Published: June 17, 2011
The summer exhibition at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College, “A Taste for the Modern: Gifts from Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller, Edna Bryner Schwab and Virginia Herrick Deknatel,” will showcase 48 paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures and photographs that have been donated to the art center by three Vassar alumnae.
On view June 24⁓eptember 4, the exhibition will examine for the first time the Modern art collecting of the three women and the development of their tastes for the Modern. In addition, the exhibition, curated by Patricia Phagan, the Philip and Lynn Straus curator of prints and drawings, will explore how all three of their collecting histories have profoundly affected and will continue to influence the visitor’s and Vassar student’s experience of exploring Modern and contemporary art at the college.
In the art center’s permanent collection, works of art by Twentieth Century Modernists vie for attention, providing excellent examples for contemplating the moments and moods associated with artists and movements of that century. Luscious, nature-evoking canvases and watercolors stand out by the circle of American artists around gallery owner and photographer Alfred Stieglitz. Provocative oils and prints by midcentury expressionists project new, alternative and tense worlds.
How did these and many other adventurous Modern works come to reside at the art center?
The answer may be seen through the important gifts on view in the exhibition. Several key works will also be on view in the permanent collection galleries.
One section of the exhibition will explore mid-century works given by Hooker Rockefeller (1909‱992), Class of 1931. The remaining two sections explore works donated by Bryner Schwab (1886‱967), Class of 1907, and Herrick Deknatel (1906′009), Class of 1929. Some of the works include Paul Klee’s drawing “Schwanen teich (Swan Pond),” William Baziotes’s “Night Mirror,” Bradley Walker Tomlin’s “No. 4” and Karel Appel’s “Child and Beast II.”
John Marin’s turbulent and groundbreaking watercolor “Thirty-Fifth Street and Fifth Avenue at Noon” and several of his transformative landscapes dominate the works given by Bryner Schwab to the college.
Herrick Deknatel’s gifts encompass a wide arc, from several works by Picasso to drawings by Cézanne to bronzes by David Smith and Anthony Caro.
The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center is at the entrance to the Vassar College campus. For information, 845-437-5632 or www.fllac.vassar.edu .
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