NEW BRITAIN- The New Britain Museum of American Art will host For America: Paintings from the National Academy of Design exhibit, showcasing works from the oldest artist honorary society in the United States from Oct. 17 through Jan. 26, 2020.
NBMAA will be the second stop on the national tour featuring over ninety works spanning form 1809 to the present. For America is the first exhibit to highlight the fundamental characteristic of the National Academy’s collection: the joint presentation of an artist’s portrait with her or his representative work.
“Essentially, this exhibit presents the way artists see the world alongside the way they see themselves inhabiting that world. It’s an unprecedented look at the history of American painting written by its makers,” said Jeremiah William McCarthy, exhibition co-curator and Associate Curator for the American Federation of Arts (AFA).
In its entirety, For America is comprised of five exhibition sections: Founding an American School, A New Internationalism, Painting America, Postwar Realism and For America. Each section exams one of the many facets of American art and American genres of painting.
The exhibit is curated by the AFA in collaboration with the National Academy of Design (NAD). Shown in the context of the NBMAA’s collection the exhibit is a testament to the invaluable role of the NAD in the evolution of American Art.
NAD is the oldest artist honorary society in the US founded in 1825 in New York City, by leading American artists Samuel F.B. Morse, Asher B. Durand and Thomas Cole. Additionally, from its inception to the present, the NAD has required all Academia’s to donate a representative work to the Academy’s collection; from 1839 to 1994, the Academy also required Associates to present a portrait of themselves, whether painted by their own hand or that of fellow a artist.
The exhibit illuminates and expands upon the NBMAA’s own rich holdings of American art. The museum’s collection of over 8,500 works of art features paintings and works on paper by over 370 present and past members of the NA, including early Hudson River School artists Thomas Cole, Asher Durand and Frederick Church; leading Regionalists Thomas Hart Benton and John Stewart Curry; and Contemporary artists Red Grooms and Bennie Andrews.
The NBMAA, at 56 Lexington St., is the first institution dedicated solely to acquiring American art. They provide exhibitions, programs and free low cost art classes after school for children.