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Redefining the Modern Landscape in Europe and America
Pierre Daura (American, born Spain, 1896-1976) Mallorcan Village, 1932, Oil on canvas, 28 1/8 x 23 ¼ inches. Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia; gift of Martha Randolph Daura GMOA 2003.309.

ATHENS, GA.- Redefining the Modern Landscape in Europe and America, ca. 1920-1940, an exhibition highlighting selections depicting landscape from the museum’s permanent collection, will be on view at the Georgia Museum of Art from Nov. 3, 2007, through Jan. 27, 2008.

Landscape as a distinct pictorial genre began to reemerge in the 16th century as a test for artists to demonstrate their skills by competing with nature. But its rise was not solely motivated by an attempt to accurately record the outside world. Portraying nature was a way to investigate the connection between human life and earthly beauty and to associate modern civilization with a mythic past. It was also effective in celebrating the heritage and identity of a particular region.

“This exhibition allows the Georgia Museum of Art to showcase its strength in collecting European and American art of the early 20th century, areas that continue to grow through acquisitions and extended loans,” said Giancarlo Fiorenza, the museum’s Pierre Daura Curator of European Art and co-curator of this exhibition. “The focus on landscape will prove visually stimulating and historically significant, with images ranging from idyllic visions to rugged nature that draw from and transform past aesthetic traditions.”

In the 19th century, the Impressionists in France and their counterparts in the United States used landscape as a platform to feature new art, with their spontaneous experiments breaking from the academic tradition of history painting and celebrating rural life.

By the 20th century, with the rise of abstract art, landscape as a genre became somewhat threatened. This exhibition reveals how artists working in Europe and the U.S. continued to represent landscapes by appealing to and transforming past traditions to make new statements.

Artists in the 20th century used landscape (and nature) to comment on the effects of technology, to elicit reflection on human authenticity and to meditate on the beauty of the environment.

Including works from the permanent collection and on extended loan to the Georgia Museum of Art, Redefining the Modern Landscape in Europe and America, ca. 1920-1940 features such artists as Thomas Hart Benton, Pierre Bonnard, Pierre Daura, Rockwell Kent and Georgia O’Keeffe. The exhibition is generously supported by the Pierre Daura Center for European Art, the W. Newton Morris Charitable Foundation and the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art.

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