Sunday, November 10, 2013

Get Real at the Bruce Museum

Martin Lewis (American, 1881-1962) Above the Yards, Weehawken, 1918 Aquatint and etching, 17 ½ x 23 ¼”
Collection of Dr. Dorrance T. Kelly ©Estate of Martin Lewis
Highlighting the work of nine American artists who at the beginning of the twentieth century were inspired by the world around them to realistically depict everyday scenes, the Bruce Museum presents the new exhibition Telling American History: Realism from the Print Collection of Dr. Dorrance T. Kelly from August 31 through December 1, 2013.

The show features more than 40 original fine art prints including lithographs and etchings that chronicle daily life – the bustle of urban streets, boisterous moments of leisure, modern modes of transportation, and bucolic rural images – by leading artists who approached their subject matter through the lens of realism: George Bellows (1882-1925), Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975), Edward Hopper (1882-1967), Martin Lewis (1881-1962), Reginald Marsh (1898-1954), John Sloan (1871-1951), Benton Murdoch Spruance (1904-1967), Stow Wengenroth (1906-1978), and Grant Wood (1891-1942).

The artworks present visitors with a snapshot of America from 1905 through 1967. Each print featured in the exhibition was chosen for its subject matter and artistic merit and placed together they present windows into scenes of America's past. Set amid a backdrop of events such as World War I, the Great Depression, New Deal programs, and World War II, the country was experiencing changes in its cultural, geographic, and demographic nature. The nation experienced a great upheaval as citizens and immigrants alike flocked to urban areas in hopes of greater economic prospects. At the same time, advances in technology and transportation were transforming rural regions.

Martin Lewis - Misty Night, Danbury, 1949
Drawn from different areas of the country, the artists shared a similar goal of creating artwork that was available to all. They embraced realism, using it to capture images of modern American society as it quickly changed around them.   This distinguished their work from the traditional, idealized and romanticized work of European art. By illustrating everyday scenes, the artists featured in this show created connections for the average American and invited them to become part of the artistic dialog,because their images appealed through accessible subject matter and to the pocketbook of the everyday person.

A fully illustrated catalogue of the show will be available in the Bruce Museum Store. A series of public programs will be offered to complement the show, including Monday morning lectures, hands-on printmaking workshops for adults and students, a program for families with toddlers and one for seniors suffering from memory loss, as well as school tours.

Wengenroth Grand Central, Lithograph, 1949

About the Bruce Museum
Explore Art and Science at the Bruce Museum, located at One Museum Drive in Greenwich, Connecticut. The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday from 1 pm to 5 pm; closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for students up to 22 years, $6 for seniors and free for members and children under 5 years. Individual admission is free on Tuesday. Free on-site parking is available and the Museum is accessible to individuals with disabilities. For additional information, call the Bruce Museum at (203) 869-0376 or visit the website at

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