Audubon to Warhol: The Art of American Still Life
- Rubens Peale with a Geranium, 1801. Rembrandt Peale, American, 1778 1860. Oil on canvas, 28 1/8 x 24 inches, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Patrons' Permanent FundImportant: By downloading this image, you are agreeing to the following permissions: Images are provided exclusively to the press, and only for purposes of publicity for the duration of an exhibition at the PMA. The Museum grants permission to use images only to the extent of its ownership rights relating to those images--the responsibility for any additional permissions remains solely with the party reproducing the images. In addition, the images must be accompanied by the credit line and any copyright information as it appears above, and the party reproducing the images must not distort or mutilate the images.
- Blackberries, c. 1813. Raphaelle Peale, American, 1774 1825. Oil on panel, 7 1/4 x 10 1/4 inches, Philadelphia Museum of ArtImportant: By downloading this image, you are agreeing to the following permissions: Images are provided exclusively to the press, and only for purposes of publicity for the duration of an exhibition at the PMA. The Museum grants permission to use images only to the extent of its ownership rights relating to those images--the responsibility for any additional permissions remains solely with the party reproducing the images. In addition, the images must be accompanied by the credit line and any copyright information as it appears above, and the party reproducing the images must not distort or mutilate the images.
- Carolina Parrot, from “The Birds of America,” c. 1828, by John James Audubon, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond: Gift of Alma and Harry CoonImportant: By downloading this image, you are agreeing to the following permissions: Images are provided exclusively to the press, and only for purposes of publicity for the duration of an exhibition at the PMA. The Museum grants permission to use images only to the extent of its ownership rights relating to those images--the responsibility for any additional permissions remains solely with the party reproducing the images. In addition, the images must be accompanied by the credit line and any copyright information as it appears above, and the party reproducing the images must not distort or mutilate the images.
- Flower Still Life with Bird's Nest, 1853. Severin Roesen, American (born Germany), 1816 c. 1872. Oil on canvas, 40 x 32 inches, Philadelphia Museum of Art
- After the Hunt, 1885, by William Michael Harnett (Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco: Gift of Henry K.S. Williams)
- Mr. Hulings' Rack Picture, 1888. William Michael Harnett, American, 1848 1892. Oil on canvas, 30 x 25 inches (76.2 x 63.5 cm).
- Peonies in the Wind, c. 1893. John La Farge, American, 1835 1910. Leaded glass with copper foil, 56 x 26 inches, Seattle Art Museum
- Reminiscences of 1865, 1904. John Frederick Peto, American, 1854 1907. Oil on canvas, 30 x 20 inches (76.2 x 50.8 cm), Framed: 41 7/8 × 31 7/8 × 2 1/4 inches (106.4 × 81 × 5.7 cm). Lent by The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, The Julia B. Bigelow Fund by John Bigelow.
- The Lobster, 1908. Arthur Garfield Dove, American, 1880 1946. Oil on canvas, 25 5/8 x 32 inches (65.1 x 81.3 cm), Framed: 35 × 40 × 4 inches (88.9 × 101.6 × 10.2 cm). Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, Acquisition in memory of Anne Burnett Tandy, Trustee, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 1968 1980.
- Three Jugs, 1928. Max Weber, American (born Russia), 1881 1961. Oil on canvas, 30 × 36 inches (76.2 × 91.4 cm). The Hevrdejs Collection.
- Two Calla Lilies on Pink, 1928. Georgia O'Keeffe, American, 1887 – 1986, Oil on canvas, 40 x 30 inches, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Bequest of Georgia O'Keeffe for the Alfred Stieglitz Collection 1987
- Cactus, 1931. Charles Sheeler, American, 1883 1965. Oil on canvas, 45 1/8 x 30 1/16 inches, Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection, 1950
- Rolling Power, 1939, by Charles Sheeler (Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, Massachusetts: Purchased with the Drayton Hillyer Fund)
- Rummage, 1941. Mark Tobey, American, 1890 1976. Tempera and opaque watercolor on paperboard, 38 3/8 x 25 7/8 inches (97.5 x 65.7 cm). Seattle Art Museum, Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection.
- Fountain, 1950 (replica of 1917 original). Marcel Duchamp, American (born France), 1887 1968. Porcelain urinal, 12 x 15 x 18 inches (30.5 x 38.1 x 45.7 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art, 125th Anniversary Acquisition. Gift (by exchange) of Mrs. Herbert Cameron Morris, 1998. © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris / Estate of Marcel Duchamp
- Still Life with Goldfish, 1974. Roy Lichtenstein, American, 1923 1997. Oil and Magna on canvas, 6 feet 8 inches × 60 inches (203.2 × 152.4 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art, Purchased with the Edith H. Bell Fund, 1974.
