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American Masters Art of the 20th – 21st centuries

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101 Stone Block Row, Breck’s Mill, 2nd Floor, Greenville, DE 19807 (302) 652-0271


During the last 120 years the Wyeth family created an astounding dynasty of American painters. After N.C. Wyeth began his tutorage with Howard Pyle in 1900, N.C. taught his son Andrew, who in turn taught his son, Jamie, developing an amazing family schooled in the tradition and skills of art passed from one generation to the next. They emerged as internationally esteemed American artists in the realist/ representational tradition. As they created masterpieces, a concurrent art tradition was developing another trajectory for American art. Somerville Manning Gallery's exhibition of American Masters paintings places the Wyeth family in the milieu of the art of their times. When the 1913 Armory Show in New York exposed America to European Modernism, a new ethos began to emerge as artists experimented with shapes, line, forms and colors that did not create a direct representation of their subject. This transformation continued through the Depression and the advent of World War II, which brought the artists, poets, musicians, writers, psychologists, scientists, and intellectuals to New York to escape persecution in Nazi occupied Europe. Hans Hofmann brought not only his art and ideas from Germany in 1930, but influenced an entire generation of American artists with his teaching and schools. Included in this exhibition are works by artists Arshile Gorky, Red Grooms, Helen Frankenthaler, and Wolf Kahn, all of whom either studied or associated with Hofmann. His work and influence typifies the artistic transformation that affected so many American artists. This exhibition takes you on a journey with the Wyeths and explores the art world surrounding them in a tumultuous century of metamorphosis. American Masters juxtaposes the solidity of the Wyeth creative genius, alongside other representational artists such as William Glackens, Rae Sloan Bredin, Thomas Hart Benton, Leon Kroll and Fairfield Porter, in contrast to those artists that lead a path to American nonobjective painting. Victoria L. Manning

Will Barnet (1911-2012) | The Swing, 1963 | oil on canvas | 45 3/8 x 25 3/4 inches signed Will Barnet, lower right; signed again and dated Aug. 1963 on the reverse

“I didn't compromise, ever. The old masters are still alive after 400 years, and that's what I want to be.� - Will Barnet to the New York Times, 2003

Thomas Hart Benton (1889 - 1975) | Going to Church, c. 1930s-40s | watercolor, ink wash, and graphite, en grisaille | 10 1/2 x 14 1/2 inches signed Benton, lower right

While some of Benton’s drawings were used as studies for his oils and mural decorations, others were conceived as independent works of art. Inspired by his travels through the Midwest and the South, he depicted the people and scenery of rural America - such is the case with Going to Church.

Oscar Bluemner (1867 - 1938) | Tars, Alzo “Flach� Soho Fat Mill, 1920 | watercolor on paper | 3 7/8 x 5 inches signed OFB, lower left; dated Feb 20-20 and inscribed with title on the reverse

Intent on creating dramatic and emotional works, Bluemner used bold colors in daring combinations and forms to evoke mood. As a color theorist, Bluemner was interested in how pure color carried emotional and psychological impact.

Rae Sloan Bredin (1880 - 1933) | Little White House, c. 1915 | oil on canvas | 25 x 30 inches bears original frame

Exhibited Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme, CT, Earth, River, and Light: Masterworks of Pennsylvania Impressionism, June 28 - September 28, 2003 James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown, PA, Rae Sloan Bredin: Harmony and Power, March 24 - July 15, 2018

Helen Frankenthaler (1928 - 2011) | Untitled, 1973 | oil on linen covered book | 11 x 11 3/8 inches

This work is part of a 62-book series in which Frankenthaler painted the covers of books about her work, as a substitute for a traditional first-edition run. Thirty of the painted book (including this painting) were exhibited together as part of a show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1973.

William James Glackens (1870 - 1938) | Le Baou des Blancs, 1925-6 | oil on canvas | 25 1/2 x 31 3/4 inches

The Glackens family spent much time in the late 1920s living in France. The winter of 1925 was spent in the south, in Vence where this painting was completed. Provenance The estate of the artist

Arshile Gorky (1904 - 1948) | Untitled, c. 1946 | pencil and pastel on paper | 11 1/8 x 14 13/16 inches

Exhibited University Art Museum, University of Texas Austin, Austin, TX, Arshile Gorky: Drawings to Paintings, October 12 - November 23, 1975

Red Grooms (b. 1937) | Animal Instincts, 1992 | collage and mixed media | 30 x 46 inches signed and dated Red Grooms ‘92, lower center

Exhibited Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, NY, Wild Kingdom, November 17, 2018 - March 3, 2019

William Gropper (1897 - 1977) | Night Club, 1973 | oil on canvas | 20 x 24 inches signed Gropper, upper right

In 1937, Gropper traveled west on a Guggenheim Fellowship and visited the Dust Bowl and the Hoover and Grand Coulee Dams, sketching studies for a series of paintings and a mural he painted for the Department of the Interior in Washington, DC. That same year he had paintings purchased by both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art.

