Athens, GA.- The Georgia Museum of Art presents “American Watercolors from the Permanent Collection” from May 14th until August 7th in the Lamar Dodd Gallery. This exhibition features American watercolors from the mid-19th century to the 1970s from the permanent collection of the Georgia Museum of Art. Paintings by Jasper Francis Cropsey, William Stanley Haseltine and Frederic Remington demonstrate the importance of the medium in American 19th-century art while American moderns Charles Burchfield, John Marin and Andrew Wyeth represent true masters of watercolor.
Some American painters used the medium to create drawings or compositional studies, including Elaine de Kooning in her sketch of a sculpture in Paris. Others used it to make a final, finished product, emphasizing technique and enjoying its immediacy and spontaneity. “Palm Springs Chairs” (1975) by Robert Bechtle is a highly detailed and meticulously painted watercolor that has the feel of a vacation snapshot of a motel pool.
The Georgia Museum of Art, on the campus of the University of Georgia, in Athens, is both an academic museum and, since 1982, the official art museum of the state of Georgia. The permanent collection consists of American paintings, primarily 19th- and 20th-century; American, European and Asian works on paper; the Samuel H. Kress Study Collection of Italian Renaissance paintings; and growing collections of southern decorative arts and Asian art.
From the time it was opened to the public in 1948 in the basement of an old library on the university’s historic North Campus, the museum has grown consistently both in the size of its collection and in the size of its facilities. Today the museum occupies a contemporary building in the Performing and Visual Arts Complex on the university’s burgeoning east campus. There, 79,000 square feet house more than 8,000 objects in the museum’s permanent collection—a dramatic leap from the core of 100 paintings donated by the museum’s founder, Alfred Heber Holbrook.
Much of the museum’s collection of American paintings was donated by Holbrook in memory of his first wife, Eva Underhill Holbrook. Included in this collection are works by such luminaries as Frank Weston Benson, William Merritt Chase, Stuart Davis, Arthur Dove, Georgia O’Keeffe, Childe Hassam, Winslow Homer, Jacob Lawrence and Theodore Robinson. Over the years it has been impossible to separate the history of the museum from the story of Holbrook’s generosity.
In April 1996, the Georgia Museum of Art opened a new building on the East Campus of the university as part of the Performing and Visual Arts Complex, which also includes the School of Music, the Performing Arts Center, and, now, the Lamar Dodd School of Art. The new building allowed for larger and more ambitious exhibitions and a new emphasis on professional practices. The museum has become a leader, in particular, among university museums, and its educational programs have been the most tangible example of the balance it strives to achieve among state, local, and university audiences as it seeks to fulfill its trifold mission of teaching, research, and service. The Green Center also includes the Green Library, which greatly expanded the museum’s library of art books and has served as a model for the archival aspects of the other centers. The Pierre Daura Center was established at the museum in 2002 with a gift from Martha Randolph Daura in honor of her father and joined the Green Center and the Jacob Burns Foundation Center, bringing its own extensive archives of Pierre Daura’s papers. These three centers, plus the newly founded C. L. Morehead Jr. Center for the Study of American Art, make up four study centers that are a focus of the expanded and renovated building, facilitating research in the humanities and access to the museum’s curators. Visit the museum’s website at … http://www.georgiamuseum.org