The Cornish Art Colony: Giants of America’s Gilded Age
Tyler Museum of Art
January 16 through April 17, 2011
Spectacular large-scale murals by Maxfield Parrish from the Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Collection, a nearly seven-foot tall, golden Diana of the Tower, and ruggedly dynamic horse and rider sculptures by Frederic Remington combine with other works in the Tyler Museum of Art exhibition titled The Cornish Art Colony: Giants of America’s Gilded Age to create a visually stunning experience for visitors now through April 17, 2011.
On view in the Museum’s North Gallery, the exhibition commemorates the 125th founding in 1885 of the Cornish Art Colony by Augustus Saint-Gaudens and includes over 60 works in various media including sculptures, oil paintings, pastels, etchings, and more. The exhibition is a collaboration of the Parrish House Museum, Plainfield, New Hampshire, and the Tyler Museum of Art and was curated by Maxfield Parrish scholar and Director of the Parrish House Museum, Alma Gilbert-Smith.
“The creative talents of the artists of the Cornish Art Colony were instrumental in shaping the aesthetic taste of the nation during the latter part of the 19th century,” said Mrs. Gilbert-Smith. “Today, many still consider that aesthetic to represent the Golden Age in America Art.” Works by members of this elite group of artists may be found today in major American museum and art collection, including the White House, the National Library, and many more. “The creators of these paintings were members of the fabled Gilded Age of American Art and represented the highest ideals of their age for beauty and technical superiority,” said Mrs. Gilbert-Smith.
The Cornish Art Colony
One of the most important art colonies in the United States, the Cornish Art Colony was located in New England and was made up of celebrated artists from major art centers such as New York, Boston and Philadelphia. Founded by Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848–1907), who traveled to Cornish, New Hampshire in search of an Abraham Lincoln-type model for his Standing Lincoln bronze sculpture commissioned by the City of Chicago, the artist was soon joined by his friends in the arts who thought that the location provided a perfect place, away from the city’s summer heat, where they could congregate as like-minded individuals and create their art in an idyllic setting. The area’s bucolic hills and meadows, trickling streams and majestic mountains provided endless inspiration to the group of artists who gathered there.
Maria and Thomas Dewing, Bessie Potter and Robert Vonnoh, Mary and Frederick MacMonnies, Kenyon Cox, Stephen Parrish and his son Maxfield, and Frederic Remington are important American artists who are among those hailing informal membership in this influential group. One of the most recognized sculptures to originate within the colony is Saint-Gaudens’ gilded Diana of the Tower, which is a version of the original design by the artist created for installation at the top of the Madison Square Garden Building’s 347-foot tower in 1908. In it’s original installation, Saint-Gauden’s Diana was illuminated by over 6,000 Edison Mazda electric bulbs, making it a glowing symbol of the Gilded Age. The Diana on view in this exhibition is No. 5 of 7 casts created from the original stone molds.
The Cornish Art Colony: Giants of America’s Gilded Age was co-organized by the Tyler Museum of Art and the Parrish House Museum, Plainfield, New Hampshire. Guest curator of the exhibition is Alma Gilbert-Smith, Director of the Parrish House Museum. Signature Supporter is John R. Williford, co-Trustee, Jean & Graham Devoe Williford Charitable Trust. Underwriter is Thomas C. Campbell, co-Trustee, Jean & Graham Devoe Williford Charitable Trust. Friend is Sheryl Rogers Palmer. Collectors’ Circle Sponsors are Marilyn & Lanier Richey and Joyce & Bill Pirtle.
Tyler Museum of Art
The Tyler Museum of Art, accredited by the American Association of Museums, is supported by its Members, Tyler Junior College, and the City of Tyler, and is located at 1300 S. Mahon Ave., adjacent to the Tyler Junior College campus off East Fifth Street. Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. (The Museum is closed Mondays and major holidays.) Lunch is available in the Museum Café from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and the TMA Gift Shop is open during Museum hours. For more information, call (903) 595-1001 or visit www.tylermuseum.org.