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John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art

The John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art is made possible by a generous grant from The Walton Family Foundation.

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Justin Wolff, associate professor of art history, University of Maine. In November 1937 Life magazine featured four lithographs by the American artist Rockwell Kent (1882-1971) in the article “Four Ways in Which the World May End.” In this lecture from the inaugural John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art, held at the National Gallery of Art on October 22, 2016, Justin Wolff analyzes the so-called “End of the World” lithographs, part of the National Gallery of Art collection, in the context of scientific theories about cosmic cataclysm, suspicions that European fascism portended an apocalypse, and Kent’s solidarity with a radical leftism that anticipated capitalism’s disintegration. Wolff considers looking beyond their political meaning to what the lithographs tell us about Kent’s renowned emotional intensity and wanderlust—specifically, what they reveal about his tenacious quest to acquire psychic integrity in barren lands at the ends of the world. The John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art is made possible by a generous grant from The Walton Family Foundation.

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Justin Wolff, associate professor of art history, University of Maine. In November 1937 Life magazine featured four lithographs by the American artist Rockwell Kent (1882-1971) in the article “Four Ways in Which the World May End.” In this lecture from the inaugural John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art, held at the National Gallery of Art on October 22, 2016, Justin Wolff analyzes the so-called “End of the World” lithographs, part of the National Gallery of Art collection, in the context of scientific theories about cosmic cataclysm, suspicions that European fascism portended an apocalypse, and Kent’s solidarity with a radical leftism that anticipated capitalism’s disintegration. Wolff considers looking beyond their political meaning to what the lithographs tell us about Kent’s renowned emotional intensity and wanderlust—specifically, what they reveal about his tenacious quest to acquire psychic integrity in barren lands at the ends of the world. The John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art is made possible by a generous grant from The Walton Family Foundation.

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Randall Griffey, associate curator, department of modern and contemporary art, Metropolitan Museum of Art. American painter Marsden Hartley (1877-1943) entered the modernist canon as a result of the abstract paintings he created in Germany in 1914-1915. But the paintings he created of his home state of Maine late in his career beginning in 1937 brought him his greatest acclaim during his lifetime. In fact, Hartley began his career in 1909 at Alfred Stieglitz’s 291 gallery as a painter of Maine. Previewing a major exhibition to open in March 2017 at the Met Breuer and in July 2017 at the Colby College Museum of Art, Randall Griffey illuminates the painter’s dynamic, rich, and occasionally contradictory artistic engagement with his native Maine. Maine was to Hartley a springboard to imagination and creative inspiration, a locus of memory and longing, a refuge, and a means of communion with previous artists who painted there, especially Winslow Homer. Speaking at the inaugural John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art, held on October 22, 2016, at the National Gallery of Art, Griffey showcases Hartley’s impressive range, from early post-impressionist interpretations of seasonal change in the region to late, folk-inspired depictions of Mount Katahdin, the state’s great geological landmark. The John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art is made possible by a generous grant from The Walton Family Foundation.

 

 

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Randall Griffey, associate curator, department of modern and contemporary art, Metropolitan Museum of Art. American painter Marsden Hartley (1877-1943) entered the modernist canon as a result of the abstract paintings he created in Germany in 1914-1915. But the paintings he created of his home state of Maine late in his career beginning in 1937 brought him his greatest acclaim during his lifetime. In fact, Hartley began his career in 1909 at Alfred Stieglitz’s 291 gallery as a painter of Maine. Previewing a major exhibition to open in March 2017 at the Met Breuer and in July 2017 at the Colby College Museum of Art, Randall Griffey illuminates the painter’s dynamic, rich, and occasionally contradictory artistic engagement with his native Maine. Maine was to Hartley a springboard to imagination and creative inspiration, a locus of memory and longing, a refuge, and a means of communion with previous artists who painted there, especially Winslow Homer. Speaking at the inaugural John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art, held on October 22, 2016, at the National Gallery of Art, Griffey showcases Hartley’s impressive range, from early post-impressionist interpretations of seasonal change in the region to late, folk-inspired depictions of Mount Katahdin, the state’s great geological landmark. The John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art is made possible by a generous grant from The Walton Family Foundation.

 

 

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Jennifer Raab, assistant professor, department of the history of art, Yale University. What does it mean to see a work of art “in detail”? Speaking at the inaugural John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art, held on October 22, 2016, at the National Gallery of Art, Jennifer Raab considers broader questions of detail, vision, and knowledge in 19th-century America by looking at a few of Frederic Church’s most famous landscape paintings. The John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art is made possible by a generous grant from The Walton Family Foundation.

