Dane G. Hansen Museum
America Seen: People and Place
September 17 through November 7, 1999
A. Douglas, Window Cleaning
An outstanding exhibit of renowned artists Grant Wood, Norman Rockwell, John Steuart Curry, Thomas Hart Benton, Charles Sheeler, Alexander Brook, Edward Hopper, Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans and Isabel Bishop can now be viewed by all. This exhibit ~ approximately 80 paintings, prints, and photographs, explores aspects of American pictorial art from the late 1920's through the early 1950's.
"America Seen: People and Place" records the social and political turmoil of the 1920's and 1930's, when America was seeking to discover itself in a world which had been dominated by events, both political and aesthetic, in Europe. This special exhibition focuses an those visual artists who were trying to define the indigenous historical, political, and cultural traits of America's transition from isolation to world domination. It includes visual reference to both world wars, the Great Depression, the New Deal, the growth of the American city and nostalgia for American rural life.
The decline of the rural population base and the industrialization of agriculture gave rise to popular and sometimes sentimental images of the rural South and the Midwest by the "Regionalists," a group of artists spearheaded by Thomas Hart Benton, Grant Wood, and John Steuart Curry. These three artists, along with many others, embraced the values and traditions of fading rural America. Paralleling the rural revivalists, were urban artists such as Reginald Marsh and Isabel Bishop, who captured the labor and leisure of daily city life. The "Urban Regionalists" connected the benign routine of city life with the vivacity and emotional content that was neither romantic or contrived.
In response to the Depression, federally subsidized art projects were developed through programs such as the Works Progress Administration (WPA) , to assist artists and to cultivate and broaden the visual arts in American culture. The multitude of these arts projects ranged from public building murals to posters and photographic documentaries, creating a wide variety of art works illustrating the faceted images of American life. The WPA Projects expanded the diversity of artistic resources by emphasizing the inclusion of regional artists many of whom lacked the notoriety and financial success of better established artists located in urban areas. The opportunities for such artists were greatly enhanced by the support of Federal art projects.
Read more about the Dane G. Hansen Museum in Resource Library Magazine
Also see America Seen: People and Place at Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum and America Seen: People and Place (2/2/99) from the MacNider Art Museum.
For further biographical information on selected artists cited in this article please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.
Search Resource Library for thousands of articles and essays on American art.
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