Wichita Art Museum

Wichita, Kansas

(316) 268-4921

 

Sentimental Journey: Images of the Home in Mind and Heart

 

Sentimental Journey: Images of the Home in Mind and Heart is a presentation of 15 graphic works from the Wichita Art Museum's permanent collection that focuses upon the subject of the home in American art of ca. 1925-1950. Represented in this show are Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood, two leading artists of the Regionalist movement which emerged in the late 1920s. Also featured are prominent members of the Wichita-based Prairie Print Makers society including William Dickerson, Lloyd Foltz, Herschel Logan, and C.A. Seward, and their counterparts from other parts of the country including Asa Cheffetz, Wanda Gag, Doris Lee, and S. L. Margolies. Although the names of these artists are not as well known as those of Benton and Wood, they were all artists -- many painters as well as printmakers -- who achieved national recognition in their day and who shared the Regionalist interest in the affective power of certain cultural ideals.

 

Wanda Gag

Winter Twilight, 1927

lithograph, Director's Discretionary Fund, Friends of the Wichita Art Museum, Inc.

 

One of the ideals which the period found most appealing was the concept of the simple life of the nation's frontier and agrarian past in which people lived close to the land and relied upon the physical and emotional resources available from within the family unit. The artists of the Regionalist period conjured from memory and imagination images of the utilitarian dwellings of the prairie settlement period and farm homesteads of their youth. In many instances the artists chose to let the object of the house, often pictured as a solitary structure in an isolated topographical setting, symbolize complex layers of human experience, from warmth and security to toil and hardship. In a few of the works, notably Doris Lee's Thanksgiving, the artist portrayed the interior rooms of the home alive with the activity of a supportive extended family.

The American artists featured in Sentimental Journey: Images of Home in Mind and Heart explored a subject of timeless emotional appeal--the home of one's childhood or of one's ancestors -- giving the theme a specifically American reference. They also sought to mesh artistic goals of simplicity and primal emotive power with culturally honored values of plain and independent living. This exhibition was conceived to accompany WAM's major upcoming exhibition Toward An American, Identity Selections from the Wichita Art Museum which opens October 12,1997.

 

Image and text courtesy of Wichita Art Museum


Search for more articles and essays on American art in Resource Library. See America's Distinguished Artists for biographical information on historic artists.

This page was originally published in 1997 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information.

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