Huntington adds 5,400 square feet focusing on 20th-century works
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PRESS PREVIEW FRIDAY, JULY 11, 10 A.M.–NOON Installation views of the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Photos: Tim Street-Porter.
(Updated from April 29, 2014)
SAN MARINO, Calif.—The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, well known for its iconic collection of British art, is dramatically expanding its American art display by opening more than 5,000 square feet of new gallery space on July 19. The five new rooms in the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art will feature nearly 100 works of 20th-century art in an area previously used for storage in the Lois and Robert F. Erburu Gallery; the move was necessitated by the institution’s rapidly growing American art collection.
“The Huntington has quickly become one of the finest repositories of American art in the United States,” said Kevin Salatino, Hannah and Russel Kully Director of the Art Collections at The Huntington. “This expansion should delight—and in many cases, surprise—our visitors with a number of remarkable new acquisitions. We’re in an exciting moment for The Huntington, particularly for the continuing evolution of American art, whose story we’re able to tell now with greater depth and breadth.”
The collection has grown from an initial 50 paintings to more than 12,000 objects. Recent acquisitions in the new installation will include works by George Bellows, Arthur Dove, Frederick Hammersley, Tony Smith, and Charles White.
First opened in 1984 with 6,800 square feet of gallery space, the Scott Galleries were expanded to 16,300 square feet and completely reinstalled in 2009 to cover the history of art in the United States from the colonial period to the mid-20th century. The new expansion coincides with the Scott Galleries’ 30th anniversary. It leaves the existing rooms generally intact and focuses on works made in the last century, with representatives of the Ashcan school, Social Realism, the Depression era, modernism, geometric abstraction, and Pop Art.
The five new rooms focus on the following topics: The early 20th-century landscape, with works made from 1900 through the 1920s; photographs, with an emphasis on The Huntington’s substantial Edward Weston holdings; paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts made in the 1930s; geometric abstraction and Pop Art; and The Huntington’s painting Global Loft (Spread) by Robert Rauschenberg, whose interest in becoming an artist was inspired by a visit to The Huntington in 1946, rounded out with important loans from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.
“While our display has always addressed the 20th century, now we are able to explore important themes in greater depth,” said Jessica Todd Smith, Virginia Steele Scott Chief Curator of American Art at The Huntington. “We will be sharing with visitors a solid representation of pre- and postwar American art, with major works from some of the most innovative and influential artists of the period.”
As in the existing galleries, the new rooms will display fine and decorative arts in integrated displays, arranged thematically and roughly chronologically.
The Early 20th-Century Landscape
In the first of the five new rooms, visitors will see works made in the first half of the 20th century, with a focus on American landscape that includes California and the West. Highlights include paintings by Arthur Dove, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Edgar Payne, Granville Redmond, Guy Rose, and Charles Sheeler; Shreve silver; and a Frederick Remington bronze.
For the first year after the July opening, a new room devoted to photographs will display a rotation of examples from The Huntington’s collection of work by Edward Weston. The giant of modernist photography selected and printed for The Huntington 500 pictures concentrating on images that he had shot between 1937 and 1939, when he was on a Guggenheim grant. The installation will focus on some of his finest landscapes of California and the West.
America in the 1930s
Large and powerful works from the 1930s will dominate another room, with Sargent Johnson’s monumental redwood organ screen as the focal point. That work, acquired in 2011, originally was carved for the music hall of the California School for the Blind in Berkeley, Calif. Other artists represented in this room include John Stewart Curry, Hugo Gellert, Chaim Gross, Walt Kuhn, Reginald Marsh, John Svenson, and Charles White.
Geometric Abstraction and Pop Art
The Huntington acquired in 2013 a two-piece abstract bronze sculpture and a colorful painting by pioneering minimalist Tony Smith, along with a painting by “hard-edge” artist Frederick Hammersley. These pieces will be on view for the first time, complemented by a painting by John McLaughlin, also dubbed a “hard-edge” painter, as well as The Huntington’s rare Small Crushed Campbell’s Soup Can (Beef Noodle) (1962) and Brillo Box (1964) by Andy Warhol. Other works in this gallery will include Ed Ruscha’s Hurting the Word Radio #2 (1964), on loan from Joan and Jack Quinn; and Frank Stella’s Hiraqla Variation III (1969) and Louise Nevelson’s Vertical Zag I (1968), on loan from the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena.
While stationed in San Diego as a young medical technician in the Navy Hospital Corps, Robert Rauschenberg visited The Huntington. It was this visit and a look at The Huntington’s 18th-century British portraits that he credited for inspiring his decision to become an artist. The Huntington acquired the 1979 Global Loft (Spread) in 2012, a complex work that incorporates pieces of fabric, found objects (three glue brushes), and appropriated images with acrylic paint on three conjoined wood panels. It will be surrounded by prints lent by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation that explore the relationship between Rauschenberg’s printmaking practice and his paintings.
