The culminating event of the Peninsula Fine Arts Center’s 50th anniversary celebrations will be 50 Great American Artists. This exhibition will include masterworks by popular artists, familiar names in the history of art, and works by other artists, less familiar, but well worth getting to know.
This unprecedented exhibition on the Peninsula will be presented in partnership with the Virginia Museum of Fine Art. It will travel to the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke from February 15 – June 2, 2013.
Lenders to the exhibition include important museums, such as the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Chrysler Museum of Art, the Taubman Museum of Art and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, among others. Significant galleries, and private and corporate collections are also contributing loans to the exhibition.
50 Great American Artists was selected by Michael Preble, Pfac Curator since 2004. “It’s one job to find great works by great artists that our community would enjoy seeing,” says Preble, who brings over 35 years of curatorial experience to the task. “The real challenge is expanding that list to include remarkable yet unusual works by familiar artists, and great works by lesser known artists who deserve more attention.”
Part of the list of artist’s selected for 50 Great American Artists reads like a “Who’s Who” in American art history – James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Winslow Homer, Thomas Hart Benton, Norman Rockwell, Andrew Wyeth and Andy Warhol, among others. Artists who brought American art into the modern era are here, Charles Demuth and Charles Burchfield, for example. Abstraction plays a key role, too, as seen in the work of Hans Burkhardt and Gregory Amenoff. With an interest in current art that was more contemporary than trendy, works by Jennifer Bartlett, David Bates and Gene Davis are included.
Preble continues, “One of the striking elements of the show is the unexpected. For example, the inclusion of a brilliant print by the American realist Edward Hopper is a delight. Wayne Thiebaud, known for his bakery-counter paintings is seen here with a luscious print. Other artists have unique reputations – Robert Gordy is better known in the Deep South; Jerome Witkin is a favorite among fans of figurative painting. Janet Fish and Jack Beal show the vibrancy of large, realist painting.”
50 Great American Artists is sponsored by Ferguson Enterprises, TownBank, Norfolk Southern, 50 for 50 campaign friends, YLS Landscaping, City of Newport News, Virginia Commission for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts and WHRO.