You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

New exhibit explores rural influence on modern American art

Associated Press logo Associated Press 2/9/2017 By KATE BRUMBACK, Associated Press
In this Monday, Feb. 6, 2017 photo, Maynard Dixon's 1935 painting "Red Butte with Mountain Men" is displayed in the exhibit "Cross Country: The Power of Place in American Art, 1915-1950," at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. The new exhibition at takes a look at how American artists during the modernist period traveled outside cities to find inspiration in the rural landscape. (AP Photo/David Goldman) © The Associated Press In this Monday, Feb. 6, 2017 photo, Maynard Dixon's 1935 painting "Red Butte with Mountain Men" is displayed in the exhibit "Cross Country: The Power of Place in American Art, 1915-1950," at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. The new exhibition at takes a look at how American artists during the modernist period traveled outside cities to find inspiration in the rural landscape. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

ATLANTA (AP) — A new exhibition takes a look at how American artists found inspiration in rural landscapes during an era of modernist art that was more closely associated with cities.

In this Monday, Feb. 6, 2017 photo, Hale Woodruff's 1942 painting "Opening Day at Talladega College," is displayed as a docent takes notes during a tour of the exhibit "Cross Country: The Power of Place in American Art, 1915-1950," at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. The new exhibition at takes a look at how American artists during the modernist period traveled outside cities to find inspiration in the rural landscape. (AP Photo/David Goldman) © The Associated Press In this Monday, Feb. 6, 2017 photo, Hale Woodruff's 1942 painting "Opening Day at Talladega College," is displayed as a docent takes notes during a tour of the exhibit "Cross Country: The Power of Place in American Art, 1915-1950," at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. The new exhibition at takes a look at how American artists during the modernist period traveled outside cities to find inspiration in the rural landscape. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

"Cross Country: The Power of Place in American Art, 1915-1950" opens Sunday at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. It features about 200 works from more than 80 artists, including Georgia O'Keeffe, Grant Wood, Jacob Lawrence and Andrew Wyeth. It is divided into five geographical regions — the South, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Northeast and the West — based on the part of the country featured in the works.

In this Monday, Feb. 6, 2017 photo, the entrance to the exhibit "Cross Country: The Power of Place in American Art, 1915-1950," is seen at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. The new exhibition at takes a look at how American artists during the modernist period traveled outside cities to find inspiration in the rural landscape. (AP Photo/David Goldman) © The Associated Press In this Monday, Feb. 6, 2017 photo, the entrance to the exhibit "Cross Country: The Power of Place in American Art, 1915-1950," is seen at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. The new exhibition at takes a look at how American artists during the modernist period traveled outside cities to find inspiration in the rural landscape. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

"The thing that they all share is that these are all works that reflect an artist thinking about or being moved by a specific location," High curator of American art Stephanie Heydt said.

In this Monday, Feb. 6, 2017 photo, Ansel Adams' 1940 photograph "Yosemite Valley from Inspiration Point, Winter, Yosemite National Park," is displayed in the exhibit "Cross Country: The Power of Place in American Art, 1915-1950," at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. The new exhibition at takes a look at how American artists during the modernist period traveled outside cities to find inspiration in the rural landscape. (AP Photo/David Goldman) © The Associated Press In this Monday, Feb. 6, 2017 photo, Ansel Adams' 1940 photograph "Yosemite Valley from Inspiration Point, Winter, Yosemite National Park," is displayed in the exhibit "Cross Country: The Power of Place in American Art, 1915-1950," at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. The new exhibition at takes a look at how American artists during the modernist period traveled outside cities to find inspiration in the rural landscape. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

While American artists still traveled to Europe for instruction and inspiration in the first half of the 20th century, many also began to focus on things that were new to them closer to home, Heydt said. They looked outside major cities and found pastoral settings with barns and rolling hills, industrialism creeping into previously pristine spaces, dramatic vistas and scenes of regular people living their everyday lives.

In this Monday, Feb. 6, 2017 photo, Ralston Crawford's 1936-1937 painting "Steel Foundry, Coatesville," left, and Charles Demuth's 1931 painting "Buildings Abstraction, Lancaster" are displayed as docents are given a tour of the exhibit "Cross Country: The Power of Place in American Art, 1915-1950," at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. The new exhibition at takes a look at how American artists during the modernist period traveled outside cities to find inspiration in the rural landscape. (AP Photo/David Goldman) © The Associated Press In this Monday, Feb. 6, 2017 photo, Ralston Crawford's 1936-1937 painting "Steel Foundry, Coatesville," left, and Charles Demuth's 1931 painting "Buildings Abstraction, Lancaster" are displayed as docents are given a tour of the exhibit "Cross Country: The Power of Place in American Art, 1915-1950," at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. The new exhibition at takes a look at how American artists during the modernist period traveled outside cities to find inspiration in the rural landscape. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

"We often think of modernity being sparked by modern urban spaces," Heydt said. "But the story should also include the rural spaces, the places that artists retreated to."

