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"Who's Who" of America painters featured in new BYU MOA exhibit

“The Yankee Spirit: Highlights from the New Britain Museum of American Art” July 1-Oct. 29

A new exhibition at the Brigham Young University Museum of Art will feature a Who’s Who of American painters from the 16th to the 21st centuries, including artists who many people will easily recognize by their last names: Homer, Whistler, O’Keeffe and Rockwell.
 
“The Yankee Spirit: Highlights from the New Britain Museum of American Art” will feature 59 masterpieces of American painting by artists from the eastern seaboard of the United States and will explore the regional perspectives these artists brought to their works. The paintings in this exhibition are drawn from the collection of the New Britain Museum of American Art in Connecticut, the first museum in the country solely devoted to collecting and exhibiting American art.
 
“The Yankee Spirit” will be on view from Friday, July 1 through Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011, in the Marian Adelaide Morris Cannon Gallery on the main level of the museum. Admission to the exhibition is free. Free docent-led tours can be scheduled with at least one week’s notice by calling the Museum Education Department at (801) 422-1140. More information will be available on the Museum of Art web site, moa.byu.edu.
 
The Museum of Art will host an exhibition preview on Thursday, June 30, 2011, from 7 to 9 p.m. Participants will enjoy entertainment and light refreshments in conjunction with the opening. The public is invited to attend. “The Yankee Spirit” is a 2011 America's Freedom Festival event.
 
In addition to seeing works by the artists listed above, visitors also will see portraits by Mather Brown, John Singleton Copley, Sarah Miriam Peale, John Singer Sargent, John Smibert and Gilbert Stuart, as well as landscape paintings by Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Edwin Church, Thomas Cole, Asher B. Durand, Fitz Henry Lane and Thomas Moran. Early modernist paintings by Marsden Hartley will hang alongside regionalist works by John Stuart Curry and Thomas Hart Benton and social realist works by Romare Bearden and Jacob Lawrence.
 
“This exhibition provides an unparalleled opportunity for Utah Valley residents and the broader Utah community to view so many American masterworks created in New York and New England, the cradle of American art,” said Marian Wardle, curator of American art at the BYU Museum of Art.
 
The works in the exhibition will be divided into three main themes: Yankees, Town and Country, and Ports of Exchange. The paintings in the “Yankees” section will explore the idea of what it means to be a Yankee. Works in the “Town and Country” section will examine how both city and country life were integral parts of the American settlement in New England.  The “Ports of Exchange” section will focus on New England’s emphasis on education and cultural production, which at first was inspired by their European heritage and Enlightenment ideals and later influenced by immigration and westward expansion.
 
“In large part the artists featured in this show are those who helped to propagate the idea of New England as a symbol for America,” said Danielle Hurd, graduate student curator of the exhibition. “However, as infusions of immigrants changed the ethnic make-up of New England and the nation’s borders pushed westward, it became apparent that American culture was also changing. As we enter the 21st century, the extent of this change is increasingly evident, although many of our original Yankee values remain intact.”

For more information, visit moa.byu.edu or call (801) 422-ARTS.

Writer: Christopher Wilson

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