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New Britain Museum of American Art: Collection Overview
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The collections now number approximately 11,791 paintings, works on paper, sculptures, photographs and illustrations by American artists. The last, a unique component of the holdings, is the Sanford B.D. Low Illustration Collection, named in memory of the first director. It represents an enormous range of media and subject matter and includes important works by such noted illustrators as Norman Rockwell.

Among the highlights of the entire collection, the museum houses a fine selection of colonial and federal portraits, with excellent examples by John Smibert, John Trumbull, Mather Brown, John Singleton Copley, Charles Willson Peale, Sarah Peale, Gilbert Stuart and Ralph Earl. Another strength is in the Hudson River School, both early and late, with landscapes by Thomas Cole, Thomas Doughty, Asher B. Durand, Fitz Hugh Lane, Martin Johnson Heade, John Kensett, Albert Bierstadt and Frederic Church.

Nineteenth-century still lifes include important examples by Raphaelle Peale, Severin Roesen, William Harnett, John Peto, John Haberle and John La Farge. American genre painting and sculpture are well represented by John Quidor, William Sidney Mount, Lilly Martin Spencer, J.G. Brown, and John Rogers. There is also a significant concentration of post-Civil War figural painting and sculpture, including works by Winslow Homer, Thomas Eakins, Mary Cassatt, John Singer Sargent, J. Alden Weir, George de Forest Brush, Joseph DeCamp, Frank Benson, William Paxton, Elizabeth Nourse and nineteen plasters and bronzes by Solon Borglum.

Of particular note within this rich and vast range of artwork is the museum's Impressionist collection, which begins chronologically with a prized pastel by Mary Cassatt and continues with sparkling works by Theodore Robinson, John Henry Twachtman, J. Alden Weir, Willard Metcalf and Childe Hassam, the last represented by eleven oils alone. Later Impressionist paintings include those by William Glackens, Ernest Lawson, Frederck Frieseke, Louis Ritman, Robert Miller and Maurice Prendergast.

Other strengths of the twentieth-century collection include: sixty works by members of the Ash Can School; significant representation by early modernists such as Alfred Maurer, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Max Weber; important examples by the Precisionists Charles Demuth, Charles Sheeler, Preston Dickinson and Ralston Crawford; a good showing by the American Scene painters Charles Burchfield and Edward Hopper; a broad spectrum of work by the Social Realists Ben Shahn, Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence and Jack Levine; and ambitious examples of Regionalist painting by Grant Wood, John Steuart Curry and Thomas Hart Benton, notably the latter's celebrated five-panel mural, The Arts of Life in America (1932).

Works by the American Abstract Artist group (Stuart Davis, Ilya Bolotowsky, Esphyr Slobodkina, Balcomb Greene, Milton Avery) give twentieth-century abstraction its place in the collection, as do later examples of Surrealism (Kay Sage, George Tooker), Abstract Expressionism (Lee Krasner, Giorgio Cavallon, Morris Graves, Robert Motherwell, Sam Francis, Cleve Gray), Pop and Op art (Andy Warhol, Larry Rivers, Robert Indiana, Tom Wesselman, Jim Dine), Conceptual (Christo, Sol LeWitt), and Photo-Realism (Robert Cottingham). Good examples of twentieth-century sculpture include Harriet Frishmuth, Paul Manship, Isamu Noguchi, George Segal and Stephen DeStaebler.



 

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