This Side of Modernism Opens at CFAM

An exhibition of works by 20th-century American and British artists will be on view September 17 to December 18 at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum.

Roger Eliot Fry (British, 1866-1934), Study of Vanessa Bell Reading, 1912, Oil on board, 18 1/2 x 21 1/2 in., Bequest of Kenneth Curry, Ph.D. ’32, Cornell Fine Arts Museum Roger Eliot Fry (British, 1866-1934), Study of Vanessa Bell Reading, 1912, Oil on board, 18 1/2 x 21 1/2 in., Bequest of Kenneth Curry, Ph.D. ’32, Cornell Fine Arts Museum

The narrative of modernism is often illustrated by the work of abstract artists. To offer a fuller view of modern art, a new Cornell Fine Arts Museum exhibition focuses on the work of artists active in England and the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries who were more focused on representational imagery but demonstrated modern sensibilities either in terms of subject matter, an approach to technique, or distinctive use of color and form.

Drawn entirely from the museum’s permanent collection, This Side of Modernism: Twentieth-Century American and British Artists reinforces the notion that there are multiple modernisms and that a version of modern art practiced in both the United States and England retained a traditional framework. As some artists were being increasingly challenged by avant-garde trends practiced by Cubists and Surrealists, many of the artists whose works are presented in this exhibition were influenced by the modern movements of Impressionism, such as Childe Hassam, Jonas Lie, and Fauvism. Moreover, although the artists presented in This Side of Modernism worked on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean, some shared the same artistic touchstones. For example, paintings in the exhibition by Roger Fry and Guy Wiggins reveal the influence of the French Post-Impressionist Paul Cézanne.

Jonas Lie (American, 1880-1940)
Dusk on Lower Broadway, ca. 1910
Oil on canvas, 37 1/2 x 31 1/2 in.
Gift of the family in memory of Dr. James B. Thomas, Rector of All Saints Episcopal Church, Winter Park, Florida, Cornell Fine Arts Museum
Jonas Lie (American, 1880-1940) Dusk on Lower Broadway, ca. 1910 Oil on canvas, 37 1/2 x 31 1/2 in. Gift of the family in memory of Dr. James B. Thomas, Rector of All Saints Episcopal Church, Winter Park, Florida, Cornell Fine Arts Museum

“As a college art museum, one of our programming priorities is to explore less-traveled roads in the narrative of art history,” says Ena Heller, Bruce A. Beal Director. “Focusing on examples of modernism that do not fit its narrow textbook definition, this exhibition reveals a fuller picture of early 20th-century art.”

This Side of Modernism also celebrates the significance of artistic communities. The majority of the British artists included in this exhibition were associated with the Bloomsbury Group, a circle of significant writers and visual artists active both inside and outside of London. A number of the American artists whose works are included in the exhibition were related to the Ashcan School, a group of artists that formed bonds in Philadelphia and later migrated to New York and embraced the notion of depicting the reality of American life. This Side of Modernism features rarely seen works by Duncan Grant and John Sloan alongside collection favorites by Robert Henri and Arthur B. Davies.

“The Bloomsbury pictures by Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, and others are one of the special aspects of the museum’s permanent collection,” says Curator Amy Galpin. “The presence of these pictures differentiates our collection from other regional museums. Moreover, by placing the Bloomsbury pictures alongside collection favorites by Childe Hassam, Jonas Lie, and Robert Henri, we hope to make connections between artists working across the Atlantic from one another.”

In keeping with the Cornell Fine Arts Museum’s role as a teaching museum, Galpin received curatorial assistance with this project from Jessica Hasara, a recent graduate of Rollins College and Anna Wenzel, a current student at the College.

Related Programming

Exhibition tour with Curator Amy Galpin
Friday, October 28, 11 a.m.
All programming is free of charge and open to the public.

Visitor Information

Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College
1000 Holt Ave., Winter Park, FL 32789
407.646.2526
rollins.edu/cfam

Museum Hours

Tuesday – Friday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m
Saturday – Sunday: Noon – 5 p.m.
Closed Mondays, major holidays, and during installation periods

Public Museum Tours

Free staff-led tours on Saturdays at 1 p.m.
Private tours for groups of 10 or more. Email lbuyo@rollins.edu for more information.