June 10 – October 15, 2023
Chan Gallery

William Frye (German-born American, 1822-1872), Portrait of Lucy Anne Spotswood Matthews, ca. 1850s-1860s, Oil on canvas. 36 x 29 in. Huntsville Museum of Art, Gift of Annie Waesche.

Aron Belka (American, b. 1974), Clifton Faust, 2018. Oil on canvas. 48 x 48 in. Museum Purchase, Funds Provided by the Dr. John Rison Jones, Jr. Acquisition Fund and the Susy & Robert Thurber Acquisition Fund. Image courtesy of the artist.

Matthew Harris Jouett (American, 1788-1827), Portrait of a Gentleman, ca. 1815, oil on canvas. 22.5 x 17.5 in. Museum purchase in memory of Bettye Grant, Cynthia Ann Harwell, David Anthony Hughes, and Virginia Charlton Smith.

In one word, how would you describe yourself? How is the way you describe yourself different from how others describe you?

Identity is shaped, formed, and expressed in complex ways. For artists, portraiture has long been a powerful visual tool for defining identity but, for artists who live and work in the United States, contending with notions of identity has been further complicated by the country’s complex, often one-sided history.

American Identity features over thirty traditional, symbolic, and groundbreaking portraits from the Huntsville Museum of Art’s permanent collection. This timely exhibition includes a wide range of media, examining the history of portraiture from the early 19th century to today, and poses provocative questions about the very nature of likeness, identity, and representation.

This exhibition is organized by the Huntsville Museum of Art.