People and Places
January 8 - May 5, 2019 - Hugh and Jeannette McKean Gallery
Selections from the Orlando Museum of Art American Art Collection
This exhibition features paintings and sculptures spanning a period of over two hundred years, exploring themes of portraiture and landscape that have continued to interest artists over time. These genres have remained relevant to artists, with each generation adapting them to their ever changing cultural ideas about personal identity, society and the environment. These changes can be seen in how the artist conceives and presents the subject, as well as the choice of artistic styles.
Early American portraits, such as The William Denning Family (1772) by William Williams, present their subjects formally dressed and posed as they would be seen in any public setting. Williams does not include details that reveal intimate personal attributes of the subjects, instead his painting directs the viewer’s attention to signs of social status, such as the quality of clothing and the grand garden setting. By the late 19th century, artists became much more interested in revealing the character and spirit of their subjects. This can be seen in Childe Hassam’s affectionate portrait of his friend Edith Blaney, as well as Robert Henri’s lively portrait of Rosaline, a child who lived in the village where Henri spent his summers. Details such as the gardening book Mrs. Blaney holds or the doll in Rosaline’s lap gives the viewer a glimpse of insight into the interests and personalities of these individuals.
Among landscape paintings in this exhibition are works of the 19th century that express the inspirational qualities of natural scenery, expansive vistas and light-filled skies. The reverence for nature that these paintings convey became a central theme of American art and has remained so since. Throughout the 19th and into the 20th centuries, each generation of painters sought to interpret nature and landscape with fresh artistic styles. In the manner of the Hudson River School, Johann Herman Carmiencke’s view of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains combines an idyllic grandness with closely observed detail. Frank Benson’s painting of a lily pond on his farm in Maine reflects his mastery of the French Impressionist style and his admiration for the work of Claude Monet. Charles Sheeler’s nearly abstract composition of barns and silos seen in rural Pennsylvania shows the artist applying advanced concepts of European modernism to a prosaic form of American architecture.
The Orlando Museum of Art’s American art collection is the result of financial support for acquisitions provided by Friends of American Art, gifts from individuals and special loans from the Martin Andersen-Gracia Andersen Foundation.
Frank Weston Benson
The Hudson River at Hyde Park, New York
Johann Herman Carmiencke
The Young Artist
Thomas Mickell Burnham
Seascape with Sailboats and Dory
Alfred Thompson Bricher
The St. Johns River Entering the Atlantic Ocean
Portrait of Edith Blaney
Still Life with Pipe, Newspaper & Tobacco Pouch
William Michael Harnett
Landscape, Greene County, New York
Fisherman's Beach, Monhegan
At the Kitchen Window
De Scott Evans
West Shore Terminal
Henry Siddons Mowbray
Portrait of David Lapsley
Portrait of Jane Lapsley
Portrait of Three Children
The William Denning Family