The Art Students League of New York: Highlights from the Permanent Collection and Selections from the Hillstrom Museum of Art Collection

September 10 through November 4, 2007



 

Wall label text for Selections from the Hillstrom Museum of Art Collection


 
Gifford Beal (1879-1956)
Fifth Avenue Bus #2, 1947
Oil on wood panel
Gift of Reverend Richard L. Hillstrom
 
Beal was thirteen years old when he began studying art with William Merritt Chase (1849-1916), both in New York and at Chase's summer school at Shinnecock, on eastern Long Island. Chase was to remain a primary artistic influence for Beal, and his oil Fish Still Life is on view in the exhibit The Art Students League of New York: Highlights from the Permanent Collection. Beal also studied at the Art Students League, and later served three different terms as its President, for a total of fourteen years. At the League, he studied with Frank Vincent DuMond (1865-1951), whose oil Trout Stream and whose graphite and charcoal Academic Study of a Male Nude are both in the Art Students League exhibit, as is Beal's own large oil titled Net Wagon of 1926. Beal was known for his genre scenes, including images based on his native New York City, such as this depiction of passengers on a bus.
 
 
 
John F. Carlson (1874-1945)
Thawing Snow, c.1930-35
Oil on canvas, mounted on wood panel
Gift of Reverend Richard L. Hillstrom
 
Carlson was born in Kolsebro, in a remote part of Sweden, and came to America with his family while still young. His earliest training was at the Art Students League, where he studied from 1902 to 1906, primarily under Frank Vincent DuMond (1865-1951), whose oil Trout Stream and graphite and charcoal Academic Study of a Male Nude are on view in the exhibit The Art Students League of New York: Highlights from the Permanent Collection. It was Carlson who suggested Woodstock, New York, as a new site for the League's summer program, and he assisted in directing the program from 1909 until he himself became Director in 1911, a position he held until 1918. He founded his own school in Woodstock in 1923, which operated until 1938 and which was very influential on American landscape painting, the genre for which Carlson is most known. Carlson's 1906 oil The Pink Kimono, painted while he was still a student at the League, is also on view in the Art Students League exhibit.
 
 
 
Kerr Eby (1889-1946)
The Last Supper, c.1937
Etching on paper
Gift of Dr. David and Kathryn Gilbertson
 
 
 
Kerr Eby (1889-1946)
Rough Going, 1919
Drypoint on paper, 8 3/8 x 11 7/8 inches
Gift of Dr. David and Kathryn Gilbertson
 
Eby was born in Tokyo to Canadian missionary parents who brought their family back home a few years after his birth. Eby left Canada for New York City in 1907 and studied art at the Pratt Institute and later at the Art Students League. He spent several summers, from 1913 to 1917, at the artist colony in Cos Cob, Connecticut. His specialty was draftsmanship, including not only drawing but also etching and lithography, and he was recognized as a master printmaker. During World War I, Eby served as a painter of camouflage, and he also, on his own, made drawings of scenes witnessed on the battlefield. In 1936, concerned about the unstable world situation that would soon lead to World War II, Eby published his book War, which illustrated 28 images based on his experience in the First World War and which included an essay outlining his abhorrence of war and his opinion of its futility and barbarity. This print and Eby's etching titled The Last Supper, on view to the right, are part of the War series, as is the Museum's lithograph Where Are We Going? (not on view).
 
 
 
Robert Henri (1865-1929)
Figure in Costume, no date
Oil on paper
Gift of Reverend Richard L. Hillstrom
 
Henri enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia in 1886, and he also studied at the Académie Julian in Paris, in 1888. He taught at the New York School of Art, which William Merritt Chase (1849-1916) had founded after leaving the Art Students League in 1896, when Chase decided the League had become too conservative (Chase's 1908 oil Fish Still Life is on view in the exhibit The Art Students League of New York: Highlights from the Permanent Collection). Henri worked at Chase's school from 1900 until 1908, although friction between the two men led to Chase abandoning the school and returning to the League in 1907. In 1908, Henri and the other members of "The Eight," all of whom looked to him as a leader, held their famous exhibition at Macbeth Gallery in New York. This marked the beginning of the "Ashcan School" approach, which eschewed romantic art for an urban realism that embraced the modern life of the city. Henri was enormously influential as a teacher, including during his tenure at the Art Students League, from 1915 to 1928.
 
