Art News

The Amon Carter Museum of American Art Features "The Allure of Paper"

artwork: Jacob Lawrence - "There are Many Churches in Harlem. The People are Very Religious", 1943 - Transparent & opaque watercolor and tempera over graphite on watercolor paper. - Collection of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, © 2011 The Jacob & Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation, /Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. - On view at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in "The Allure of Paper" from the Collection until October 9th.

Fort Worth, TX.- In celebration of its 50th Anniversary, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art presents “The Allure of Paper: Watercolors and Drawings from the Collection”, on view from July 9th through October 9th. Infrequently shown because of their sensitivity to light, the nearly 100 artworks in this special exhibition have never before been exhibited together. The one-of-a-kind works of art range in date from the early 19th century to the mid-20th century and chronicle the sweeping changes that occurred in American art over the course of nearly 150 years. From portraiture and still-lifes to landscape and genre paintings, these objects embody the breadth of the museum’s works-on-paper holdings. Artists represented in the exhibition include Winslow Homer (1836–1910), Edward Hopper (1882–1967), Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986), John Singer Sargent (1856–1925), Ben Shahn (1898–1969) and Joseph Stella (1887–1946), among many others.

Beginning in the 1820s artists in growing numbers exhibited their watercolors and drawings, reflecting an increasing respect for working with paper. While the Amon Carter’s drawings and watercolors collection reflects the major trends in American art from the early 19th to the mid-20th century, landscapes dominate the museum’s holdings. They reveal the varying approaches artists took to depicting the natural world over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries. By the 1870s for instance, landscape artists such as George Inness (1825–1894) became less concerned with faithfully representing nature and more concerned with capturing light and tonal harmonies, along with patterns and rhythms. American watercolorists enjoyed a surge in popularity and support in the 1880s, and some of the most pivotal works in American modernism were created by watercolorists. Also represented in the Amon Carter’s collection are several other significant examples of watercolors by pivotal mid-20th century artists like Hans Hofmann (1880–1966), Jacob Lawrence (1917–2000) and Edmund Lewandowski (1914–1998).

Winslow Homer - "Blyth Sands", 1882 - Charcoal, graphite, ink, chalk, and opaque white on paper. Collection of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, where it can be seen until October 9th.

A self-made man, Amon G. Carter (1879–1955) became a legendary figure in Texas history and Fort Worth’s leading citizen and champion. His interest in the art of Remington and Russell developed through his friendship with Will Rogers. Mr. Carter’s will provided for the establishment of a museum in Fort Worth, free and open to the public, devoted to American art. “As a youth, I was denied the advantages which go with the possession of money,” he stated in the will. “I am endeavoring to give to those who have not had such advantages, but who aspire to the higher and finer attributes of life, those opportunities which were denied to me.” Today, the museum he did not live to see has evolved into one of the great museums of American art. Designed by Philip Johnson (1906–2005), the Amon Carter Museum building opened to the public in January 1961. “Johnson’s museum is extremely elegant,” one architecture critic wrote in Harper’s Magazine that May. From the beginning, the museum was intended to be a vibrant institution; not only would it house Mr. Carter’s collection of works by Frederic Remington and Russell, it would expand to encompass a broader range of American art. The museum began to acquire important works of art in various media—paintings, sculpture, works on paper, photographs, and books—by many noted artists working in various styles and depicting a range of subjects and forms. In the 1970s, the museum commissioned photographer Richard Avedon to create what would become the groundbreaking body of work In the American West. The museum aggressively continued to add major works to its collection, including “Idle Hours” by William Merritt Chase, “Flags on the Waldorf” by Childe Hassam, and “Red Cannas” by Georgia O’Keeffe.

artwork: Robert McChesney - "Variations", 1946 - Watercolor and opaque watercolor on paper. Collection of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, and on view until October 9th.

On the occasion of its fortieth anniversary the Carter underwent a major expansion. The museum now has gallery space to accommodate the full breadth of its permanent collection. With its expansive galleries for traveling exhibitions, there are today some 700 works of art on view at any given time. A 160-seat auditorium is available for programs, and the library of 40,000 volumes is the only research facility between the two coasts to house the 7,500 microform reels of the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. The museum also houses one of the preeminent collections of American photography, and the expansion resulted in climate-controlled vaults (for both cool and cold storage) and a state-of-the-art conservation center, made possible in part by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Amon Carter Museum continues in its mission to acquire and display the finest examples of American art and to enlighten minds through its programs, exhibitions, and publications—the vision Mr. Carter first articulated some fifty years ago. Amon Carter truly is part of the heritage of Texas and of the nation, and so, too, is the museum that bears his name. Visit the museum’s website at …