A rugged young hunter stands with one leg on the root of a large tree stump, a deerskin and rifle slung over his shoulders as if to show off his hunting skills.
This scene of “A Huntsman and Dogs” portrayed by Winslow Homer, one of the most admired American painters of the late 19th century, reflects the sense of accomplishment Americans felt during the years of expansion of the railroad and industrialization, as well as one of the era’s most popular pastimes.
|“A Huntsman and Dogs” by Winslow Homer, 1891 (The National Museum of Korea)|
Observations of people’s emotions as well as the social and political milieu in the U.S. from the 18th to 20th century can be seen through the masterpieces of American art all gathered in one place for the first time in Korea.
The “Art Across America” exhibition displays 168 pieces spanning phases of American art history from George Washington to Jackie Kennedy, and from Columbus’ landing to today’s America.
“It portrays the essence of American art, carefully selected by four prestigious art institutions in the U.S.,” said Kim Young-na, director of the National Museum of Korea, at a press conference on Monday. “I think it’s the first exhibition in Asia featuring artworks that show 300 years of American history and culture in one package,” she added.
The exhibition includes iconic artworks from four major U.S. art institutions: the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Terra Foundation for American Art.
“This project was designed as a true partnership from the beginning,” added Timothy Rub, director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, at Monday’s press conference.
The idea for the comprehensive exhibition was hatched when Rub met the museum’s then-director Choe Kwang-shik, who is now Culture Minister, in 2011.
In two years of selection and preparation, the exhibition gathered some of the most representative artworks in the history of American art from the superstars of American contemporary art such as Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol to the important works of America’s beloved masters ― John Singleton Copley, Winslow Homer and Thomas Eakins.
Divided into six sections, the exhibition begins with portraiture from the 18th century, at the birth of the independent republic.
Notably, the history of American life is also represented in furniture and craftworks used during each time period.
|“Portrait of John and Elizabeth Lloyd Cadwalader and Their Daughter Anne” by Charles Willson Peale, 1772. (The National Museum of Korea)|
The “18th Century Sitting Room” shows the decorative arts of the colonial era, featuring “Portrait of John and Elizabeth Lloyd Cadwalader and Their Daughter Anne.”
“These paintings would have been in someone’s very expensive home. Because many of the artists were friends with art collectors, these works live in people’s homes,” said Christine Starkman, curator of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Other displays include Native American craftworks and paintings, including Frederic Remington’s bleak and desolate landscape “The Herd Boy.”
In a reciprocal event to the current exhibition, artworks from Korea’s Joseon period will tour the participating museums of the exhibition in the U.S. next year.
The exhibition “Art Across America” will continue through May 19 at the National Museum of Korea and from June 18 to Sept. 1 at the Daejeon Museum of Art. Admission is 12,000 won for adults, 10,000 won for teenagers and 8,000 for children.
For more information, call 1661-2440 or visit www.artacrossamerica2013.com
By Lee Woo-young (email@example.com