Encompassing over seventy works drawn from public and private collections throughout the United States and Europe, Dutch Utopia: American Artists in Holland, 1880-1914 examines the work of forty-three American painters drawn to Holland during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These artists, responding to the negative aspects of rapid urbanization, established colonies in six communities in the Netherlands: Dordrecht, Egmond, Katwijk, Laren, Rijsoord, and Volendam. With the exception of Dordrecht, all were small, pre-industrial villages. Inspired by their pastoral surroundings as well as the great tradition of seventeenth-century Dutch art and the work of the contemporary Hague School, these American artists created visions of Dutch society underpinned by a nostalgic yearning for a pre-modern way of life. Some of these paintings even alluded to America’s own colonial Dutch heritage, exploring shared histories and cultural connections between the two countries.
Dutch Utopia includes works by artists who remain celebrated today, such as Robert Henri, William Merritt Chase, John Twachtman, and John Singer Sargent, along with painters admired in their own time but less well-known now, including accomplished women like Elizabeth Nourse and Anna Stanley, as well as George Hitchcock, Gari Melchers, and Walter MacEwen, who built international reputations with salon pictures of Dutch landscapes and costumed figures. These artists were among hundreds of Americans who traveled to the Netherlands between 1880 and 1914 to paint and to study. Some lived in Holland for decades, while others stayed only a week or two; but most passed quickly through the major cities to small rural communities, where they created picturesque idylls on canvas.
Dutch Utopia: American Artists in Holland, 1880-1914 is organized by the Telfair Musems in association with the Singer Laren Museum. Accompanied by a major scholarly catalogue, the show will travel to the Taft Museum of Art in Cincinnati, the Grand Rapids Art Museum, and the Singer Laren Museum in the Netherlands after its debut in Savannah.
This exhibition is made possible through the generous support of the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Henry Luce Foundation, with major additional support provided by the Telfair Academy Guild. Further support for the exhibition has been provided by the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, The Netherland-America Foundation, Mrs. Joanne Holbrook Patton, and Mrs. Robert O. Levitt. Programming at Telfair Museums is also supported in part by the City of Savannah and the Georgia Council for the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.
February 5 – May 2, 2010, at Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati, Ohio
May 21 – August 15, 2010, at Grand Rapids Art Museum, Michigan
September 16, 2010 – January 16, 2011, at Singer Laren Museum, the Netherlands
Preferred Savannah Hotel for Dutch Utopia is
The Mulberry Inn: A Historic Savannah Hotel
601 E. Bay Street, Savannah, GA
Images from top to bottom left to right: John Henry Twachtman (1853-1902); Windmills (detail), c. 1885; Oil on canvas; Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen G. Vollmer, Cincinnati, Ohio. George Hitchcock (1850-1913); The Stork’s Nest (details), c. 1890-1906; Oil on canvas, 22 ¼ x 17 ¼ inches; Private Collection, Kiawah Island, South Carolina. George Hitchcock (1850-1913), In Windmill Land (detail), n.d., Oil on canvas, 44 x 35 ¼ inches, Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, New York, Gift of the Baker/Pisano Collection. Robert Henri, (American, 1865-1929), Dutch Girl Laughing, 1907, Oil on canvas, 32 x 26 inches, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas; Dallas Art Association Purchase. Walter MacEwen, (American, 1858-1943), The Ghost Story, 1887, Oil on canvas, 47 â… x 75 â…œ inches, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio; Gift of Mrs. Edward S. Harkness, 1923.416.
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