Modern American Prints and Drawings from the Kainen Collection

September 1, 2014 – February 1, 2015

West Building Ground Floor

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    William Zorach, American, born Lithuania, 1887 – 1966, View of Distant Hills, 1915, watercolor on Japanese paper, Gift of Ruth Cole Kainen, 2005 

     

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    Childe Hassam, American, 1859 – 1935, Old Doorway, East Hampton, 1920, etching, Gift of Ruth Cole Kainen, 2005

     

     

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    Gifford Beal, American, 1879 – 1956, Sailboat and Sunset, c. 1920, monotype, Gift of Ruth Cole Kainen, 2005

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    Wanda Gág, American, 1893 – 1946, Spring in the Garden (Spring II), 1927, lithograph, Gift of Ruth Cole Kainen, 2005

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    James Lesesne Wells, American, 1902 – 1993, Looking Upward, 1928, linocut, Gift of Ruth Cole Kainen, 2005

     

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    Louis Lozowick, American, 1892 – 1973, Still Life #2, 1929, lithograph, Ruth and Jacob Kainen Collection, 1989

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    Stuart Davis, American, 1892 – 1964, Barber Shop Chord, 1931, lithograph, Gift of Ruth Cole Kainen, 2005

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    Arshile Gorky, American, born Armenia, 1904 – 1948, Study for Nighttime, Enigma and Nostalgia, 1934, pen and ink, Gift of Ruth Cole Kainen, 2012

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    Adolph Gottlieb, American, 1903 – 1974, Pictograph, 1946/1947, watercolor heightened with white and gold, Gift of Ruth Cole Kainen, 2006

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    Milton Avery, American, 1885 – 1965, Sea and Rocky Shore, 1948, watercolor over graphite, Gift of Ruth Cole Kainen, 2005

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    Karl Schrag, American, 1912 – 1996, The Influence of the Moon, 1950, etching, aquatint, and softground etching, Gift of Ruth Cole Kainen, 2005

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    Jacob Kainen, American, 1909 – 2001, Sun in the Hills, 1951, woodcut and stencil, Gift of Ruth Cole Kainen in honor of the artist's 90th birthday, 1999

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    Jackson Pollock, American, 1912 – 1956, Untitled, 1951, ink on Japanese paper, Gift of Ruth Cole Kainen, 2012

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    David Smith, American, 1906 – 1965, Untitled, 1957, brush and ink mixed with egg, Gift of Ruth Cole Kainen, 2012

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    Dorothea Tanning, American, 1910 – 2012, At These Rites, 1973, aquatint and sugar-lift aquatint, Gift of Ruth Cole Kainen, 2005

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    Willem de Kooning, American, born The Netherlands, 1904 – 1997, Untitled, 1976, oil on newspaper mounted to canvas, Gift of Ruth Cole Kainen, 2012

Ruth and Jacob Kainen donated more than 2,000 works, primarily prints, drawings, and rare illustrated books, to the National Gallery of Art. Ruth Cole Kainen (1922–2009) studied English at the University of Oregon and music at Yale University before working for various cultural organizations. In 1958 she settled in Washington, DC, and soon after she began to acquire art. Her marriage to Jacob Kainen (1909–2001) a decade later marked the union of two formidable collecting talents. As an artist in New York City during the 1930s, Jacob knew such key figures as Stuart Davis, Arshile Gorky, and Willem de Kooning. And as curator of graphic arts at the Smithsonian from 1942 to 1970, he made important acquisitions and wrote scholarly texts on the prints of eighteenth-century artists, including Canaletto and John Baptist Jackson, among other subjects. Together, Ruth and Jacob Kainen built a collection of impressive variety and quality.

Two recent exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art have celebrated works from the Ruth Kainen bequest. The first featured northern mannerist prints, and the second presented German expressionist prints, drawings, and rare illustrated books. This third and final exhibition in the series presents a selection of modern American holdings—exceptional prints and drawings from the first three-quarters of the twentieth century. The first room explores the period leading up to World War II, in which many artists, such as Childe Hassam and Stuart Davis, departed from strict representation. The second room moves toward pure abstraction in the postwar period with works by Jackson Pollock, David Smith, and Willem de Kooning. This exhibition represents only a small fraction of the works donated by Ruth and Jacob Kainen, and pays tribute to their connoisseurship and generosity.

All works are from the collection of the National Gallery of Art.

Organization: Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Image: Stuart Davis, Barber Shop Chord, 1931, lithograph, Gift of Ruth Cole Kainen, 2005