 

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Rachael Z. DeLue, associate professor, department of art and archaeology, Princeton University. The modern American artist Arthur Dove (1880–1946) drew inspiration from the natural world when making his paintings and assemblages, but he also played around with found objects, popular music, sound technology, aviation, farm animals, meteorology, language, and script, including his own signature. The circle motifs that appear persistently across Dove’s art serve to signify and connect these disparate things, creating a vital and unique form of abstraction, one resolutely if paradoxically bound to objective reality and material existence. As Dove himself said, “there is no such thing as abstraction,” preferring the term “extraction” to describe the essential relationship between his work and the world. Speaking at the inaugural John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art, held on October 22, 2016, at the National Gallery of Art, Rachael Z. DeLue discusses some of the chief characteristics of Dove’s extractions, focusing on examples from the Gallery’s collection. The John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art is made possible by a generous grant from The Walton Family Foundation.

 

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Rachael Z. DeLue, associate professor, department of art and archaeology, Princeton University. The modern American artist Arthur Dove (1880–1946) drew inspiration from the natural world when making his paintings and assemblages, but he also played around with found objects, popular music, sound technology, aviation, farm animals, meteorology, language, and script, including his own signature. The circle motifs that appear persistently across Dove’s art serve to signify and connect these disparate things, creating a vital and unique form of abstraction, one resolutely if paradoxically bound to objective reality and material existence. As Dove himself said, “there is no such thing as abstraction,” preferring the term “extraction” to describe the essential relationship between his work and the world. Speaking at the inaugural John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art, held on October 22, 2016, at the National Gallery of Art, Rachael Z. DeLue discusses some of the chief characteristics of Dove’s extractions, focusing on examples from the Gallery’s collection. The John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art is made possible by a generous grant from The Walton Family Foundation.

 

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Jennifer Raab, assistant professor, department of the history of art, Yale University. What does it mean to see a work of art “in detail”? Speaking at the inaugural John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art, held on October 22, 2016, at the National Gallery of Art, Jennifer Raab considers broader questions of detail, vision, and knowledge in 19th-century America by looking at a few of Frederic Church’s most famous landscape paintings. The John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art is made possible by a generous grant from The Walton Family Foundation.

 

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Mark D. Mitchell, Holcombe T. Green Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture, Yale University Art Gallery. The genre of still life has enjoyed unexpected power in America’s artistic tradition. Its periodic resurgence provides distinct perspective on the nation’s cultural development hewn to individual experience. Speaking at the inaugural John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art, held on October 22, 2016, at the National Gallery of Art, Mark D. Mitchell offers a new look at still life, its meaning in America, and its potential for future study. The John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art is made possible by a generous grant from The Walton Family Foundation.

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Wendy Bellion, associate professor, department of art history, University of Delaware. Trompe l’oeil art challenges viewers to make perceptual distinctions between things that look extraordinarily similar. It stages lessons in perception, imitation, and deception while piquing our delight in the pleasures of wit. Drawing upon the National Gallery of Art’s important collection of American still life painting, Wendy Bellion explores the serious fun of illusion in a lecture from the inaugural John Wilmerding Sympsoium on American Art, held at the National Gallery of Art on October 22, 2016. The John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art is made possible by a generous grant from The Walton Family Foundation.

audio

Wendy Bellion, associate professor, department of art history, University of Delaware. Trompe l’oeil art challenges viewers to make perceptual distinctions between things that look extraordinarily similar. It stages lessons in perception, imitation, and deception while piquing our delight in the pleasures of wit. Drawing upon the National Gallery of Art’s important collection of American still life painting, Wendy Bellion explores the serious fun of illusion in a lecture from the inaugural John Wilmerding Sympsoium on American Art, held at the National Gallery of Art on October 22, 2016. The John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art is made possible by a generous grant from The Walton Family Foundation.

audio

Mark D. Mitchell, Holcombe T. Green Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture, Yale University Art Gallery. The genre of still life has enjoyed unexpected power in America’s artistic tradition. Its periodic resurgence provides distinct perspective on the nation’s cultural development hewn to individual experience. Speaking at the inaugural John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art, held on October 22, 2016, at the National Gallery of Art, Mark D. Mitchell offers a new look at still life, its meaning in America, and its potential for future study. The John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art is made possible by a generous grant from The Walton Family Foundation.