jonathan L. Cohen Curator of American Art. "Owing primarily to the generosity of Dartmouth alumni and friends, we are fortunate to have a wealth of fine and diverse works that provide invaluable insight into the artistic and cultural history of the United States. The exhibition highlights the interdisciplinary value of using original works of art in a university curriculum. Hopefully American Art at Dartmouth will also encourage the viewer to think about how the College's American collections have grown and evolved alongside Dartmouth, and how other museums' collections reflect the distinct histories of their institutions, patrons, and regions."

A reading resource area offers additional information about related topics. The reading area features furniture made from Frank Lloyd Wright designs by Copeland Furniture in Bradford, Vermont.

American Art at Dartmouth was organized by the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, and generously funded by the Bernard R. Siskind 1955 Fund, the Hansen Family Fund, and the Leon C. 1927, Charles L. 1955, and Andrew J. 1984 Greenebaum Fund, and a generous gift from Jonathan L. Cohen, Class of 1960, Tuck 1961.

 

Companion exhibition: American Works on Paper to 1950: Highlights from the Hood Museum of Art

Beginning September 22, 2007 the Hood Museum of Art will present more than fifty American drawings, watercolors, prints, and photographs from its collections in an exhibition entitled American Works on Paper to 1950: Highlights from the Hood Museum of Art. This presentation complements the larger exhibition of American paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts, American Art at Dartmouth: Highlights from the Hood Museum of Art, that has been on view since June 9, 2007. American Works on Paper showcases the museum's rich holdings of drawings, watercolors, prints, and photographs by such diverse artists as John James Audubon, Southworth and Hawes, William Trost Richards, James McNeill Whistler, Mary Cassatt, Lewis Hine, Childe Hassam, Stuart Davis, Edward Hopper, James Van Der Zee, Dorothea Lange, Grant Wood, and Jackson Pollock. Together, these exhibitions offer the largest survey of Dartmouth's American holdings to date while considering how and why these objects found their way to Hanover and how the American collections have developed further since the opening of the Hood in 1985.

Works on paper constitute a large proportion of the Hood's American collections and are among the most frequently used works for teaching. Dartmouth College has actively collected prints, drawings, and watercolors since the early twentieth century. Such evidence of Dartmouth's deepening commitment to the visual arts encouraged further donations, including the extraordinary 1935 gift from Abby Aldrich (Mrs. John Jr.) Rockefeller that included more than seventy-five American watercolors and drawings. The Hood's impressive holdings in these media, strengthened by recent acquisitions, provided the subject for the museum's 2005 traveling exhibition and catalogue Marks of Distinction: Two Hundred Years of American Drawings and Watercolors from the Hood Museum of Art.

Although it wasn't until the 1970s that Dartmouth began collecting photography in a deliberate and concerted manner, such photographs as a Southworth and Hawes daguerreotype of Daniel Webster found their way to Dartmouth as early as the mid-nineteenth century. Thanks to continuing gifts and the availability of acquisitions funds established since the Hood's opening, the photography collections have grown rapidly in recent decades.

As is the case with its companion exhibition of American paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts, American Works of Art on Paper to 1950 can only hint at the quality, diversity, and breadth of the Hood collections.

 

Publication

In conjunction with the American art exhibitions, the museum has produced a 256-page book on the American collections-the first in a series of publications that the Hood will issue over the next several years devoted to aspects of the museum's greatest asset, its permanent collections. Copublished with the University Press of New England, this fully illustrated book features individual entries for more than two hundred works from the American collections dating from around 1705 to 1950, many of which have never before been published. An introductory essay by Barbara J. MacAdam, Jonathan L. Cohen Curator of American Art, surveys the formation of the collection and its changing focus and function over the course of Dartmouth's long history.

rev. 8/23/07

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