"Bold, Cautious, True: Walt Whitman and American Art of the Civil War Era" On-View at Katonah Museum of Art

  • KATONAH, New York
  • /
  • October 18, 2009

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Winslow Homer (1836-1910), Trooper Meditating Beside a Grave, 1865
Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, NE

The Katonah Museum of Art (www.katonahmuseum.org) will present Bold, Cautious, True: Walt Whitman and American Art of the Civil War Era October 18, 2009 through January 24, 2010. Through excerpts of Whitman’s writing paired with some of the most important artworks of the mid-nineteenth century, Bold, Cautious, True creates an authentic window to America’s social and art history, with a poignant view of its bloodiest war.

A champion of America and the individual, Whitman contributed to the war through his literary talents and by nursing wounded soldiers.  Although he published no poetry during the Civil War, he wrote many poems about his war experiences for later editions of his legendary Leaves of Grass. His poetic language and his celebration of the individual paralleled the changes taking hold in American art during and after the Civil War. Highlighting Whitman’s poems such as “Drum Taps,” the literature of Bold, Cautious, True helps viewers read the exhibition and the period as a whole.

With Whitman’s literary art along with the work of artists such as Winslow Homer, Eastman Johnson, Sanford Robinson Gifford, Frederic Church, and John Frederick Kensett trace the emotional and political themes of the fratricidal war—secession, death, emancipation, and an uncertain future for a young country. Organized into five thematic sections, The Poetics of a House Divided; The Poetics of Service; The Wound Dresser; The Poetics of Endings and Beginnings; and Bold, Cautious, True, the exhibition – with close to 60 works – is a landmark study that sheds light on the cross-currents of history, literature, and the visual arts illuminating a troubled era in American history.

Bold, Cautious, True is being presented in partnership with the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis, TN (www.dixon.org) where the show was organized and originally opened in July 2009.  The exhibition includes a handsome 180-page hardcover catalogue written by Kevin Sharp, Director of the Dixon.

Neil Watson, Executive Director of the KMA, said, “The Katonah Museum of Art is proud to partner with the Dixon Gallery and Gardens on such a groundbreaking exhibition.  This is a stunning show, with an original perspective that is galvanizing.  The exhibition and accompanying catalogue will change the way we think about American art during the Civil War era.

General Information

The Katonah Museum of Art is located at 134 Jay Street (Route 22) in Katonah, NY.  For information call 914-232-9555 or visit www.katonahmuseum.org


By Train: From Grand Central Terminal (Harlem Division of Metro North):  The Katonah Museum of Art is located 1/2 mile east of the Katonah railroad station.  Taxi service is available.
By Car: Take Exit 6 off Interstate 684.  Go east on Route 35.  Take the first right onto Route 22 south.  The Museum is located1/4 mile on the left.
Museum Hours

Tuesday through Saturday, 10am-5pm, Sunday 12-5pm, Closed Monday.

Admission: 10am– 12pm, free; 12– 5 pm, $5 general, $3 for seniors and students; Members and children under 12 free

Free Docent-Led Guided Tours

Tuesday through Saturday, 2:30 pm. Tours are free with admission to the Museum.

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Marcia Clark
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(845) 528-6647

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