Art History Talks Series

Tuesdays at 11:30 am • Katherine L. White Hall

Against The Grain

This season's talks explore artists who forged their own paths against the prevailing currents in the art world of their day, creating remarkable bodies of work while following their unique artistic vision.

5-talk Series
VCA Member/Student $60, Senior $70, General $80

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Individual Tickets
VCA Member $14, Senior $16, General $18

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Andrew Wyeth (American, 1917-2009)
Winter 1946, 1946
Tempera on board, 31 3/8 x 48 in.
Collection of North Carolina Museum of Art

Andrew Wyeth

October 24

Wyeth’s paintings not only reject Abstract Expressionism; they seem to reject the 20th century entirely. Gravitating between Maine and the Brandywine Valley, Wyeth – the subject of a major retrospective at Seattle Art Museum this fall – chose timeless rural subject matter and depicted it in meticulously rendered watercolors and temperas that seem both timeless and deeply personal.

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Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian, 1890-1973)
Dark green skirt suit with ornamental buttons, 1948
Collection of Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation

Elsa Schiaparelli

November 14

Schiaparelli did not move up from within the ranks of the Parisian fashion world.  Instead, she stormed its barriers.  As a woman, an Italian immigrant, and someone who did not even sew, she relied on brilliant innovation and a flamboyant personality to keep her designs in the public eye.  Her friendship with the Surrealists enabled her to inject high art into haute couture.

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John French Sloan (American, 1871-1951)
Sunday, Women Drying Their Hair, 1912
Oil on canvas; 26.1 x 32.1 in.
Courtesy of Commons Wikimedia
Collection of Addison Gallery of American Art

The Ashcan School

January 16

At the turn of the 20th century, a group of newspaper illustrators turned fine artists, under the mentorship of the unconventional Robert Henri, rejected American Impressionism as, in Henri’s words, “a new academicism.” John Sloan, George Luks and their fellows sought out gritty, urban subjects – tenements, immigrant life, alcoholism – in the creation of a powerful modern American art.

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Henry Ossawa Tanner (American, 1859-1937)
The Thankful Poor, 1894
Oil on Canvas; 35.5 x 112.4 in
Courtsey of Commons Wikimedia

Henry Ossawa Tanner

February 13

The first African-American student at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts didn’t plan to become a rebel but had just enough African ancestry to provoke the racism of his fellow students.  Frustrated in his career, at age 32 Tanner traveled to Paris to study, and there he found success, crafting a unique style that combined Impressionist touch and academic subject matter.

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Andy Goldsworthy (British, born 1956)
Storm King Wall, 199798
Fieldstone, approx. 60# x 2,278” x 32” overall
Collection of the Storm King Art Center

Andy Goldsworthy

March 13

Sculpture has traditionally been associated with permanence:  ancient marbles, bronze monuments, steel girders.  Goldsworthy has chosen to make sculpture from the most ephemeral materials – autumn leaves, stones, twigs and snowMany of his works exist only in the stunning photographs he makes before nature consumes them.

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