On view June 13 through September 6, 2015
Between the 1830s and the end of the First World War, American art came into its own. From the majestic Hudson River School paintings of Thomas Cole, John Kensett, and Albert Bierstadt to the gritty urban realism of Robert Henri and John Sloan, this presentation draws on the rich holdings of American paintings and sculptures in the collection of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. This selection of more than 50 paintings and eight sculptures highlights the maturation of a distinctly American idiom, one informed by international currents and engaged with capturing the fluxes of modern life. Masterpieces of landscape, genre, still-life, and portraiture, punctuated by a selection of sculptures, trace an evolution in style from an art driven by the mandates of westward expansion to one animated by experimentation. In both idealized and naturalistically rendered landscapes, in scenes of everyday life, or meticulously detailed images of everyday objects, the presentation also narrates an important chapter in American cultural history that witnessed the Civil War and its aftermath, the expansion of national boundaries and the closing of the western frontier, and the transformations wrought by the emergence of new technologies at the dawn of the 20th century.
This exhibition has been organized by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
John George Brown (British, active USA, 1831-1913), Pull for the Shore, n.d., Oil on canvas, 24 x 39 3/4 in., Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Gifts from the Estate of Mrs. Stanley McCormick, Norman Hirschl and the American Federation of Arts to the Preston Morton Collection by exchange 1971.18
Albert Bierstadt (German, active USA, 1830-1902), Mirror Lake, Yosemite Valley, 1864, Oil on canvas, 21 3/4 x 30 1/8 in., Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Gift of Mrs. Sterling Morton for the Preston Morton Collection 1960.51
Robert Henri (American, 1865-1929), Derricks on the North River, 1902, Oil on canvas, 26 x 32 in., Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Museum purchase for the Preston Morton Collection, with funds provided by the Chalifoux Fund 1977.45