Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Modern Masters: 20th Century Icons from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Modern Masters: 20th Century Icons from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery,
March 2–June 8, 2014, at the Denver Art Museum brings together approximately 50 iconic artworks by more than 40 influential artists from the late 19th century to the present. Curated by Dean Sobel, director of CSM, the exhibition is drawn from the collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, one of the finest collections of 20th-century art in the country.

Jackson Pollock, Convergence, 1952. Oil on canvas; support: 93-1/2 x 155 in. Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY. Gift of Seymour H. Knox, Jr., 1956. © 2013 Pollock-Krasner Foundation/ Artists Rights Society, New York. Photograph by Tom Loonan.

The exhibition provides an unparalleled opportunity to witness the major stylistic developments that shaped the course of modern art. Modern Masters will feature masterpieces by some of the most prominent names in art history including Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Georgia O’Keeffe, Salvador Dalí, Frida Kahlo and Andy Warhol as well as one of the finest drip paintings ever created by Jackson Pollock.

Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait with Monkey, 1938. Oil on Masonite; 16 x 12 in. Collection of Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY. Bequest of A. Conger Goodyear, 1966. © 2013 Banco de México Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

“Sometimes considered radical or off the wall, the artwork presented in these exhibitions explores a time of great creativity,” Sobel said. “It’s a rare treat to be able to see the development of modern art and then go next door to the Clyfford Still Museum and explore the evolution of one artist in-depth.”

A related exhibition, 1959, will be presented at the CSM February 14–June 15, 2014. Also curated by Sobel, 1959 re-creates Still’s landmark exhibition held at the Albright-Knox in the fall of 1959. This exhibition was the largest of Still’s career and the first following his decision to break ties with the art world in 1951. He included works made during the 1930s and major paintings made in New York during the 1950s. These artworks were not well known at the time and had never previously shown to the public. Further connecting the exhibitions and institutions, Modern Masters includes a strong example of Still’s work from this time period, PH-48, 1957.

“Modern Masters showcases one of the best collections of modern art in the country,” said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the DAM. “Not only are most of the iconic artists of the time represented, but the works themselves are masterpieces from each artist. We are thrilled to work with our neighbor the Clyfford Still Museum to bring this outstanding exhibition to Denver.”

Clyfford Still (American, 1904–1980), 1957-D No. 1
, 1957. Oil on canvas; support: 113 x 159 in. Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY. Gift of Seymour H. Knox, Jr., 1959. © 2013 The Estate of Clyfford Still and The Clyfford Still Museum, Denver, CO. Photograph by Tom Loonan.

The exhibition begins in the late 1800s and includes stellar examples of Post-Impressionism by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin, which provide a springboard for various expressionist and visionary tendencies apparent in later works throughout the exhibition. Modern Masters also considers ideas that contributed to the development—and conscious rejection—of the art movements Cubism, Surrealism, Pop Art, and Minimalism. The largest grouping in the exhibition features approximately 20 mid-century American artists, many of whom identified as Abstract Expressionists, including Pollock, Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell and Still. Still is uniquely associated with the Albright-Knox as a result of his gift of 31 paintings to that institution in 1964.

Joan Miró (Spanish, 1893-1983), Le Carnaval d'Arlequin (Carnival of Harlequin), 1924-25. Oil on canvas; support: 26 x 35-5/8 in. Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY. Room of Contemporary Art Fund, 1940. © 2013 Successió Miró S.L./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. Photograph by Tom Loonan.

The exhibition also brings to light other themes and tendencies that reappear throughout 20th-century art, such as subject matter drawn from everyday life and the emphasis on “process,” particularly in painting. During this time, the medium itself and the ways in which it was applied became an expressive agent for meaning and emotion.

Roy Lichtenstein (American, 1923–1997), Head—Red and Yellow, 1962. Oil on canvas; 48 x 48 in. Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY. Gift of Seymour H. Knox, Jr., 1962. © 2014 Estate of Roy Lichtenstein. Photograph by Tom Loonan. K1962.015

Paul Gauguin (French, 1848–1903). Spirit of the Dead Watching, 1892. Oil on burlap mounted on canvas; 28-3/4 x 36-3/8 in. Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY. A. Conger Goodyear Collection, 1965. Photograph by Tom Loonan.1965.001

This exhibition is organized by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York.