Northwest NEWS

November 29, 1999


SAM's 'Year of America' to feature renowned American artists

by Deborah Stone

   A year of world-renowned exhibitions that highlight American contributions to art will begin at the turn of the millennium at the Seattle Art Museum.

   "Year of America" celebrates the unique talents and accomplishments of American artists and will include first-rate shows of Roy Lichtenstein, Eastman Johnson, the Ebsworth Collection of Modern Art, and John Singer Sargent.

   Opening first on January 20th is the exhibition "Seattle Collects Lichenstein." Most of the works in this show will be drawn from local collections and will be representative of the pop artist's career from the 1960s to the 1990s. In his early Pop paintings, Lichtenstein mimicked commercial printing techniques and won notoriety for transforming comic book images into large, elegant, and witty paintings.

   In June, SAM will host "Eastman Johnson: Painting America," the first major retrospective of the artist's work in more than twenty-five years. Organized by the Brooklyn Museum of Art, this exhibition includes paintings and drawings representing Johnson's long and productive career spanning the pre-Civil War era to the turn of this century.

   In its only showing following its presentation at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., SAM will exhibit early American modern art collected by Barney A. Ebsworth (March 5-June 11). "The Ebsworth Collection: 20th Century American Art" is an exciting cross-section of American painting from the World War I era through the 1960s. Artists represented include Edward Hopper, Georgia O'Keeffe, Alexander Calder, and Arthur Dove. SAM is the exhibition's only venue besides the National Gallery.

   "Creating Perfection: Shaker Objects and Their Affinities" (Oct. 5-April 29) is the first show to explore the unique Shaker style through an examination of the social forces that molded the Shakers' society and influenced their art. Three-dimensional objects, mainly furniture and textiles, will be featured, along with works on paper depicting aspects of Shaker life.

   To complete the year, SAM is organizing the first major exhibition of John Singer Sargent's work on the West Coast. "John Singer Sargent" (Dec. 14, 2000-March 18, 2001) will include portraits of Sargent's patrons, charcoal drawings of male figures from Harvard's Fogg Museum, holiday watercolors and oil sketches, and additional drawings and informal portraits made throughout the artist's career. SAM's Deputy Director of Art and curator of the Sargent show will author a book to complement the exhibition.

   The museum will provide an extensive program schedule of lectures, art classes, gallery guides, and gallery talks for adults and children to complement "Year of America." For more information, call 206-654-3100.