March 22, 2018 (Detroit)—The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is organizing two exhibitions of American paintings from the Richard and Jane Manoogian collection that will be on view throughout the state of Michigan this year and next. The tours are part of the DIA’s efforts to provide exhibitions and other services to institutions, organizations and communities throughout the State of Michigan.
“Visions of American Life: Paintings from the Manoogian Collection, 1850–1940,” will be on view at the Bonifas Art Center in Escanaba from April 5 to May 23, the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City, Oct. 21, 2018–Jan. 20, 2019 and Flint Institute of Arts Sept. 21–Dec. 30, 2019. “American Spectacle: Paintings from the Manoogian Collection” will be at the Grand Rapids Art Museum June 8–Aug. 5, 2018, Clinton Arts Center in Clinton Aug. 12–Oct. 7, 2018 and the Muskegon Museum of Art Feb. 14–April 28, 2019.
The Detroit Institute of Arts, with the support of corporations, foundations and individuals, joined a unique consortium of major foundations and the State of Michigan as a key partner in the historic $816 million Grand Bargain in 2014. The museum now holds the collection, building and grounds in a charitable trust, ensuring that this treasured resource will continue to serve the people of Michigan for generations to come.
As part of the agreement, the DIA provides a number of services to institutions, organizations and communities throughout Michigan. In addition to the Statewide Exhibition Program, the DIA also offers conservation services and professional development opportunities for museum staffs, and programs for teachers throughout the state.
Salvador Salort-Pons, director of the Detroit Institute of Arts, commented that “A central element of our vision is to serve audiences across the state of Michigan through statewide programming, and to find new ways of bringing the diversity of our collections to communities that may not have ready access to the DIA. With this support from Terra-Art Bridges, as well as access to the extraordinary Manoogian Collection, we are able to highlight the incredible diversity of American art. We also gain an opportunity to learn from the expertise and experience of other institutions, and to collaborate with them to create exhibitions that address the interests of a range of different audiences.”
These exhibitions have been organized by the DIA and made possible by the Richard and Jane Manoogian Collection. Generous support has been provided by the Richard and Jane Manoogian Foundation.
“Jane and I are delighted to partner with the DIA in sharing our collection with citizens throughout Michigan and hope they enjoy this opportunity as much as we enjoyed planning this exhibition,” said DIA Chairman Emeritus Richard A. Manoogian.
The DIA’s collaborations with the Bonifas Art Center, Clinton Arts Center, Dennos Museum Center, Flint Institute of Arts, Grand Rapids Art Museum and the Muskegon Museum of Art are made possible by Terra-Art Bridges, an initiative of the Terra Foundation for American Art. The DIA is among the first museums to receive Terra-Art Bridges grants as part of this $15 million initiative to examine and test new approaches to sharing collections, increasing scholarship, and expanding access to and experiences of American art.
“Visions of American Life: Paintings from the Manoogian Collection, 1850–1940”
The 40 paintings by 33 artists in this exhibition reflect the beauty artists have found in the people, landscapes, and distinctive cultures that surround them. Amid the cultural, political and economic shifts that occurred between 1850 and 1940 painters developed fresh ways of depicting the country and its people, creating new visions of American life.
For many American artists, the ancient and majestic grandeur of the natural landscape suggested the character of the young nation. Thomas Moran’s “The Great Cave, Pictured Rocks” shows distinctive cliffs on Michigan’s shore of Lake Superior. The cliffs were layered with meaning for Moran because of their beauty and the literary association with Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic “Song of Hiawatha.”
Edward Lamson Henry’s “Election Day 1844,” painted in 1913, looks at the divisive presidential election that pitted Henry Clay against James K. Polk. They clashed over the annexation of Texas from Mexico and the expansion of slavery into newly established territories. Henry signifies the country’s deep divisions and hints at the Civil War to come by using a road to split the crowd in two.
Works about domestic spaces include Francis Davis Millet’s “The Window Seat,” which shows a young woman crocheting. She sits informally on a window seat with her feet propped on a chair, her neck bent as she counts stitches. Light from the window filters through the gauzy curtains, highlighting the embroidered silk of her dress and the delicate loop of yarn in her hand. In views like this, artists appeal to the familiar and casual intimacy of domestic life.
“After the Hunt” by Richard La Barre Goodwin depicts a gun leaning against a wooden door surrounded by recently shot birds hanging by their feet. The great volume of ducks and small birds attests to the hunter’s skill as a marksman and their variety indicates the cabin is in a natural setting with plenty of nearby wildlife. Taken together, the vignette provides a romantic vision of a deft hunter supplying his family with natural abundance.
Among the paintings of public spaces is “Central Park” by impressionist Childe Hassam who found in New York’s Central Park a combination of his two preferred subjects—verdant landscapes and views of the city. Although the women and girls depicted would have been surrounded by the towering apartment buildings lining the urban park, Hassam instead chose to create a beautiful natural oasis and respite from the smoke and noise of the city.
Growing cities, bolstered by migration from the countryside and immigration from around the globe, took on new character and form that transformed their skylines. Frederick Rondel’s “Statue of Liberty Celebration” depicts crowds that thronged New York harbor in rowboats, yachts, steamships and ferries to celebrate the statue’s debut in 1886. The statue quickly became associated with immigration, in part for its proximity to Ellis Island, where foreigners first entered the country. This painting suggests the optimism and enthusiasm Americans held for the modern landmarks reshaping their cities.
This exhibition features a selection of 11 paintings by 10 artists featured in “Visions of American Life: Paintings from the Manoogian Collection, 1850–1940.”
About Art Bridges, Inc.
Art Bridges, Inc., is a 501c3 focused on sharing outstanding works of American art with audiences have limited access to our country’s rich artistic heritage. Collaborating with museums and institutions of all sizes and in all parts of the country, Art Bridges helps create and fund exhibitions, bringing together artwork from museum partners, private lenders, foundations and a collection that will be established as a part of Art Bridges. Possible partner institutions range from large museums with deep collections they are unable to fully display, to small and mid-sized museums seeking to share a wider range of artworks with visitors. The exhibitions supported by Art Bridges will include in-depth educational and interpretive materials, and will range from single-object loans to fully developed thematic exhibitions. Additional information, including a list of works currently in the Art Bridges’ collection, is available at http://artbridgesfoundation.org/.
About Terra-Art Bridges and the Terra Foundation for American Art
Terra-Art Bridges is the most recent example of the Terra Foundation’s dedication to fostering the exploration, understanding and enjoyment of the visual arts of the United States, and sharing meaningful experiences of American art throughout its native Chicago, the nation, and the world. Founded in 1978 with an exceptional collection of American art from the colonial period to 1945, along with an expansive grant program, Terra is a leading foundation focusing on American art through its support of exhibitions, academic programs, publications, and research worldwide.