 
 
Leon Kroll (1884-1974)
Central Park, New York, 1937
Oil on masonite panel
Gift of Reverend Richard L. Hillstrom, given in memory of Martin and Alma Hillstrom
 
Kroll studied at the Art Students League in 1901, where his first teacher was the American Impressionist painter John H. Twachtman (1853-1902). He won a scholarship from the National Academy of Design to study in Paris, where he lived from about 1908 to 1909. There he studied with Jean-Paul Laurens (1838-1921) at the Académie Julian. When Kroll returned to New York City in 1910, he had critical and popular success, and became associated with artists such as Robert Henri (1865-1929; Henri's oil Figure in a Costume is also on view in this exhibition) and, especially, his good friend George Bellows (1882-1925; Bellows' 1918 lithograph The Murder of Edith Cavell is on view in the exhibit The Art Students League of New York: Highlights from the Permanent Collection). Kroll was also a friend of artist Esther Williams (1907-1969), whose oil Mozartiana of c.1940 is the subject of the FOCUS IN/ON study in this exhibit, and, like Williams, Kroll was represented by Kraushaar Galleries. This painting is a recent donation from Reverend Richard L. Hillstrom, who gave it to the Museum in 2006.
 
 
 
Ernest Lawson (1873-1939)
Young Willows, c.1912
Oil on cardboard
Gift of Reverend Richard L. Hillstrom
 
Lawson studied at the Art Students League beginning in 1891, under Julian Alden Weir (1852-1919; Weir's The Statue of Liberty of 1893 is also on view in this exhibit), and he also studied briefly at the Académie Julian in Paris, where he resided from 1893 to 1898. While in Paris, he lived with the author W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965), who based the character Frederick Lawson from his 1915 classic Of Human Bondage on the painter. Lawson was a member of "The Eight," although his subjects tended less towards the urban scenes usually favored by that group and more towards landscapes, especially impressionist ones influenced by French painting he had seen abroad. Lawson was known for his superb ability with color, which led one contemporary critic to aptly describe his approach as painting with a "palette of crushed jewels."
 
 
 
John Marin (1870-1953)
Stonington Harbor, Deer Isle, Maine, 1923
Watercolor on paper
Gift of Reverend Richard L. Hillstrom
 
Marin began studying art when he was 28 years old, having previously worked as an architect. He was enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia from 1899 to 1901, and at the Art Students League from 1902 to 1903. At the League, he studied with Frank Vincent DuMond (1865-1951), whose oil Trout Stream and graphite and charcoal Academic Study of a Male Nude are on view in the exhibit The Art Students League of New York: Highlights from the Permanent Collection. Marin spent several years traveling abroad, gaining exposure to the most modern, avant-garde art in the continent, and he later became a pioneer of American modernism and was part of the circle of such artists championed by art dealer and photographer Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) in his 291 Gallery in New York. This circle also included Stieglitz' wife, artist Georgia O'Keefe (1887-1986), whose 1908 oil of a Dead Rabbit with a Copper Pot is also on view in the Arts Students League exhibition. Marin is known for his vibrant, abstracted style, in works that often depicted New York City, or the coast of Maine that he frequented.
 
 
 
Reginald Marsh (1898-1954)
Manhattan Towers, 1932
Watercolor over graphite on paper
Gift of Reverend Richard L. Hillstrom
 
Marsh was the son of two artists, Fred Dana Marsh (1872-1961) and Alice Randall Marsh (1869-1929), and his early work was as a cartoonist for the Record magazine at Yale University, where he studied art and from which he graduated in 1920. He then began doing paintings of street life in New York while continuing his work as a cartoonist. Marsh joined the staff of The New Yorker magazine, contributing regularly between 1925 and 1931. In 1927 to 1928, he studied at the Art Students League in New York where his principal instructor was Kenneth Hayes Miller (1876-1952), whose 1937 oil Women in the Store is on view in the exhibit The Art Students League of New York: Highlights from the Permanent Collection. Like his friend Miller, Marsh was an influential instructor at the League, teaching there from 1942 to 1954. His typical subjects were the burlesque shows of New York City, destitute men and women in the depression-hit Bowery, the train stations and general topography of the city, and working-class sunbathers at Coney Island. An example of the latter, his Afternoon, Coney Island, 1947 in ink, gouache and watercolor, is included in the Art Students League exhibit.
 
