Picturing America: Signature Works from the Westmoreland Museum of American Art brings to Memphis over two hundred years of American art through portraiture, still life, landscape, narrative painting, and sculpture.Over the past fifty years, the Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg, Pennsylvania has assembled a collection of works by significant American artists, concentrating on the mid-eighteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries.
[caption id="attachment_1273" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Gifford Beal, Sea Bass Fisherman, 1940, Oil on canvas, Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Anonymous Gift through the Westmoreland Society, 1995.51[/caption]
Picturing America begins in the colonial era with examples of formal portraiture by John Singleton Copley and Charles Wilson Peale, and culminates in modernist still-lifes by such notable American artists as Milton Avery and Doris Lee.
[caption id="attachment_1274" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Milton Avery, Arrangement with Plants, 1948, Oil on canvas, Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Gift of Mr. Michael Ross, Hewlett Bay Park, NY, 1975.77[/caption]
The exhibition includes luminous landscapes from the Hudson River School, America’s first true artistic fraternity that flourished in the second half of the nineteenth century. Out of the Hudson River School came numerous movements in landscape painting aiming at capturing the American sublime, from rocky seashores to the Rocky Mountains.
[caption id="attachment_1275" align="aligncenter" width="237"] Guy Pène du Bois, Studio Window (detail), 1928, Oil on canvas, Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Gift of the William A. Coulter Fund, 1977.84[/caption]
Picturing America also captures the avant-garde Impressionist movement with artists like William Merritt Chase, who became the first major American painter to create Impressionist canvases in the United States. The exhibition features works by Chase and American Impressionist artist Mary Cassatt and documents the progression of American art towards modernism and abstraction.
[caption id="attachment_1276" align="aligncenter" width="201"] BEN SHAHN, Byzantine Isometric, 1951Tempera on canvas mounted on Masonite Collection of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art; Museum Purchase, 2007.21[/caption]
This fascinating collection explores our country’s art history as it progressed through varying stylistic phases to become the center of the international art world today. Picturing America: Signature Works from the Westmoreland Museum of American Art includes fifty-six works from the Westmoreland Museum’s celebrated collection and is on view at the Dixon now through October 6.