William Benton Museum of Art

University of Connecticut

Storrs, CT



20th-Century American Realist Prints: The June and Norman Kraeft Gift

June 13 - August 15, 1999 (Closed July 3 - 5)

Harry Shokler, Cold, c. 1940, gift of June and Norman Kraeft


The William Benton Museum of Art's summer exhibition 20th-Century American Realist Prints: The June and Norman Kraeft Gift highlights the generous gift of June and Norman Kraeft which has further broadened the museum's collections of prints and drawings.

What do John Taylor Arms, Adolf Dehn, Gordon Grant, MartIn Lewis, and Joseph Pennell have in common? The one distinction they share equally and absolutely is the firm belief of June and Norman Kraeft that they and similar artists of the first half of the 20th century are a cornerstone of American art.

The Kraefts for more than two decades collected the work of these artists for themselves and through their business for others. Their overriding interest was in works on paper. The Kraefts lived, worked, and collected from their home in Connecticut, and from the 1970s to the present the Benton Museum has enjoyed an amicable and generous relationship with them. Their generosity has expressed itself in many ways over the years, but especially in their willingness to lend to the Benton exhibitions drawn from their collections.

These exhibitions have included: Prints by Armin Landeck (1977); The Graphic Art of Martin Lewis (1978); American Architectural Etchers (1981); Three American Regionalists: Benton, Curry, Wood (1983); Remembered Summers (1991); Joseph Penell(1860-1926) (1993); and George Overbury "Pop" Hart (1996). (left: John Taylor Arms, Chateau Stockalper, Brique, 1927, etching, gift of June and Norman Kraeft; right: Martin Lewis, East Side Night - Williamsburg Bridge, 1928, etching, gift of June and Norman Kraeft)

Now in the summer of 1999 The William Benton Museum of Art presents another exhibition from their collections, but one which has the most meaning for the Museum and best represents the Kraefts' commitment to the Museum and the University. This exhibition celebrates the gift by the Kraefts of 100 prints by 20th-century American realist artists to the Benton Museum. The Kraefts selected the works, and the artists they chose represent those that were particular favorite of theirs. Of the 100 works by twenty-eight artists donated, the largest proportion are the sixteen precisionist, architectural renderings of John Taylor Arms followed by the fourteen sketchier, more impressionistic scenes of Kerr Eby. Also represented by several examples are Joseph Pennell, Thomas Nason, and Stow Wengenroth. Counted among the other artists whose works are found in one or two examples are Wanda Gag, Gordon Grant, Samuel Chamberlain, Adolf Dehn, Martin Lewis, Reynold Weidenaar, and Grant Wood.

Read more about William Benton Museum of Art at University of Connecticut in Resource Library Magazine

For further biographical information on selected artists cited in this article please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 10/18/10

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