Marsden Hartley (1877 - 1943) | Ski Signs,1939 | oil on board | 22 x 28 inches signed, dated and titled Marsden Hartley/1939-1940/Ski Signs, on the reverse

Exhibited National Museum for American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., John and Dorothy Rood Collection Boise Art Museum, Boise, ID

Al Held (1928 - 2005) | 76-C11, 1976 | colored pencil on paper | 27 x 40 inches

“Al Held was one of the last and best of the big impact Abstract painters to emerge from the postWar era.� - Ken Johnson, New York Times Art Critic

Al Held working on his mural at 300 Spring Garden, Philadelphia, PA

Hans Hofmann (1880 - 1966) | Mosaic for Apartment House Sketch No 4, 1956 | gouache and ink on paper | 38 1/2 x 22 1/4 inches signed Hans Hofmann, lower right

Exhibited Walls of Color: The Murals of Hans Hofmann, 2016, traveled to The Bruce Museum, Greenwich, CT; The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, Miami, FL; The Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill, NC

Hans Hofmann (1880 - 1966) | Reclining Figure, 1942 | gouache on museum ragboard | 41 x 30 1/2 inches signed Hans Hofmann, lower right

Provenance The Estate of Hans Hofmann

Exhibited University Art Museum, University of California, Berkeley, CA, Hans Hofmann, October 15 - December 15, 1986

Jasper Johns (b. 1937) | #1, After ‘Untitled 1975’, 1976 | color lithograph printed by Edward Henderson and Mark Stock on Rives BFK paper, with the blind stamp of the printer, Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles | 28 3/4 x 28 1/2 inches Numbered lower left: AP 13/13 Jaspers Johns, lower right


Beginning with his 1972 painting Untitled, Johns developed his motif of crosshatched lines in increasingly complex systems, experimenting with colors, patterns, mirroring and reversals. Over the next ten years, Johns produced many variations on the theme in both paintings and prints.

Wolf Kahn (1927-2020) | Yellow Top of the Ridge, 2004 | oil on canvas | 36 x 52 inches signed W.Kahn, lower left

Wolf Kahn, who will be remembered for his luminous, color-saturated landscapes, passed away on March 15, 2020, a few months after his wife the painter Emily Mason predeceased him on December 10, 2019.

Abraham Leon Kroll (1884 - 1974) | Gull Rock, 1913 | oil on canvas | 25 x 30 inches signed and dated Kroll ‘13, lower right

Exhibited Monhegan Historical & Cultural Museum, Monhegan, ME, Side by Side on Monhegan: The Henri Circle and American Impressionists, July 1 - September 20, 2004 Literature Leon Kroll; A Spoken Memoir by Fredson Bowers and Nancy Hale, pl. 31 (as Maine Rocks and Sea, 1913) University of Virginia Press

Emily Mason (1931 - 2019) | Arc de Triomphe, 2018 | oil on canvas | 52 x 46 inches Provenance The estate of the artist

“Mason works within the improvisational model of Abstract Expressionism, though notably without angst or bravado.� - Robert Berlind, Art in America

Fairfield Porter (1907- 1975) | Cover Bridge, c. 1965 | watercolor on paper | 12 x 18 inches signed Fairfield Porter/AEP, lower right by the artist’s widow

Exhibited The Parrish Art Museum, Southhampton, NY 1977 Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, ME, Fairfield Porter’s Maine Literature Fairfield Porter: An American Classic by John T. Spike, 1992, p. 295

Norman Rockwell (1894 - 1978) | Portrait of Helene Bok, c. 1944 | pencil on paper | 14 x 11 inches signed Norman Rockwell, lower right

Helene Bok was married to Cary Bok, the son of Mary Louise Curtis Bok, founder of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, PA

Frank E. Schoonover (1877 - 1972) | Pickerel, 1917 | oil on canvas | 34 x 24 inches signed an dated Schoonover ‘17, lower left

Cover illustration for Top Notch Magazine, December 1, 1917

Joseph Stella (1877 - 1946) | Swans (Night), 1917 | pastel on paper | 18 3/4 x 24 1/2 inches signed J. Stella, lower right

Similar work of note: Joseph Stella Song of the Nightingale, 1918 Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, NY

N.C. Wyeth (1884 - 1945) | The Artist’s Studio, c. 1908-10 | oil on canvas | 25 1/4 x 30 1/4 inches Andrew Wyeth identified the location as the yard of property N. C. Wyeth rented in Chadds Ford between April 1908 and March 1911; the building is the studio in which Wyeth painted the illustrations for Treasure Island.

The carriage house/studio in June 1910, in a photo probably taken by N. C. Wyeth.

Please contact the gallery for available paintings by Andrew Wyeth in the American Masters exhibition

Jamie Wyeth (b. 1946) | a.w. drawing, 2018 | acrylic, gouache, watercolor, and graphite on Cresent toned paperboard | 19 1/2 x 15 1/2 inches signed J. Wyeth, upper right

Andy Warhol and Jamie Wyeth

Jamie Wyeth (b. 1946) | Study of Rudolph Nureyev (Study #91), 1977 | graphite and gouache on paper | 48 x 36 inches signed J. Wyeth, lower left

''I did not paint him because he was a great ballet dancer,'' Mr. Wyeth said. ''I thought he was extraordinary-looking. He just had this magnetism, this amazing presence.''

Jamie Wyeth (b. 1946) | The Plow, 1983 | watercolor and gouache on paper | 21 1/4 x 29 1/2 inches signed J. Wyeth, upper left

William Zorach (1887 - 1966) | Devotion (Mother and Child) | terracotta | 7 1/4 x 6 x 6 inches

“Every artist throughout history has expressed himself through a life motif. I have chosen the mother and child . . . [this composition] is the embodiment and expression of the love of man for his family . . .� William Zorach, Art is My Life, 1967

Profile for Somerville Manning Gallery

American Masters – Art of the 20th – 21st Centuries - Exhibition Catalogue  

Somerville Manning Gallery is pleased to announce the American Masters – Art of the 20th – 21st Centuries exhibition on view from March 27 –...

American Masters – Art of the 20th – 21st Centuries - Exhibition Catalogue  

Somerville Manning Gallery is pleased to announce the American Masters – Art of the 20th – 21st Centuries exhibition on view from March 27 –...