50 Great American Artists

Friday, February 15, 2013 - Saturday, June 1, 2013

Continuing its multi-year focus on American art history, the Taubman Museum of Art presents 50 Great American Artists, a distinguished collection of works that represent some of the best artist from the nineteenth century to the present. Spanning a 135-year period, the 50 paintings, works on paper, and sculptures on view feature key individuals and movements that continue to have an impact on artists and audiences to this day, be they familiar celebrated masters of little known innovative figures whose art deserves a second look.

Included in the group are textbook classics like James Abbot McNeill Whistler, Winslow Homer, Andrew Wyeth, Norman Rockwell, and Andy Warhol, as well as vital modernists that sometimes are overlooked, like Charles Demuth and Charles Burchfield. Pieces range from slice-of-life scenes (Robert Riggs, Larry Rivers, Janet Fish) to abstraction (William Baziotes, Gene Davis, Richard Diebenkorn) to the images that walk the line between the two (by such artists as Maurice Prendergast, Romare Bearden, and Jennifer Bartlett). 50 Great American Artists offers everyone a chance to experience a ranage of approaches and unexpected pairings across time that encourage one to rethink art history genres, and appreciate the skill, diversity, and vision that embodies the history of art in America.

Presented in partnership with the Peninsula Fine Arts Center in Newport News, Virginia (who is celebrating their 50th anniversary), this project was supported in part by loans from a number of prestigious museum collections, including objects from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Chrysler Museum of Art, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.

50 Great American Artists is curated by Michael Preble, Curator, Peninsula Fine Arts Center, with additional curatorial support from David Mickenberg, Taubman Museum of Art. Organized by the Peninsula Fine Arts Center and the Taubman Museum of Art, the exhibition is made possible in part by support from Ferguson Enterprises, the Norfolk Southern Corporation, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Taubman Museum of Art, along with ongoing support from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Image: Thomas Hart Benton, The Cotton Picker, c. 1943, tempera on Masonite, 22 231/2 inches, collection of the Taubman Museum of Art, acquired with funds provided by the Horace G. Fralin Charitable Trust 2004.001.

This exhibition is made possible in part by support from Ferguson Enterprises, the Norfolk Southern Corporation, WDBJ 7, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Taubman Museum of Art, along with ongoing support from the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.