American Master Prints from the Collection of Dr. Dorrance Kelly

Whittemore Gallery

Unlike the cozy domestic scenes and pastoral country views of Currier and Ives, the artists of the Ashcan School of painting in New York of the early 1900s were committed to vernacular themes with subjects that were often critically derided for their frankness and vulgarity. Ashcan artists John Sloan, George Bellows and Reginald Marsh produced scenes of urban life and portraits of the urban poor that were exuberant and gritty.

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Another type of realism was one that had its antecedents in European art. Edward Hopper’s etchings of the vast and lonely American scene consciously evoked Rembrandt. During the years of the Great Depression regional art began to dominate. Thomas Hart Benton’s American Scene extolled the virtues of rural life A devoted realist, Martin Lewis recorded the “homely details of common everyday life.” His atmospheric and moody scenes depict scenes of New York City and rural Connecticut. This exhibition presented the work of eight master printers. Though stylistically diverse and motivated by differing sensibilities, all are master artists who showed technical finesse and humanistic sensitivity.