Monday, February 22, 2010

AIC: Galleries of American Art [Upper Level]

The two stories of the Rice Building, display the Art Institutes American permanent collection.. which includes paintings, sculptures and decorative arts..
Lower Level - 18th & 19th century of American Art
Upper Level - American Art from 1890 onwards..
This post is about American Modernism [Upper Level]
Galleries 261-265, 271-273..

When I was standing in front of the "Nighthawks" by Edward Hopper, I overheard someone saying that it was his all time favourite. And I couldn't agree more. This is one of my personal favourites too! An example of Ashcan School of Art, which is one great contribution of New York to the field of art. A harsher view of the world, as against the genteel American Expressionism, portraying city's gritty, improvised reality, the life of the middle and lower income groups, the anonymity, the loneliness, the melancholy and ironically the beauty of it!

"American Gothic", is another of the very famous paintings, in the Institutes huge collection and has been subject to many parodies, including the "God Bless America" sculpture by Steward Johnson in the Pioneer Court. Although I can understand it's huge popularity, I have never been very fond of it. It depicts a farmer and his spinster daughter, and that the models [painter's sister and his dentist] never actually posed together. The only thing I find very obvious, is the very Midwestern setting.

One that I really like is "Nightlife" by Archibald John Motley Jr. One can easily imagine the exuberance and energy in one of Bronzeville's nightspots. Stuart Davis' "Ready-to-Wear" is another interesting piece, easily discernible is the influence of European Modernism, although it conveys something very American, the invention of ready-to-wear clothing.

A significant name in American Modernism is that of Georgia O'Keefee. Her style has been succinctly put on the Art Institute's website..approached her subjects, whether buildings or flowers, landscapes or bones, by intuitively magnifying their shapes and simplifying their details to underscore their essential beauty..

Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent were both American expatriates.. Mary Cassatt lived most of her adult life in France and her works were exhibited in many Impressionist exhibitions. Many of her work are on the theme of women and children. She was influenced by Japanese prints which is reflected in her painting "The Child's Bath". John Singer Sargent lived in Germany, Italy and France. He was famous for portraits as well as landscapes..

Among the sculptures, I'm particularly fond of "Dancer and Gazelles" by Paul Manship in 1916, mostly because it has such an Indian touch.. I have taken it's photo, every single time I've been to the Art Institute. It's reminiscent of so many Rajasthan paintings I've seen growing up in India..

Above images..
- Woman [Elevation].. By Gaston Lachaise
[Modeled 1912-15, Cast 1927]
- Diana.. By Frederick W. MacMonnies
[Modeled 1889, cast after 1900]

For more on.. [click on the link]..
The Art Institute of Chicago...

No comments: