Athens, Ga. – The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia will exhibit 13 works by American artists dealing with Italian landscapes, buildings, people and life from January 19 to April 21. This special display draws from works in the museum’s permanent collection.
Corresponding with an upper-level art history course taught by Paul Manoguerra, chief curator and curator of American art at GMOA, this show will shed light on a body of work by several American painters that address seminal questions about nature, history and national destiny.
“The exhibition gets objects-especially works on paper-out of storage and on display, so that students can learn from actual works of art as opposed to just from readings and PowerPoint images,” said Manoguerra, who also serves as curator for the exhibition.
From the late 17th through the early 19th century, numerous American artists participated in a traditional trip through Europe known as the “Grand Tour.” Undertaken mainly by upper-class young men, the Grand Tour served as an educational rite of passage that provided an opportunity for artists to view specific works of art from classical antiquity.
Like the concept of studying abroad today, traveling through Europe was an important part of a well-rounded education, especially to a young, working artist. Furthermore, Italian travels within a Grand Tour or as expatriates permitted American artists to define and understand what it meant to be an American in contrast to a European “other.”
“Italian scenes and sites reproduced in American art reflected specific understandings of history, democracy and religion,” said Manoguerra.
This small, focused exhibition will make connections to objects already on full-time display elsewhere in the permanent collection wing of the museum.
“There are several important paintings on Italian subject matter already on display, especially in the Turner Gallery,” said Manoguerra. “The class and this special exhibition will provide context for a deeper understanding and appreciation of those works.”
Some important American artists featured in the exhibition include James McNeill Whistler, Frank Duveneck, John Taylor Arms and Reginald Marsh. While consisting mostly of works on paper, the exhibition will also showcase paintings by Henry Salem Hubbell and William Stanley Haseltine.
Manoguerra will lead a public tour of the exhibition Wednesday, Feb. 13, at 2 p.m.
The museum will also present a series of three films about Americans in Italy: “Three Coins in a Fountain” (Jan. 24), “Summertime” (Jan. 31) and “Roman Holiday” (Feb. 14). All films will show at 7 p.m. in the M. Smith Griffith Auditorium and are free and open to the public.
This exhibition is sponsored by the W. Newton Morris Charitable Foundation and the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art.
Partial support for the exhibitions and programs at the Georgia Museum of Art is provided by the Georgia Council for the Arts through appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. The council is a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Individuals, foundations and corporations provide additional museum support through their gifts to the University of Georgia Foundation. The Georgia Museum of Art is located in the Performing and Visual Arts Complex on the East Campus of the University of Georgia. The address is 90 Carlton Street, University of Georgia, Athens, Ga. 30602-6719. For more information, including hours, see http://www.georgiamuseum.org or call 706/542-GMOA (4662).