Crystal Bridges acquisitions and Fish Stories exhibition bring the natural world into the galleries

  • BENTONVILLE, Arkansas
  • /
  • April 02, 2015

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Samuel Kilbourne, 1836 - 1881 George Brown Goode, 1851 - 1896 Charles Scribner's Sons Red Snapper from "Game Fishes of the United States" (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1879), 1879-1880 Chromolithograph 14 × 20 in. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Library, Bentonville, Arkansas. Photography by Heugh-Edmondson Conservation Services, LLC.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art brings the great outdoors into the galleries with new acquisitions including Grant Wood, The American Golfer (1940); Wilhelm Hunt Diederich, Greyhounds (1913); and Edward Mitchell Bannister, Harvest (1884). In addition, Fish Stories: Early Images of American Game Fish, an exhibition that features 20 color plates by sporting artist Samuel Kilbourne, will be on view April 4 - September 21, 2015.

“We’re excited to provide our visitors with a glimpse into the many faucets of 19th and 20th-century life with works that capture American values, provide scientific documentation, and illustrate the playfulness of the great outdoors throughout history,” said Rod Bigelow, Crystal Bridges Executive Director.

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The American Golfer will debut in the Early 20th-Century Art Gallery on April 10; the gallery features artworks from 1920 to the 1940s and reflects a changing homeland as Americans were split between rural and urban life. Greyhounds will debut in the gallery bridge adjacent to the Early 20th-Century Art Gallery in late April, while Harvest will be on view in the Late 19th- Century Art Gallery on April 8.

Crystal Bridges Curator, Manuela Well-Off-Man said, “Grant Wood represents one of three major artists associated with Regionalism, along with Thomas Hart Benton and John Steuart Curry, both in our collection. The American Golfer is a classic example of the Regionalist style featuring an idyllic rural landscape of Wood’s native Midwest reflecting idealized American values that are also evident in the golfer's facial expression of hope and confidence. Diederich's sculpture Greyhounds was inspired by Art Deco and enhances our early modern sculpture collection, depicting the fluid motion, elegant lines, and liveliness of the animal.  Harvest adds to our 19th-century painting and African American art collections with an atmospheric scene of a farm worker harvesting hay in Bannister’s signature painterly style influenced by the Barbizon School.”

Grant Wood, The America Golfer, 1940. 36 1/2 x 48 in. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas

Fish Stories: Early Images of American Game Fish

Game Fishes of the United States, one of the largest and most spectacular of American sporting books, was printed in 1879 -1880 at the zenith of late 19th-century American chromolithography. The work, which is included in the Crystal Bridges Library collection, features 20 color plates based on the original watercolor paintings by well-known sporting artist Samuel Kilbourne, with text written by ichthyologist George Brown Goode, head of the fish research programs of the US Fish Commission and the Smithsonian.

“The collection in Fish Stories ranks among the most admired 19th-century color lithography and helps tell the story of American printmaking.” said Catherine Petersen, Crystal Bridges Library Director. “The exhibition provides a unique opportunity for art lovers, anglers, and families to explore distinctly American fish in their natural surroundings, many of which can be found in nearby rivers and lakes.”

The color plates capture a number of distinctly American fish in their natural surroundings, including the striped bass, sheepshead, bluefish, weakfish, red snapper, pompano, and brook trout. Each fish’s shimmering colors and delicate scales are amazingly vivid. This collection elegantly conveys the drama of sport fishing and highlights the exploration and celebration of nature in American art—one of the major themes in Crystal Bridges’ permanent collection. Fish Stories is sponsored by Paul and June Carter Family, Paul and Karen Mahan, Randy and Valorie Lawson/Lawco Energy Group, and Mark and Diane Simmons.

Wilhelm Hunt Diederich, Greyhounds, 1913. Bronze. 44 1/2 × 68 in. × 25 in. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas

Fish Stories and the new acquisitions embody Crystal Bridges’ mission to unite the power of art with the beauty of nature, We invite visitors to explore nature and its inhabitants in the galleries, and continue the discovery on our trails and grounds with miles of native plants and trees, soon to be in full bloom.” Bigelow adds.

Tags: american art

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