Art in America: Colonial Times to the Present
A new presentation of Joslyn Art Museum’s renowned collection of American and American Western art awaits visitors. Debuting August 9, the reinstallation of the Memorial Building's five north galleries highlights the history of American painting from 1750 to 1950, and features a new interpretation of the Museum’s collection of art of the American West and Plains Indian cultures.


Support for this reinstallation has been provided by the Gilbert M. and Martha H. Hitchcock Foundation, the Henry Luce Foundation, and The Sunderland Foundation.


Toby Jurovics, Joslyn's chief curator and Richard and Mary Holland Curator of American Western Art, said the galleries offer a new look at familiar favorites as well as important works that have been off view for many years. “Our desire is to offer a more cohesive narrative of the history of American Art, arranging our collection of painting, sculpture, and decorative arts chronologically from the Colonial period to the rise of Modernism in the twentieth century.”

The galleries are also rich with new views of Joslyn's nationally recognized collection of art of the American West, including its world-renowned Maximilian-Bodmer Collection. Jurovics noted, "One of our goals was to integrate the history of Euro-American art and exploration of the West with that of the American Indian cultures that inhabited the Upper Missouri River region. Works by Karl Bodmer and Alfred Jacob Miller, as well as key paintings by Charles Bird King and Henry Inman and objects from our collection of American Indian art, present the history of the peoples and landscape of the High Plains in a cohesive fashion for the first time at Joslyn." 


What's Pictured: (Above) Karl Bodmer (Swiss, 1809–1893), Síh-Chidä, Mandan Man, watercolor on paper, Gift of Enron Art Foundation, 1986;
(Right) John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925), Portrait of Mrs. A. Lawrence Rotch, 1903, oil on canvas, Lent anonymously, 1987;
(Below) Charles M. Russell (American, 1864–1926), Round-Up on the Musselshell, 1919, oil on canvas, Lent by William C. Foxley, 2006


Reinstallation Overview & Highlights:

American Origins
Portraits by James Peale (1749–1831) and Erastus Salisbury Field (1805–1900); early American furniture illustrating both a lingering European influence and a newly developing Federalist style; paintings by Thomas Cole (1801–1848) and Thomas Doughty (1793–1856), representing the Hudson River School — the first distinctly American art style. This gallery illustrates the emergence of an American art that reflected the new republic’s ideals and growing prosperity following the Revolution.

Across the Wide Missouri and Faces of the Upper Missouri
Ceremonial and utilitarian artifacts created by Indian tribes of the High Plains; portraits of American Indians done in the field by artist-explorers George Catlin (1796–1872), Karl Bodmer (1809–1893), and Alfred Jacob Miller (1810–1874); and studio portraits of Plains Indians painted by Charles Bird King (1785–1862) in Washington, D.C., and replicated in Philadelphia by Henry Inman (1801–1846). Combined, these installations reflect a vital profile of the peoples and culture of the Upper Missouri region.

An Expanding Presence
Scenes of everyday life by John George Brown (1831–1913), William Harnett (1848–1892), and Eastman Johnson (1824–1906); the rise of a new vision of landscape in paintings by Eanger Irving Couse (1866–1936) and Albert Blakelock (1847–1919); and American artists such as William Merritt Chase (1849–1916), Thomas Eakins (1844–1916), and John Singer Sargent (1856–1925), who were gaining recognition internationally in the latter half of the century. The works in the gallery illustrate the diversity of interests and growing international presence of American artists in the second half of the nineteenth century.



The Romantic Horizon and The Myth of the West
Grand, dramatic landscapes by Albert Bierstadt (1830–1902), Thomas Hill (1829–1908), Thomas Moran (1837–1926), and Worthington Whittredge (1820–1910), artists who traveled West and created paintings that inspired a nation. The artists in this gallery helped to shape an idealized image of the western landscape as an untouched wilderness that has persisted to the present day.

Artist-illustrators such as Frederic Remington (1861–1909), Charles Marion Russell (1864–1926), Charles Schreyvogel (1861–1912), William Robinson Leigh (1866–1955), and Maynard Dixon (1875–1946). Painters in this gallery created an image of the West as a rough-hewn paradise of rugged landscapes and daring action.

Realism, Abstraction, and Regionalism
Robert Henri (1865–1929) and John Sloan, whose realist work elevated the contemporary city and its inhabitants to the subject of fine art; abstraction and the influences of the European avant-garde in paintings by Stuart Davis (1892–1964) and Raymond Jonson (1891–1982); and the Regionalists Grant Wood (1892–1942), Thomas Hart Benton(1889–1975), and John Steuart Curry (1897–1946). The artists in this gallery reflect the complex and competing themes in American art during the first half of the twentieth century.