In this Monday, Feb. 6, 2017 photo, Niles Spencer's 1927 painting "The Dormer Window," left, and Andrew Wyeth's 1946 painting "The Stone Fence" are displayed as a security guard walks through the exhibit "Cross Country: The Power of Place in American Art, 1915-1950," at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. The new exhibition at takes a look at how American artists during the modernist period traveled outside cities to find inspiration in the rural landscape. (AP Photo/David Goldman) © The Associated Press In this Monday, Feb. 6, 2017 photo, Niles Spencer's 1927 painting "The Dormer Window," left, and Andrew Wyeth's 1946 painting "The Stone Fence" are displayed as a security guard walks through the exhibit "Cross Country: The Power of Place in American Art, 1915-1950," at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. The new exhibition at takes a look at how American artists during the modernist period traveled outside cities to find inspiration in the rural landscape. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

She cited four main reasons for the artists' travel: relaxation and escape from the bustle of the urban environment; a sense of community found in artist colonies and art schools; government or foundation grants or commissions from commercial customers; curiosity about unfamiliar places and a desire to experience the unknown.

In this Monday, Feb. 6, 2017 photo, docents file past "Appraisal" painted in 1931 by Grant Wood as it's displayed in the exhibit "Cross Country: The Power of Place in American Art, 1915-1950," at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. The new exhibition at takes a look at how American artists during the modernist period traveled outside cities to find inspiration in the rural landscape. (AP Photo/David Goldman) © The Associated Press In this Monday, Feb. 6, 2017 photo, docents file past "Appraisal" painted in 1931 by Grant Wood as it's displayed in the exhibit "Cross Country: The Power of Place in American Art, 1915-1950," at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. The new exhibition at takes a look at how American artists during the modernist period traveled outside cities to find inspiration in the rural landscape. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Thomas Hart Benton, usually associated with the Midwest, traveled to the South and captures a weathered old tobacco farmer teaching a slight young girl about tobacco leaves in "Tobacco Sorters," a commission for a tobacco company that was ultimately rejected. Another of his pieces, "The Cliffs," shows sculpted-looking cliffs rising over crashing waves on the island of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts.

In this Monday, Feb. 6, 2017 photo, Frederick C. Flemister's painting "Man with Brush" from 1940 hangs at right as docents are given a tour of the exhibit "Cross Country: The Power of Place in American Art, 1915-1950," at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. The new exhibition at takes a look at how American artists during the modernist period traveled outside cities to find inspiration in the rural landscape. (AP Photo/David Goldman) © The Associated Press In this Monday, Feb. 6, 2017 photo, Frederick C. Flemister's painting "Man with Brush" from 1940 hangs at right as docents are given a tour of the exhibit "Cross Country: The Power of Place in American Art, 1915-1950," at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. The new exhibition at takes a look at how American artists during the modernist period traveled outside cities to find inspiration in the rural landscape. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

"Opening Day at Talladega College," painted by Hale Woodruff in 1942, is one of a series of six murals for the historically black college's library that traces the slave's journey to freedom. The bright colors lend vibrancy to the scenes of former slaves registering for classes. The other five murals are on display in another part of the High to complement this exhibition.

In "Black Hunter," Andrew Wyeth paints an old friend of his in a rural field. The painting, drawn from the artist's personal memories, has a haunting quality, Heydt noted. It hangs near works by his father N.C. Wyeth and sister Carolyn Wyeth.

O'Keeffe's "Red Canna" captures the canna lilies that caught the artist's eye when she visited the family home in Lake George, New York, of her husband, Alfred Stieglitz, whose photographs are on display nearby. The painting, from 1919, gives a preview of her bright floral paintings with blended colors that have become so popular.

Maynard Dixon's "Red Butte with Mountain Men," a stunning large-scale painting from 1935, shows men on horseback in the shadow of spectacular rock formations. The warm colors radiate from the canvas like sunlight reflecting from the mesas.

A large-scale print of Ansel Adams' iconic "Teton Range and Snake River (Grant Teton National Park, Wyoming, 1942)" captures the majesty of the Western landscape in a way that is so familiar but still breathtaking.

The exhibition is a collaboration between the High and the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, and expands on a recent Brandywine show called "Rural Modern: American Art Beyond the City."

___

If You Go...

CROSS COUNTRY: THE POWER OF PLACE IN AMERICAN ART, 1915-1950: Feb. 12-May 7, High Museum of Art, 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta; http://www.high.org, 404-733-5000. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Fridays until 9 p.m.; Sundays, noon-5 p.m. Ages 6 and up: $14.50; children 5 and under, free.

AdChoices
AdChoices
AdChoices
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon