The Eyes

The Eyes

Monday, April 20, 2015

Nineteen American Masterworks at Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Tournament--Tennis at Newport (1920)
George Bellows

Nineteen major paintings from the private collection of Thelma and Melvin Lenkin of Chevy Chase, Maryland, are on view at the Smithsonian American Art Museum from April 17 through August 16. The exhibition includes major oil paintings by Mary Cassatt, George Bellows, Martin Johnson Heade, John Singer Sargent, John Sloan, William Glackens, John La Farge, Everett Shinn, and others.

The artworks are installed on the second-floor galleries of the museum within the chronological flow of it’s permanent collection to create a narrative around the excitement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries in America, a “coming-of-age” period in American art. Many of the works will be on public view for the first time. 

Each of these 19 artworks is a premier example of these artists’ most significant contributions to American art. The American Art Museum is thrilled to have the opportunity to exhibit them in concert with its own collection, where they help to more fully tell the story of such a vital period in our nation’s artistic development. Paintings by Bellows, Cassatt, and Glackens have been featured at retrospectives of those artists, but many of the other paintings have rarely if ever been displayed in public. 

Gilded Age expatriate artists such as Sargent and Cassatt pioneered impressionist styles abroad, challenging long-standing practice and rivaling their French counterparts. After 1900, artists on this side of the Atlantic such as Bellows, Glackens, Sloan, and Shinn also abandoned traditional studio techniques to portray New York City’s bustling streets and slice-of-life views of parks, shops, bridges and entertainment halls. Together these artists revolutionized American art, liberating it from academic strictures to become a dynamic mirror of life.

March Day, Washington Square (1912)
William Glackens