The Newport Art Museum is pleased to welcome “Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney: Sculpture,” a traveling exhibition organized by the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida, and curated by Ellen E. Roberts, the Harold and Anne Berkley Smith Curator of American Art. “Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney: Sculpture” will be on view through July 21 in the Cushing and Morris galleries of the Newport Art Museum’s Cushing Building, located at 76 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI.
From the museum:
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney is best known as an art patron and founder of New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art. Yet she also had a significant career as a sculptor, exhibiting throughout the United States and Europe and receiving major commissions and prizes. This is the first exhibition of Whitney’s art since her death in 1942.
“Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney: Sculpture” will showcase rarely seen works from private collections, examining the remarkable variety of the artist’s work — from her earliest classical sculptures to her more symbolic public monuments, from her bleakly Realist depiction of the tragedy of World War I to her late Art Deco work. Whitney was one of the only Americans who did not glorify the war in her public monuments, and her sensitive portraits of working-class people, including African Americans and the unemployed, are also unusually nuanced for her time. A century after she worked, both the compelling nature of Whitney’s art and her contemporaries’ admiration for it make it time for a reassessment.
Coinciding with the exhibition, the Museum will present two lectures inspired by “Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney: Sculpture.” Avis Berman, an independent writer, critic, and art historian, will present “Distilling the American Flavor: Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Juliana Force, and the Creation of the Whitney Museum” on Friday, May 17, at 6 p.m. David Lubin, the Charlotte C. Weber Professor of Art at Wake Forest University, will present “Whitney at War: Healing, Death, and Memory in the WWI Sculptures” on Thursday, July 11, at 6 p.m.
“Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney: Sculpture” is organized by the Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida. This exhibition is made possible by the generosity of Anne Berkley Smith. Additional support is provided by the Priscilla and John Richman Endowment for American Art, the Mr. and Mrs. Hamish Maxwell Exhibition Endowment, and the Diane Belfer Endowment for Sculpture. The Newport Art Museum is grateful to Ray and Barbara Dalio for their generous support of the exhibition in Newport. We thank Katharine B. Cushing for additional support.
More details about the exhibition are available at newportartmuseum.org.