- Brillo Boxes, 1964, by Andy Warhol (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Acquired with funds contributed by the Committee on Twentieth-Century Art and as a partial gift of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.) © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
October 27, 2015–January 10, 2016
This fall, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will present a major exhibition surveying nearly two centuries of the most intimate, intricate, and varied genre of painting practiced in the United States. Audubon to Warhol: The Art of American Still Life will explore the nature and development of still-life painting in this country from the days of the early American republic to the emergence of Pop Art in the early 1960s, providing a fresh perspective on the evolution of this genre over time and the various ways in which it has reflected our history and culture. Nearly one hundred artists will be represented, ranging from Philadelphia’s Peale family of painters and masters of trompe l’oeil such as William Michael Harnett to modern masters like Charles Sheeler, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Roy Lichtenstein.
Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Still life is an important subject that continues to fascinate us today. It can be a meditative study of a single, small object and yet also serve as a metaphor for the world. The story of American still life begins in Philadelphia, and we are delighted to have an opportunity to share this exhibition with our audiences. This is the first major show of its kind in more than thirty years and brings together works of great beauty and historical significance from collections around the country.”
The exhibition surveys the history of American still life. The earliest section addresses the interest of late 18th and early 19th-century painters, a period interested in precise visual description. In their efforts to understand and categorize nature, art and science were linked in the minds of such leading figures of this period as John James Audubon, whose Carolina Parrot (about 1828) depicts a species now extinct and provides a signal example of the combined artistic and scientific ambition that motivated his celebrated Birds of America. The exhibition also explores the pleasures of the senses and sensuality that became the primary focus of American still-life painters at the beginning of the Victorian era. The works of this period exemplify a spirit of newfound prosperity and abundance, as can been seen in Severin Roesen’s vivid floral still lifes and in tables overflowing with nature’s bounty, such as Andrew J. H. Way’s Oysters in Half Shell (1863). Discerning appetites and distinctions of the affluent after the Civil War, as recorded in images such as The Blue Cup (1909) by Joseph DeCamp will be highlighted along with works that address the technological and psychological preoccupations of early 20th-century American artists.
Visitors will encounter audio and visual representations of the iconic 20th Century Limited locomotive, the subject of Charles Sheeler’s classic Rolling Power (1939). Signaling the reach of a burgeoning media culture, the installation will dramatize how masterfully the artist evoked power and modernity, extending the idea of what still life could be. The exhibition concludes with a selection of Pop Art icons, including Roy Lichtenstein's Still Life with Goldfish (1974).
The exhibition will evoke the different ways of looking that American still-life painters have explored of the course of more than two centuries, immersing visitors in fully developed environments. The still lifes of the mid-19th century, for example, were typically created for parlors and dining rooms. A re-created Victorian parlor will invite visitors to appreciate these semipublic social settings, where educated and erudite conversations were sparked by artworks such as Edward A. Goods’s Fishbowl Fantasy (1867). The artworks themselves will be arranged in small groups to encourage comparison and discussion among visitors, as they did for their early audiences. The exhibition will also include evocations of Theodore Stewart’s famous New York City saloon, which drew crowds from nearby City Hall and around the world to admire William Michael Harnett’s large-scale After the Hunt (1885), which was displayed there in its own theatrical setting for many years. Themes such as music, literature, popular media, and science—including tangible ephemera such as bird specimens, magazines, and pocket watches—will bring forward the immediate inspirations and contemporary contexts of the art.
The impact of the Philadelphia region on the emergence and development of American still life is a theme that spans the entire exhibition. Mark D. Mitchell, the Associate Curator of American Art and Manager of the Center for American Art, said: “We examine not only still life’s development in America—motivated as much by wider cultural dynamics as by artistic taste—but also the distinctively regional association of American still life as a Philadelphia story.”
A fully illustrated catalogue, with essays by Bill Brown (University of Chicago), Carol Troyen (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), Katie Pfohl (Harvard University), and Mark D. Mitchell (Philadelphia Museum of Art) will accompany the exhibition and be distributed by Yale University Press. The catalogue will be available in October.
The exhibition is made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities, The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Peter R. & Cynthia K. Kellogg Foundation, and The Annenberg Foundation Fund for Major Exhibitions. Additional support is provided by Leigh P. and John S. Middleton, Mr. and Mrs. William C. Buck, the Estate of Phyllis T. Ballinger, Frank J. Hevrdejs, Bonnie and Peter McCausland, Russell C. Ball III, Sondra and Martin Landes, Jr., Washburn and Susan Oberwager, Sarah Miller Coulson, Leslie Miller and Richard Worley, an anonymous donor, other generous individuals, and by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. Related educational programming and resources are supported by The Center for American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The publication is supported by the Davenport Family Foundation, the Wyeth Foundation for American Art and The Andrew W. Mellon Fund for Scholarly Publications at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Mark D. Mitchell, formerly Associate Curator of American Art and Manager, Center for American Art, now The Holcombe T. Green Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture at the Yale University Art Gallery.
Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries, first floor
Tickets go on sale to the public September 15. Adults, $25, Seniors (65 & over), $23, Students (with valid ID), $20, Youth (13–18), $20; Children (12 & under), free, Members (Join), free. All tickets include an audio tour and are issued for a specific date and time, subject to availability. Tickets are issued for half-hour time slots.
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