American Perspectives: 1907 - 1992
September 4 - December 14, 2007
Emily Lowe Gallery
Alfred Maurer, Woman in a Garden
Over the years the Hofstra University Museum's permanent collection has been enhanced through gifts of artworks by dedicated and generous donors. Drawn entirely from the Museum's collection, American Perspectives: 1907-1992 spans eighty-five years of American art and showcases thirty-seven works which exemplify the stylistic diversity of the artists within a broad range of media.
During the ending years of the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth century many American artists went abroad to study with European masters or in the major European academies. They were exposed to the revolutionary paintings of the Impressionists and Post Impressionists. As a consequence returning artists such as Alfred Maurer developed entirely new styles of painting. In 1913 the Armory Show in New York City introduced the most avant-garde European art to the American public and to American artists; it can be said that Modern art began during this period. Artists such as Jane Peterson and Eugene Higgins exemplify the contrasts in the art styles of the 1920s. American Scene painting in the 1930s and 1940s encompassed a uniquely American style of art which on the one hand glorified rural America with works such as Thomas Hart Benton's Night Firing, and on the other hand depicted America's social ills as portrayed in Isaac Soyer's Scrub Woman.
In the 1950s Abstract Expressionism, a new type of nonrepresentational art based on color and form, and with an emphasis on self-exploration and improvisation, originated in New York with the works of Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Arshille Gorky. In this exhibition, the works of Robert Motherwell, Helen Frankenthaler and Joan Mitchell illustrate different aspects of the movement. Pop Art which began in America in the 1950s, took its subject matter from advertising, comic strips and consumer packaging. Andy Warhol's Untitled soup can and Roy Lichtenstein's Untitled still life typify this transformation of commonplace objects from everyday mass consumption and culture. During the second half of the twentieth century artists such as Sol Lewitt became known for abstract, geometric minimalist works and Don Eddy explored the nature of reality and visual perception in photorealist works such as Dreamreader's Table V.
The selection of these specific paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture demonstrate some of the artistic trends during this eighty-five year period in America, as the country was rising in prominence and dominance in the global art community.
Eleanor Rait, Curator of Collections