Summer 2002 Exhibitions

American Views: Memory, Nostalgia, and the Idea of Place
May 19 through July 28, 2002

Opening Reception and Talk by Elizabeth Blackmar
Saturday, May 18, 5 pm to 7 pm

American Art abounds in landscape images that have framed our views and defined what we see in nature. From the Hudson River School to the visionaries who journeyed to the Far West; from American Impressionists at home and abroad to those who have depicted our own East End of Long Island, artists have always tried to convey a palpable sense of place in portraying their surroundings. But are these images tinged by nostalgia and restructured in our memories? This exhibition, organized by Parrish Curator of Art Alicia Longwell, includes more than 40 works drawn exclusively from the Museum's collection and reexamines the notion of a sense of place. It will include works by William Merritt Chase, John Twachtman, John Marin and Fairfield Porter, among others.

Samuel Colman was one of the first artists to come to an Eastern Long Island made accessible in the 1870s by the Long Island Rail Road, and his Farmyard, East Hampton (c. 1885) evokes a pre-industrial past and a nostalgia for a vanishing rural scene. Colman's audience would have understood this picture as a reaffirmation of the worth of cherished principles and values in the face of a rapidly changing America. Colman's choice to omit from the whirring activity of this barnyard scene any human presence may, in fact, be the artist's way of alerting us to the endangered state of this way of life.

Childe Hassam's Church at Old Lyme (1906) is an image that also expresses yearning for a bygone era, in this case the American Colonial past. Hassam summered in East Hampton beginning in 1898 and became a year-round resident in 1919, finding the New England-style village emblematic of the rich heritage of America. His close-up views of white church steeples, set against dazzlingly clear blue skies and encircled by native elms, themselves symbolic of America's strength, became the stuff of picture postcards. Hassam's move from New York City signaled a retreat both in terms of his modernist painterly ambitions and his growing isolationist view of what constituted "the real America."

Contemporary artists continue to explore this sense of place, as the East End of Long Island attracts artists drawn by the beauty of its land and shore. Sheridan Lord's Sagaponac scene of houses and barns defined by the earth and sky, combines a specificity of locale with a universality of vision to achieve a fluid articulation of a pastoral image. The menace of overdevelopment (no less a threat in 1974 when this picture was painted than it is today) is elided and the idyllic view preserved.

The exhibition has been made possible, in part, through generous support from Liliane and Norman Peck, Del Laboratories, Inc., Allison Morrow, Spanierman Gallery, and the Southampton Rotary Club.

"Selected for Myself": American Etchings of the 1880s
May 19 through July 28, 2002

"Selected for Myself": American Etchings of the 1880s is an exhibition of forty prints drawn from The Parrish Art Museum's Dunnigan Collection of more than 400 prints by 39 American painter-etchers. Its title derives from inscriptions on the etchings written by Henry E.F. Voigt, the noted New York printer who supervised their production.

The Dunnigan Collection, which had previously belonged to Voigt, is a unique body of workmanship that includes etchings by some of the most prominent artists of the Gilded Age: Frederick Church, William Merritt Chase, Frank Duveneck, Julian Alden Weir, John Twachtman, Thomas Moran and Mary Nimmo Moran. Prints by the Morans will be of special interest to Eastern Long Island audiences, because many represent nearby locales, such as Hook Mill, Georgica Pond and Three-Mile Harbor.

The exhibition explores the enormous growth of printmaking in the 1880s. Just as photography was becoming commonplace, artist-etchers were inspired to explore what the camera could not capture, such as the ephemeral effects of shadowy light and atmosphere, and the emotional subtleties of landscape. The values of the Aesthetic Movement and the inspiration of James A.M. Whistler also encouraged artists to explore the medium. At the same time, growing affluence and leisure made artistic cultivation and connoisseurship accessible to upper middle class Americans.

The exhibition has been organized by Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Chief Curator Katherine Crum. The presentation of "Selected for Myself:" American Etchings of the 1880s has been made possible, in part, through generous support from Liliane and Norman Peck, Del Laboratories, Inc., Allison Morrow, Spanierman Gallery, and the Southampton Rotary Club.

The Stamp of Impulse: Abstract Expressionist Prints
August 4 through October 13, 2002

Opening Reception and Talk with David Acton Saturday, August 3, 5 pm to 7 pm

The Stamp of Impulse is a remarkable exhibition of 100 Abstract Expressionist prints by as many artists that provides a new and comprehensive survey of the diverse stylistic and technical experimentation that revolutionized American graphic arts at mid-century.

Organized by David Acton, Ph.D., Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs of the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts, the exhibition will also include 15 paintings by artists who have, or had, homes on Eastern Long Island.

The Stamp of Impulse investigates an important period of art history - the immediate post-Word War II era - and includes works by artists living throughout the United States: in New York State and California, the Midwest and the South. Among the pioneering Abstract Expressionist printmakers represented are masters of the New York School - Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Nell Blaine, and Louise Nevelson. Works by artists such as Louise Bourgeois, Elaine de Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn, Sam Francis, Helen Frankenthaler, Adolph Gottlieb, Philip Guston, Grace Hartigan, Franz Kline, Lee Krasner, Robert Motherwell, Richard Pousette-Dart, Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, and Cy Twombly will also be on view.

The prints, drawn mostly from the Worcester Art Museum's permanent collection, characterize the movement's entire stylistic range, including Abstract Surrealism, biomorphism, painterly gesture, and calligraphy. Exemplifying a wide variety of printmaking media, the works range from miniature drypoints to mural-sized screenprints.

"Abstract Expressionism," notes Dr. Acton "is acknowledged as the leading achievement of American art in the Twentieth century, but its impact on the graphic arts has never been fully examined. At a time when there was no market for the graphic arts, the artists often used the tools and procedures of printmaking to explore the process of creativity. These experimental prints were produced in just a few uncirculated impressions. In the past, these rare prints have often been dismissed as anomalous. However, seen together and in context, they reveal the transforming spirit of exploration and improvisational practice associated with Abstract Expressionism."

A 296-page exhibition catalogue, which accompanies the exhibition, features three introductory essays, 100 entries, and 109 color and 43 halftone illustrations. It also includes an essay by literary critic and historian David Lehman that examines the relationships between the visual arts and poetry of the 1950s and 1960s, as reflected in the Abstract Expressionist printmaking and the book arts. Period photographs of artists bring this era to life. Dr. Acton has written extensively on old master prints and drawings. His books on American prints include A Spectrum of Innovation: Color in American Printmaking and The Hand of a Craftsman: The Woodcut Technique of Gustave Baumann.

The presentation of The Stamp of Impulse has been made possible, in part, through generous support from the Herman Goldman Foundation.