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Bierstadt to O´Keeffe: Highlights from the Stark Museum of Art

October 28, 2006 - April 23, 2007


In recognition of the fifth anniversary of the partnership between the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Stark Museum of Art in Orange, Texas, the MFAH presents Bierstadt to O´Keeffe: Highlights from the Stark Museum of Art, opening October 28, 2006. The exhibition features 52 works ranging from Albert Bierstadt´s dramatic landscapes, showing his unmistakable roots in the Hudson River School, to a beautiful example of Georgia O´Keeffe´s evocative desert paintings. The exhibition, which will be on view through April 23, 2007 in the museum´s Caroline Wiess Law Building, 1001 Bissonnet Street, is a fitting counterpart to The Modern West: American Landscapes, 1890-1950, opening October 29 at the MFAH. Organized by the MFAH, The Modern West is a groundbreaking exploration of the role of America´s Western landscape in the shaping of Modernism. (right: John Mix Stanley, American, 1814-1872, Gambling for the Buck, 1867, Oil on canvas. Stark Museum of Art, Orange, Texas)

The Stark Museum and the MFAH began a long-term institutional partnership in 2001 to bring attention to what is considered one of the finest collections of Western American art in the United States. The resulting series of exhibitions have brought works to Houston that both complement and supplement the MFAH´s exceptional collection of Western American art, and introduced the Stark Museum to a new audience.

"The Stark Museum is a Texas treasure," said Peter C. Marzio, MFAH director. "The MFAH is pleased to present works from this marvelous collection to museum visitors in Houston, and looks forward to continuing the collaboration well into the future."

The exhibition features a selection of paintings and works on paper from the two areas of strength in this collection of Western American art: the works of 19th-century artist-explorers and adventurers of the American West and the works of early 20th-century artists of the Taos and Santa Fe art colonies.

"Artists were captivated by the dramatic land and the native peoples in the early to mid-nineteenth century and faithfully depicted them in realistic paintings," said Emily Ballew Neff, MFAH curator of American painting and sculpture. "By the early decades of the twentieth century, new subjects and modernist strains were evident in artists´ work. That evolution makes this exhibition a wonderful complement to The Modern West: American Landscapes, 1890-1950."

The exhibition begins with works by 19th-century artist-explorers, including three oil sketch landscapes of the mountains and the seas by Bierstadt. Also included in this section are a dozen small, oil-on-paper paintings by Paul Kane, an Irish-Canadian artist known for his depictions of Native Americans in the northwest United States and part of present-day British Columbia, created from 1845-1847. One of the highlights here is John Mix Stanley´s Gambling for the Buck (1867), a richly detailed scene of two Indians with painted faces and feathered hairpieces playing cards, a dead deer at their feet.

Also presented are paintings by turn-of-the-century artists who were working in a more romantic vein. Included are Henry Farny´s The Departure for the Buffalo Hunt (1912), Frederic Remington´s intriguingly titled He Shouted his Pathos at a Wide and Lonely World (c. 1900), and a bronze sculpture by Charles M. Russell, Meat for Wild Men (modeled 1920).

The exhibition also features a selection of works by early modernists of the Southwest, particularly in the New Mexico art colonies of Taos and Santa Fe. Among the works shown is a collection of woodblocks and woodcut proofs by Gustave Baumann, considered an American master of color woodcuts, for his Bound for Taos print of 1936. Other notable works in this section are Ernest Blumenschein´s Ourselves and Taos Neighbors (c. 1940), Maynard Dixon´s Cloud Drift and Prairie (1940), and Georgia O´Keeffe´s Gerald´s Tree II (1937), a modernist desert landscape. (right: Maynard Dixon, American, 1875-1946, Cloud Drift and Prairie, 1940, Oil on canvas. Stark Museum of Art, Orange, Texas)



Bierstadt to O´Keeffe: Highlights from the Stark Museum of Art is organized by The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Stark Museum of Art, Orange, Texas. Curators are Emily Ballew Neff, the MFAH curator of American painting and sculpture, and Kaylin Weber, MFAH curatorial assistant, pre-1940 American painting and sculpture.


rev. 3/15/07

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