As the museum pays tribute to these artists, we expect some viewers will make a discovery of art new
to them, to be appreciated for its aesthetic qualities and originality.
- Deborah Forman, co-curator.
CCMoA exhibits artists in its collection who broke from tradition as they found new ways of looking at art during the 20th Century. They were part of an energetic movement influenced by European artists that established America as the center of the art world.
Midway through the 20th century, American modernism burst forth with an art form full of energy and dynamism, reflecting the new position of the country as the primary global power. Up until then, art in America had primarily maintained a traditional realism. However, European art had gone way beyond. By the dawn of the 20th century, new approaches, including Fauvism and Cubism erupting in France, were providing a completely new way of looking at art.
American artists mostly maintained the status quo. Yet there were some who had witnessed the excitement in Paris and were pursuing a modern approach in those first decades of the 20th century. Among the more than 2,000 pieces in the Cape Cod Museum of Art’s permanent collection are a number of these artists’ works, including Blanche Lazzell, Agnes Weinrich, Oliver Chaffee, Lucy L’Engle, Karl Knaths, and Thomas Eastwood.
Also included in the exhibition are works done during the second half of the last century when Abstract Expressionism had put America in the vanguard of contemporary art. Some artists, who took their own paths, did not always find the recognition that was bestowed upon others, yet their works are distinctively innovative. In our collection, we include many whose modernism captured the excitement after World War II, including Xavier Gonzalez, William Littlefield, Kenneth Stubbs, Leo Manso, Nanno De Groot, Haynes Ownby, and Donald Stoltenberg, among others.
This exhibition provides an opportunity to explore these works. As the museum pays tribute to these artists, we expect some viewers will make a discovery of art new to them, to be appreciated for its aesthetic qualities and originality.
Co-Curated by Deborah Forman and Michael A. Giaquinto.
There will be a public reception for the exhibition on June 7, from 5:30 – 7 pm. Deborah Forman, author of several books about Cape Cod artists, will give a Gallery Talk about the Modernists at 1:15 pm on June 14, which is free with museum admission.