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20th-Century American Art


The East Building of the National Gallery of Art is a constantly changing mosaic where the expanding collection of twentieth-century art on view includes paintings, sculpture, and works on paper by American artists such as Calder, Smith, de Kooning, Bearden, and Lichtenstein.

This DVD compilation includes the following titles:

  • Mobile by Alexander Calder
    The first work of art placed in the National Gallery's East Building, this mobile is also one of the last major pieces by one of America's great artists, Alexander Calder. The program takes viewers on an absorbing journey as Calder, architect I. M. Pei, artist/engineer Paul Matisse, craftsmen, and museum officials face the challenges of producing this large, technically complex piece.
    24 minutes
  • David Smith, American Sculptor, 1906–1965
    David Smith was one of the most important sculptors of the twentieth century. His ideas about art and his methods are revealed in archival footage—through reminiscences by his daughters and in conversations with fellow artists Helen Frankenthaler and Robert Motherwell. The film takes viewers to Bolton Landing in upstate New York, where Smith had his studio.
    28 minutes
  • Willem de Kooning: Paintings
    De Kooning's life and work—from his origins in the Netherlands to his mature Long Island period—are presented through his paintings, vintage photographs of the artist and his contemporaries, and footage of his studio on Long Island. This film also explores the historical and cultural developments in the postwar period that shaped his art.
    12 minutes
  • The Art of Romare Bearden
    Romare Bearden's art captures the diversity and richness that was his life. With roots in North Carolina, Bearden migrated north at an early age, living in industrial Pittsburgh and vibrant Harlem, and spent later years on the Caribbean island of Saint Martin. These four locales, and Bearden's memories of their people, music, colors, and stories, form the basis of his collages and paintings. This film, narrated by Morgan Freeman with readings by Danny Glover, traces the artist's career using new and archival footage to demonstrate the artistic impact of Bearden's memories and art-historical models.
    30 minutes
  • Roy Lichtenstein: The Art of the Graphic Image
    Renowned pop artist Roy Lichtenstein discusses his printmaking career over the course of two decades. This is an intimate glimpse of the artist at work, both in his own studios and at two of the most innovative printmaking workshops in the United States: Gemini G.E.L. in California and Tyler Graphics Ltd. in New York.
    20 minutes

All programs are closed captioned.

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