Curator: Jessica Todd Smith, Virginia Steele Scott Chief Curator of American Art
Contributing curators: James Glisson, Bradford and Christine Mishler Assistant Curator, American Art; and Hal Nelson, Curator, American Decorative Arts
Architect: Frederick Fisher and Partners Architects, Los Angeles
Exhibition Designer: Stephen Saitas Designs, New York
“Highlights of American Drawings and Watercolors from The Huntington’s Art Collections”
July 19, 2014–Jan. 5, 2015
Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art, Susan and Stephen Chandler Wing
Thirty rarely seen masterworks from The Huntington’s significant collection of American drawings and watercolors will be on view during this six-month-long exhibition in the Scott Galleries’ Chandler Wing. The installation highlights drawings by John Singer Sargent and Grant Wood, pastels by Mary Cassatt and Edwin Austin Abbey, and watercolors by Winslow Homer and Charles Burchfield. Some works will be rotated with others by the same artists in October 2014 for conservation reasons.
To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art, and to mark the Galleries’ expansion this summer, The Huntington is publishing the first book spotlighting its American art collections. American Made: Highlights from The Huntington Art Collections celebrates one of the finest repositories of American art in the United States. American Made is edited by Jessica Todd Smith and includes a foreword by Kevin Salatino, an essay by Smith on the history of the Scott Foundation and the development of The Huntington’s American art collection, and an essay by Alexander Nemerov, Carl and Marilynn Thoma Provostial Professor in the Arts and Humanities at Stanford University, on the history of innovation, inspired by specific works of art in the collection. Photography by Fredrick Nilsen.
Published by DelMonico Books • Prestel in association with The Huntington, the hardcover 192-page volume includes 143 color images and lists for $39.95. Available at The Huntington Store and from booksellers nationwide.
The Lois and Robert F. Erburu Gallery was made possible through the generous contributions of the following donors: The Ahmanson Foundation, the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation, Heather and Paul Haaga Jr., the Fletcher Jones Foundation, Estate of Bradford M. Mishler, the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, Anne and Jim Rothenberg, the Virginia Steele Scott Foundation, and the Weingart Foundation. The 2009 reinstallation of the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art was made possible through the generosity of Heather and Paul Haaga Jr., Susan and Stephen Chandler, and Steve Martin. The 2010–14 expansion and reinstallations were made possible by the Fletcher Jones Foundation, Lois and Robert F. Erburu, Steve Martin, and the Henry Luce Foundation.
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[EDITOR’S NOTE: High-resolution digital images available on request for publicity use.]
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About The Huntington
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution serving scholars and the general public. More information about The Huntington can be found online at huntington.org.
The Huntington is located at 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, Calif., 12 miles from downtown Los Angeles. It is open to the public Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from noon to 4:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Sunday, and Monday holidays from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Summer hours (Memorial Day through Labor Day) are 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Tuesdays and major holidays. Admission on weekdays: $20 adults, $15 seniors (65+), $12 students (ages 12–18 or with full-time student I.D.), $8 youth (ages 5–11), free for children under 5. Group rate, $11 per person for groups of 15 or more. Members are admitted free. Admission on weekends: $23 adults, $18 seniors, $13 students, $8 youth, free for children under 5. Group rate, $14 per person for groups of 15 or more. Members are admitted free. Admission is free to all visitors with advance tickets on the first Thursday of each month. Information: 626-405-2100 or huntington.org.
Installation views of the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Photos: Tim Street-Porter.
Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Photos: Tim Street-Porter.
Charles White (1918–1979), Soldier (1944), tempera on masonite, 30 x 25 in. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. © 1944 The Charles White Archives.
Andy Warhol (1928–1987), Brillo Box, 1964, silkscreen and house paint on plywood, 17 × 17 × 14 in. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. © 2011 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photography © 2014 Fredrik Nilsen.
George Benjamin Luks, (1867–1933), The Breaker Boys, ca. 1925, oil on canvas, 50 × 60 in.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
Edwin Walter Dickinson (1891–1978) Toward Mrs. Driscoll's, 1928, oil on canvas, 50 × 40 in. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
John Steuart Curry (1897–1946), State Fair, 1929, oil on canvas, 69 × 91 1/2 in. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
Walt Kuhn (1880–1949), Top Man, 1931, oil on canvas, 72 × 32 in. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
Glen Lukens (1887–1967), art pottery bowl, late 1940s, earthenware with crackle glaze, 13 in. diameter. The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens. Photography © 2014 Fredrik Nilsen.