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"Pride in Place: Landscapes by the Eight in Southern Collections"
2000-04-01 until 2000-05-14
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
Montgomery, AL, USA United States of America

Artwork by members of the group known as THE EIGHT is well represented in Southern museum collections with more than 150 pieces held by regional institutions. The Albany Museum, collaborating with these institutions including the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, has organized Pride in Place: Landscapes by the Eight in Southern Collections. This exhibition brings together paintings and works on paper by artists whose style was initially a source of controversy, but eventually proved revolutionary in the development of twentieth-century American art.

Early in the twentieth century, Macbeth Gallery in New York City was one of the few commercial venues for the exhibition of contemporary American art. Most opportunities for public access to artists' works were obtained through the exhibition societies such as the National Academy of Design, which encouraged conventional styles and traditional subject matter when admitting works of art to their shows. In 1908, Macbeth and more a group of eight paintersóRobert Henri, John Sloan, William Glackens, Ernest Lawson, George Luks, Everett Shinn, Arthur B. Davies, and Maurice Prendergastóchallenged the academy-dominated system and exhibited their work, described by many critics of the time as radical. This judgment, based primarily on these artists' choice of subject matter depicting everyday urban life in America, proved defining for this group's identity and though they never exhibited together as a group again in their lifetimes, they have remained associated with a shift in the appreciation of subject and style in American painting.

Though critics proclaimed their subject matter undignified (thus the second term applied to the groupóAshcan School), the members were soon the undisputed champions of the New York art world. Influential as spokesmen for American art, as well as teachers of subsequent generations of artists, THE EIGHT are today recognized as a key source for American realist painting. The works in Pride in Place represent a treasury of their accomplishments and also exemplify the extraordinary collection building that has enriched art museums in the Southern states.


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