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Tag: American Art and Portrait Gallery Library

Hard-edged, Bright Color: Generations of Color

Thomas Downing's examples of grids and dots
Thomas Downing’s examples of solid dots within rigid grids

In conjunction with the exhibition “Hard-edged, Bright Color: The Washington Color School” at the American Art and Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library, the blog will be exploring the group of color artists to accompany the exhibit running until late spring. We’ll be exploring three of the “first generation” Washington Color School artists: Thomas Downing, Howard Mehring, and Paul Reed.

Hard-edged, Bright Color: The Washington Color School.

Hard-Edged, Bright Color
“The idea of bands of color, hard-edged, bright color. It was like a breath of fresh air in the early ’60s, because all this messy sh*t, you know, that was going on in New York — we provided an alternative.” Gene Davis oral history transcript, Archives of American Art.

With the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s upcoming exhibition, Gene Davis: Hot Beat, the American Art and Portrait Gallery (AA/PG) Library is hosting a complementary exhibition of ephemera showcasing a group known as the Washington Color Painters, or perhaps better recognized by their more dubious title, the Washington Color School.

1970s Face-off: Portrait Exchange by Jamie Wyeth and Andy Warhol

This post was written by Sofia Silva, Katzenberger Intern at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library and American Art & Portrait Gallery Library as part of a series exploring the Art & Artists Files at the Smithsonian Libraries.

 

Cover of the invitation to the 1976 exhibition "Andy Warhol and Jamie Wyeth Portraits of Each Other" at the Coe Kerr Gallery-- Hirshhorn
Cover of the invitation to the 1976 exhibition “Andy Warhol and Jamie Wyeth Portraits of Each Other” at the Coe Kerr Gallery– Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library.

 

Though contemporaries, the artists James Browning Wyeth and Andy Warhol could not be more diametrically opposed. James, more commonly known as Jamie, is a third-generation member of the famed Wyeth family, who are celebrated as central figures in the revival of realism in American art (his father is Andrew Wyeth, painter of the American classic Christina’s World and his grandfather, N.C. Wyeth is acclaimed painter of vast landscapes and epic narratives of early Americana). Jamie continued this family tradition as a portraitist and landscape painter, whose naturalistic approach to painting produced highly detailed and visually complex work that captured life in rural Maine, Delaware and Pennsylvania.

Miró and Pierre Matisse: 55 Years of Partnership found in the Art & Artist Files

If you think of Jean Dubuffet, Yves Tanguy, Balthus, Alberto Giacometti, Marc Chagall, and Joan Miró, you may instantly think of some of the most famous canvases and sculptures of modern art. These artists have been immortalized in art history as key figures within Modernism, a position made even more apparent by their countless works housed in some of the most important museums around the world. A name less recognizable is that of Pierre Matisse, the art dealer and gallerist who represented each of the artists mentioned above at various moments throughout his 50-plus year career.

Rise and Shine: Pop Art Breakfast by Roy Lichtenstein

If life were like a work of art, what would it look like? How would you take the most ordinary daily routine, such as breakfast, and transform it into an artistic masterpiece? While looking through the Art and Artist Files at the Hirshhorn Museum and American Art/Portrait Gallery libraries, I was given a better idea of what it would be like to have breakfast in the boldly graphic world of Roy Lichtenstein, one of the most important figures in Pop Art.

Surrealism for the Masses: Finds from the Art and Artist Files

 

Caption Reads: "Salvador Dali (above, pictured with his portrait of Picasso) believes that he is ideally suited to create a comic strip for Americans"-- Hirshhorn
“Salvador Dali (above, pictured with his portrait of Picasso) believes that he is ideally suited to create a comic strip for Americans”– Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library.

 

The world of modern art is at times criticized for a certain reputation of exclusivity and mystery in which the more inaccessible a certain artist or artwork may be, the more valuable and reputable the art becomes. Salvador Dali, the most famed member of the twentieth century avant-garde movement, Surrealism, on the other hand, challenges this perception that artistic creation is a closed-off affair for an elite few. Sure, Dali was no humble man of the people, and in fact is famous for his eccentric, narcissistic personality as he continually declared himself the most talented and significant artist of his generation (let’s not forget his autobiography graciously titled Diary of a Genius). However, Dali walks the line between artist and popular culture sensation as he created artwork that was meant to be seen and consumed by everyone. Many examples of Dali’s remarkable work may be found in the Art and Artists Files of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Library and the American Art & Portrait Gallery Library at the Smithsonian, as well as the nearby National Gallery of Art Library.