Princeton-based museum will soon showcase an important period in the history of Newark arts culture
by Brick City Live | June 1, 2017
Princeton’s Morven Museum & Garden will soon launch Newark and the Culture of Art: 1900-1960, which will be on display June 16, 2017 through January 28, 2018.
The exhibit will explore the unique combination of art and industry that made Newark a magnet for modern artists in the early twentieth century, and celebrate the culture of creativity that flourished alongside John Cotton Dana, the visionary figure in the organization of the Newark Library and Newark Museum. It was through his efforts that art, industry and society were brought together in the hopes of inspiring the everyday Newark citizen through accessible and beautiful exhibitions. Dana’s goal was to educate by presenting examples of superior design to the greatest number of people possible, including Newark’s immigrant and working-class population, making art a vital part of Newark’s culture and society.
The Newark Museum was the earliest institution to give sustained support to the expression of modernism in America through its exhibition – including debut museum shows dedicated to the work of artists such as Max Weber and Stuart Davis. At the same time, the popularity of Newark’s Evening Drawing School, first founded in 1882, encouraged its expansion to a full-time day school known as the Fawcett School, and later into The Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art. This free and city-run vocational art school had an impressive faculty, including the artist Ida Wells Stroud – a one-time student of Arthur Wesley Dow – who taught students in design and watercolor. Stroud’s work, as well as that of her students’, is part of the exhibition.
By 1930, a group of talented artists settled in Newark, many of German descent and committed to developing their own personal form of realism. Works by Bernard Gussow, Adolf Konrad, Henry Gasser, Rudolph Voelcker, and John Grabach demonstrate Newark’s ongoing contribution to the American art scene. The exhibition at Morven celebrates this forward-thinking New Jersey city that many artists called home, as they empowered Newark citizens to view, learn, and appreciate American art.
As founding director of the Newark Museum, Dana championed for creative American expression from the fine arts to the teacup, textiles to posters, and this appreciation of quality informed the exhibitions during his tenure. Morven’s nearly 50 loans hail from public and private collections from across the country and will reflect Dana’s vision by including painting, textiles, ceramics, and sculptures.
Newark and the Culture of Art: 1900-1960 is on view at Morven Museum and Garden (55 Stockton St., Princeton). Admission is $10.
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