Photographer unknown, Elie Nadelman, c. 1905-08. Photograph courtesy of the Estate of Elie Nadelman.
Elie Nadelman and the Influence of Folk Art
On View: October 8 - December 30, 2010
The Demuth Museum's exhibition and accompanying catalogue will bring together important pieces from the original folk art collection of Elie and Viola Nadelman and examine the influence of these works on Nadelman, the sculptor. Like other early American Modernists, Elie Nadelman looked to earlier art forms for inspiration and these links will be explored in this exhibit with the display of Nadelman's own drawings and sculptures.
In forming their ground-breaking collection of folk art, the Nadelmans traveled throughout the East Coast and specifically Lancaster County for the best examples of American folk art. The two basic principles that framed their collection were: "folk art had intrinsic artistic value" and "folk art had importance in any total view of American Art." By 1926 they found that their voracious habit of collecting was more than their private homes could accommodate and the Nadelmans opened the country's first folk art museum. While their original collection was dispersed after the stock market crash of 1929, Elie Nadelman consistently returned to the folk art he collected for inspiration in materials and forms that defines his later body of work. The exhibit will contain over 50 works by Nadelman and folk art examples.
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Carl van Vechten, Charles Demuth and Georgia O'Keeffe on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, c. 1930. Demuth Museum Archives. Photograph reproduced by permission of the van Vechten Trust.
A Kinship in Art: Charles Demuth and Georgia O'Keeffe
On view: September 3 - October 3, 2010
The Demuth Museum presents a unique examination of the friendship and art work of Charles Demuth and Georgia O'Keeffe. Although their artistic styles were clearly independent, these two artists supported each other in their own creations of the new American modernism in the early 20th century. While Demuth and O'Keeffe socialized in the same circles in New York City, including their mutual connection with the gallerist Alfred Stieglitz, they established their own special bond. This exhibition features several works by Demuth drawn from the Museum's collection, as well as a suite of original lithographs made by O'Keeffe in 1968 of her drawings from the teens.
Charles Demuth, Landscape with Windmill #1, 1896, watercolor and graphite on paper, Collection of the Demuth Museum, Lancaster, PA.
Charles Demuth: Early Influences
On View: June 22 - August 29, 2010
First Friday Reception: July 2, 5-7 pm
The Demuth Museum's current exhibition features the early influences and childhood art work of Charles Demuth. Demuth, who was born in Lancaster in 1883, grew up in a home in which his early artistic talent was recognized and encouraged by his family. Demuth continued to find inspiration in Lancaster throughout his entire artistic career, consistently returning to the city for his primary subject matter and to work in his studio here on East King Street.
Charles' mother, Augusta, encouraged her son's talents through childhood play and by teaching him needlework. Demuth learned how to work with a burin, paint on china, and studied painting and drawing with local artists. Charles' father, Ferdinand, also played a major role in influencing his son's talents. Ferdinand, an amateur photographer, would include Charles on his sojourns with the camera club to the countryside. Ferdinand also took photographs of local architecture, the circus, and Buffalo Bill's Wild West show parading down King Street. These early photographs of the city of Lancaster and its happenings, as well as the process of making them, would later influence Charles' own ways of creating art.
These early artistic experiences and training helped to solidify Charles' wish to attend the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia and become an artist. This exhibit will examine the artist's early interactions with art teachers and his relationship with his mother and father, as well as consider the time period and type of household in which Demuth was raised. These various influences shaped Charles' artistic expression and explain his consistent return to the subject matter of Lancaster for over ninety percent of his work.
Eva Stina Bender's Swedish Sojourns
On View: April 3 - May 15, 2010
First Friday Reception: April 2, 2010, 5-8 pm
This exhibit was sponsored by Thomas Hills Cook.
The Demuth Museum's forthcoming exhibition will feature the watercolors of Eva Stina Bender. For the first time in many years, Bender spent last winter in her native Sweden. The impetus for the trip was family, but the body of work that emerged while she was there is unique. Bender, who works primarily in watercolor that has its underpinnings in pencil drawings, took the stark light and raw winter landscape and created very fresh and contemporary works. Using smaller format paper, which was given to her by a friend, these winter landscapes are minimalist and form a new contemporary aspect to her work. For those familiar with Bender's lush representations of the flora and fauna of the Mt. Gretna area, these never-before-exhibited works will provide an insightful contrast to those works, and help to unlock the artist's methodology.
The second portion of the exhibit will focus on Bender's summer travels to Sweden. This portion of the exhibit will contrast to the winter scenes in that sparse scenes are infused with green blades of grass, bright spots of colorful wild flowers and unexpected details such as a branch full of leaves, a red mushroom or a few ripples in the water, allowing the viewer to sense the vastness of the sea, the calm of a meadow, a quiet front porch, or the coolness of a rock.
Bender studied painting but found herself working in the field of journalism because she thought it was "safer." After studying as an exchange student in the US, Bender married and continued to live here. She is self-taught in watercolor and employs the traditional techniques; yet the artist allows herself freedom to explore the medium in new ways. As a teacher, she affords her students this freedom as well. Bender believes letting the watercolor bloom or leaving the work in what others would consider an "unfinished" state is an important experience for her as an artist as well as a teacher.
The Annual Invitational Exhibition
On View: February 6 - 28, 2010
This Annual Invitational exhibition features artworks by thirty-four local artists, working thematically with the performances found in an evening at a vaudeville theater. These live performances, which were made-up of several different acts, were a favorite of Demuth's. He particularly loved the jugglers, comedy acts and animal performers that comprised an evening's entertainment. Demuth frequented the Capitol Theater on Queen street, just a short walk from his home.
Images: Charles Demuth, In Vaudeville, Two Dancers, 1920; Eileen France, Parisian Mime, 2010;
Marlin Bert, CIRCUS 1935, 2010; Reed Dixon, Phantom of the Opera, 2009; Susan Gottlieb, Magic To Do, 2009; Ellen Slupe, Celebrate!, 2010; Jerome Wright, Woman Singing Blues, 2009; Fred Rodger and Bev Zimmerman, Sandro and Yuri, 2010