This year the UMFA is highlighting three iconic landscape paintings by American artists Thomas Moran, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Alma Thomas on loan from the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Installed in the American and regional, and modern and contemporary galleries, these spectacular works accentuate the Museum’s own treasures and enhance the stories being told. They add new and diverse artistic voices to fully explore pictorial approaches to landscape painting from nineteenth-century idealized naturalism to contemporary abstraction.
Thomas Moran’s Mist in Kanab Canyon, Utah (1892), situated within the UMFA’s award-winning permanent collection exhibition American and Regional Art: Mythmaking & Truth-Telling, enables deeper exploration of how nineteenth-century artists represented the Utah landscape and how their images shaped popular perceptions of the American West.
Georgia O’Keeffe’s Manhattan (1932) will feature prominently in the American and regional art gallery focused on modernism. O’Keeffe’s painting prompts consideration of the relationship between urban development and concurrent experiments with abstraction in the first half of the twentieth century.
Alma Thomas’s Red Sunset, Old Pond Concerto (1972) anchors a section, devoted to the Washington Color School, of Art Post-1945, the UMFA’s exhibition of its modern and contemporary collection. Thomas was a black art teacher in Washington, DC, and her participation in and influence on postwar abstraction have been marginalized until very recently. Her work, which has rarely been on view in the West, offers fresh insights on women working in the post-World War II moment and elaborates on the story of the Washington Color School painters.
The Lay of the Land is part of a five-year exhibition partnership between the Smithsonian and five museums in the western United States. Funded by a nearly $2 million grant from Art Bridges and Terra Foundation of American Art, the project is the latest in a transformative effort, the Art Bridges + Terra Foundation Initiative, to expand access to outstanding works of American art nationwide.
The Lay of the Land: Landscape Paintings from the Smithsonian American Art Museum is one in a series of American art exhibitions created through a multi-year, multi-institutional partnership formed by the Smithsonian American Art Museum as part of the Art Bridges + Terra Foundation Initiative.
Presenting Sponsor: Sue and Al Landon
Curatorial Sponsor: Stephanie and Tim Harpst