 
 
Henry Schnakenberg (1892-1970)
Dominoes, 1956
Oil on canvas
Gift of Reverend Richard L. Hillstrom
 
Schnakenberg had worked in insurance before seeing the famous "Armory Show" of 1913 that introduced European modernism in art to America, and this led him to becoming an artist. He studied at the Art Students League with Kenneth Hayes Miller (1876-1952), a highly influential instructor at the League (Miller's 1937 oil of Women in the Store is on view in the exhibit The Art Students League of New York: Highlights from the Permanent Collection), and from 1923 to 1925, Schnakenberg taught at the League. He also served as League President from 1932 to 1933. He was represented by the Kraushaar Galleries of New York, and wrote art criticism for The Arts magazine. In his landscapes, portraits and still lifes, Schnakenberg aimed to create solid, realistic images that were both formally satisfying and associative in their meaning.
 
 
 
Everett Shinn (1876-1953)
Magician with Shears, c.1915
Oil on canvas
Gift of Reverend Richard L. Hillstrom
 
Shinn's first formal art training was at Philadelphia's Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where he met several of the artists who, like him, would later be members of "The Eight," including Robert Henri (1865-1929; his oil of a Figure in Costume is also on view in this exhibition). Shinn showed with the group in their 1908 debut exhibition at Macbeth Gallery in New York. He had traveled to Paris in 1901, and came under the influence by French artists such as Édouard Manet (1832-1883), Edgar Degas (1834-1917), and Jean-Louis Forain (1852-1931), which encouraged his interest in the depiction of theatrical subjects. His works were thus distinct from those of more characteristic members of "The Eight," who tended to depict middle and lower class people in their day-to-day activities or the places where such people lived. Shinn taught at the Art Students League from 1906 to 1907, and later virtually quit art to work as an artistic designer for film and theatre and as a playwright. Author Theodore Dreiser (1871-1945) based the character of Eugene Witla from his 1915 novel The Genius partly on Shinn.
 
 
 
Julian Alden Weir (1852-1919)
The Statue of Liberty, 1893
Etching on paper
Hillstrom Museum of Art Purchase
 
Weir first studied art with his father, painter Robert Walter Weir (1803-1889), then studied at the National Academy of Design in New York. He also spent time, from 1873 to 1877, studying in Paris, including in the studio of Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904). When he returned to the United States, Weir became a leading artist and a member of the group of New York and Boston artists known as "The Ten," all of whom had studied abroad and were interested in Impressionism. That group exhibited together for two decades starting in 1898. Weir was hired as an instructor at the Art Students League in the early 1880s, and he taught at the Cooper Union, also in New York. In addition to his painting, he began etching in the 1880s, eventually producing over 140 prints. His approach in this medium is typically sketchy and suggestive, and he often depicted landscapes and cityscapes, sometimes with figures in them.
 
 
 
Esther Williams (1907-1969)
Mozartiana, c.1940
Oil on canvas
Gift of Reverend Richard L. Hillstrom
 
FOCUS IN/ON is a program of the Hillstrom Museum of Art in which the expertise of College community members across the curriculum is engaged for a collaborative, detailed consideration of particular artworks from the Hillstrom Collection. The extended didactic text for Williams' painting, which is also reproduced in the Selections from the Hillstrom Museum of Art Collection exhibition brochure, was written in collaboration with David Fienen, who serves as Edgar F. and Ethel Johnson Professor of Fine Arts, Organist and Cantor at Christ Chapel, and Chairperson of the Department of Music. The Hillstrom Museum of Art would like to thank Dr. Fienen for his efforts and his enthusiasm for this project.
 
 
 
Grant Wood (1892-1942)
February, 1941
Lithograph on paper
Gift of Dr. David and Kathryn Gilbertson
 
Wood studied art at the Minneapolis School of Design and Handicraft in 1910 and 1911, and also, during the years 1912 to 1916, at the University of Iowa in Iowa City and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His experiences during his travels abroad in the 1920s included studies in 1923 at the Académie Julian in Paris. Wood's philosophy of art once he returned to the United States from Europe strongly favored the rural over the urban, an attitude that informs Regionalism, the art movement with which he is closely identified. Such an attitude would tend to preclude Wood spending much time in metropolitan areas, and he never attended the Art Students League, although his fellow Regionalists John Steuart Curry (1897-1946) and Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975) served as instructors there.
 
February is one of nineteen lithographs Wood made in his relatively short career, and he spent a great deal of time during the last years of his life working on them. The Hillstrom Museum of Art has set a goal of acquiring examples of all these prints by the artist. With the donation of this litho, the Museum now holds nine. Five additional prints have been promised to the Museum from the donors of February, Dr. David and Kathryn Gilbertson. Any person interested in joining this effort and assisting in acquiring the remaining five are asked to contact the Museum.


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