Enfilade

Exhibition | In American Waters

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on November 21, 2021

Unknown artist in New England, Contemplation by the Sea, 1790, oil on board 37 × 59 inches
(Salem, MA: Peabody Essex Museum, Museum purchase with funds from anonymous donor, 1994 137681)

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Now on view at Crystal Bridges:

In American Waters: The Sea in American Painting
Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts, 29 May — 3 October 2021
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 6 November 2021 — 31 January 2022

Curated by Austen Bailly and Daniel Finamore

For over 200 years, artists have been inspired to capture the beauty, violence, poetry, and transformative power of the sea in American life. Oceans play a key role in American society no matter where we live, and still today, the sea continues to inspire painters to capture its mystery and power. Be transported across time and water on the wave of a diverse range of modern and historical artists including Georgia O’Keeffe, Amy Sherald, Kay WalkingStick, Norman Rockwell, Hale Woodruff, Paul Cadmus, Thomas Hart Benton, Jacob Lawrence, Valerie Hegarty, Stuart Davis, and others.

highlights American art historical and cultural traditions associated with the sea, deepening our understanding of it as a symbol of American ambition, opportunity, and invention. While histories of American art have long privileged ways of imagining American culture that tell only a partial story and that overlook marine narratives of national and individual experience past and present, this ambitious exhibition reveals the sea as an expansive way to reflect on American culture and environment and to question what it means to be “in American waters.”

The exhibition is co-created by Austen Bailly, chief curator, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and Daniel Finamore, The Russell W. Knight Curator of Maritime Art and History, Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.

Daniel Finamore and Austen Barron Bailly, eds., with additional contributions by Mindy N. Besaw, Sarah N. Chasse, and George H. Schwartz, In American Waters: The Sea in American Painting (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2021), 240 pages, ISBN: ‎978-1682261705, $60.

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