April 27, 2024 – February 9, 2025

Tiffany & Co. (founded 1837), Gourd-Shaped Tray, ca. 1880. Mixed metals. 16.5 in., 36 oz. Courtesy of the Thomas H. and Diane DeMell Jacobsen Ph.D. Foundation

Shaping American Art

George Lovett Kingsland Morris (American, 1905-1975), Munition Factory, 1943. Oil on canvas. 25 x 17 in. Courtesy of Art Bridges.

Mary Cable Butler (American, 1865-1946), Wash Day, ca. 1935. Oil on canvas. 18.25×15.25 in. Huntsville Museum Association Purchase 2008-Sellars Collection, 2009.04

The vibrant tapestry of American creativity is presented in the museum’s newest exhibition, Shaping American Art. For the first time, the museum proudly presents a sweeping selection of works from the permanent collection, with over 100 paintings, sculptures, photographs, and works on paper, showcasing the rich legacy and significance of American art.

Organized chronologically, the galleries offer a captivating journey through the evolution of American artistic expression, starting with “This Side of the Pond: American Impressionism.” Here, visitors are immersed in the enchanting landscapes of light and color that defined the American response to French Impressionism, setting the stage for a uniquely American artistic identity.

Moving forward in time, “The Era of Leisure: Art of the Gilded Age” includes the bronze sculptures of Bessie Potter Vonnoh, paintings of F. Luis Mora—considered to be the first Hispanic American artist—and decorative artworks of such innovators as Louis Comfort Tiffany. This section of the galleries captures the essence of a rapidly changing society, depicting scenes of everyday activities and the emergence of a new leisure class. 

Continuing the narrative, “This American Life” delves into the burgeoning styles of American Scene Painting and Regionalism, celebrating the diversity of American experiences and landscapes through the works of such notable artists as Reginald Marsh, John Sloan, Helen Alton Sawyer, Allan Randall Freelon, William Christenberry, and Luis Alfonso Jiménez. Meanwhile, “American Modernism: Art & Design for a New Age” showcases the bold experimentation of American Cubist and Surrealist painters, including Stuart Davis, Max Weber, and Geroge Lovett Kingsland Morris, who pushed the boundaries of traditional artistic conventions. Proceeding to “Outside the Lines: American Abstraction,” the galleries showcase the significant contributions of such notable artists as Frank Stella, Sol LeWitt, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol. The journey concludes with “Beyond Abstraction: Contemporary Realism” and the contributions of Contemporary Realists Alex Katz and Janet Fish. 

Throughout the galleries, visitors will encounter iconic works of American art from the museum’s permanent collection, alongside extraordinary pieces from the collections of Art Bridges, Jacobsen Foundation, and local private collectors. 

From the bold brushstrokes of George Bellows to the avant-garde experimentation of Andy Warhol, the exhibition features a diverse array of voices and perspectives that collectively define American artistic heritage.

This exhibition is organized by the Huntsville Museum of Art.

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