American Moderns, 1910-1960: From O'Keeffe to Rockwell
During the five decades between 1910 and 1960, American society underwent tumultuous and far-reaching transformations. As the United States emerged as an international power of economic, industrial, and military might, Americans also witnessed two world wars and the Great Depression. Urbanization and new technologies altered all aspects of modern life, and an increasingly diverse population clamored for the opportunities promised by the American dream. In response to these dramatic changes, many American artists rejected or reformulated artistic traditions and sought new ways to portray contemporary life.
Published in conjunction with a traveling exhibition of works from the world-renowned collection of the Brooklyn Museum, American Moderns, 1910–1960: From O'Keeffe to Rockwell explores the myriad ways in which American artists engaged modernity. Featured are 53 paintings and 4 sculptures, ranging widely in subject matter and style, by such artists as Marsden Hartley, Stuart Davis, Arthur Dove, and Max Weber, leaders of American modernism; Precisionists George Ault and Francis Criss; Social Realists Reginald Marsh and Raphael Soyer; and the folk-art icon Grandma Moses. The book's introduction sets the stage for six thematic sections, each with an introductory essay—Cubist Experiments, The Still Life Revisited, Nature Essentialized, Modern Structures, Engaging Characters, and Americana—tracing the period's dominant artistic developments. Interpretive text for each object and reproductions of comparative works provide further insight into how these artists shaped modern art.