From the Director
In the twenty-first century, American art is unquestionably revered around the world. Museums are devoted entirely to its preservation and accessibility, and market prices are soaring. This was not always the case. Indeed, for centuries European art was the model in the Western world for excellence in subject matter, style, and technique. After World War II, the art market shifted to New York with the emergence of abstract expressionism and the influx of European émigrés. Reassessment of the work of earlier American artists began in earnest and continued throughout the twentieth century. What is less well known is that a critical debate about the merits of painting and sculpture produced on the North American continent was well underway in the United States during the nineteenth century.
This spring we are pleased to present, Telling Tales: Stories and Legends in Nineteenth-Century American Art, an exhibition that delights us visually and tells us much about how our country asserted artistic and aesthetic independence. The debate is significant not only for the obvious considerations of the art on view but also for the lessons we can learn about how democracy finds a voice for the disenfranchised and the cultural diversity of an immigrant nation. Without this re-visioning of art, the discipline itself would be bereft of many compelling influences.
Please join us this spring. We hope you will find greater insight into our national heritage as well as your own
Susan H. Edwards, Ph.D.
Executive Director and CEO