January 28, 2023 – May 14, 2023

The Agrarian Spirit: Cultivating Ruralism and Regionalism in American Art

Beginning with the advent of farming during the Neolithic Era, humans have long cultivated an intimate relationship with land through agricultural practice. In the early 20th century, Regionalist art celebrated American agrarianism and its adherents with emotion-laden landscape scenes while advocating for ruralism (country living and values) over urbanism and city living. The style derived its formal characteristics from the work of Thomas Hart Benton, Grant Wood, and John Steuart Curry – the Regionalist Triumvirate. Their works feature among the 20 works on paper in this exhibition, which examines the compositions and contexts of agrarian imagery produced in this country between 1920 and 1950.

Featured Image: George Schreiber (American, 1904-1977), Cotton Pickers, 1943, Lithograph on paper, Museum purchase with funds from the Exchange Club Charities, 1982.6.18.

Image Right: Grant Wood (American, 1891-1942), Fertility, 1939, Lithograph on paper, Gift of the Estate of John and Margaret Hill, 1994.19.19.

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