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Museum Mondays: On Tonalism, modernism in Hollensteiner lecture

February 10, 2014

Adrienne Baxter Bell, professor of Art History at New York’s Marymount Manhattan College, will be giving the annual Hollensteiner Conservation Lecture Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in the Wright Museum. Bell’s extensive research has led to numerous publications on the American Tonalists, an art movement that emerged in the late 19th century. The term Tonalism was coined due to the characteristic washes of neutral colors over landscapes, giving the painting a distinct mood or “tone.”

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Bell’s lecture, “In Search of the Spiritual: The Paintings of Alexander Hedwig Wyant” will focus on this year’s Hollensteiner Conservation piece, a 19th-century landscape called “The Meadows.” Both the canvas and the gilded frame have been conserved, making this work as striking as it was when gifted by Reverend Van Ess, class of 1922. In her talk, Bell argues that Tonalism should no longer be viewed as a late-19th-century American art historical movement with limited relevance. Instead, it resonated with key principles of European and American modernism; moreover, it continues to shape the works and ideas of many contemporary landscape painters.

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Two other works by Alexander Wyant are on view in the Hollensteiner gallery, alongside paintings by William Merrit Chase, Theodore Robinson, Ada Shulz, and William Keith. If those names don’t grab you, how about Rembrandt, Picasso, and Warhol? Works from these artists and many more are currently on display.

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Please join Professor Bell at the Wright Museum on Wednesday. The reception starts at 6:30 p.m., refreshments will be served, and Professor Bell will begin her lecture promptly at 7 p.m.