Encouraging American Genius: Master Paintings from the Corcoran Gallery of Art Showcases 150 years of American Art
Sarasota, FL – Jan. 3, 2007 – Encouraging American Genius: Master Paintings from the Corcoran Gallery of Art, featuring more than 150 years of iconic American art opens in The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art’s new special exhibition galleries on Feb. 3, 2007.
This exhibition, along with Bedazzled: 5,000 Years of Jewelry from the Walters Art Museum (Feb. 3 – May 27, 2007), inaugurates The Ulla R. and Arthur F. Searing Wing. The exhibitions are beautifully showcased within the expanded galleries with contemporary lighting and luxurious hardwood floors.
Encouraging American Genius features more than 70 objects that are divided into five groups relating to important eras in U.S. history. The exhibition starts with the creation of the United States, featuring distinguished portraits of our forefathers like Gilbert Stuart’s well-known George Washington. It then explores the country’s coming of age with impressive views of the natural beauty of the new nation such as Frederic Church’s Niagara and follows America through industrialization, urbanization, and the turmoil of the Great Depression and World Wars I and II.
“The exquisite works will be familiar to Americans because we’ve seen them in our history books and we know how these points in history shaped our country,” said Curator Exhibitions for the Ringling Museum Joanna Weber. “These are iconic works with sentimental roots, but they are also stunning representations of the talent of artists in America.”
“The show documents the gestation of an entirely new artistic language that was, at first, strongly influenced by British and French art, but then fiercely came into its own,” Weber said.
The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. possesses one of the strongest collections of American paintings in the world. Notable American painters featured in Encouraging American Genius include Thomas Cole, Albert Bierstadt, John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, and Edward Hopper. A companion book, A Capital Collection: Masterworks from the Corcoran Gallery of Art, accompanies this exhibition. Encouraging American Genius is open through April 29, 2007.
The newly constructed Ulla R. and Arthur F. Searing Wing, inspired by a design approved by John Ringling himself, expands the Ringling Museum’s ability to present major traveling exhibitions such as Encouraging American Genius. It adds 20,000 square feet of exhibition space to the Museum building, expanding the total gallery space to 122,560 square feet and also providing space to display portions of the permanent collection long relegated to storage.