Past Exhibitions

Eye on the Collection: Artful Poses

February 1 - March 30, 2014

Featuring works from the 18th through the 21st centuries, Artful Poses explores the many ways that portraits both capture the presence of an individual and reveal the shifting social and artistic contexts in which the works have been created. The gaze, garments, furnishings, and well-placed accoutrements—a flower held by a young girl, an open book, a ship in the background—all attest to the status, ambitions, and aspirations of the 18th-century sitter. Portraits from the 19th century, such as Henry Inman’s rosy-faced newsboy and Winslow Homer’s country school teacher, are set in a framework of time and place in scenes that transcend the physical attributes of the sitter. In the 20th century the primacy of photography freed artists in all media to use the portrait for artistic and social purposes. Diane Arbus’s awkward boy with a toy hand grenade and Roy DeCarava’s white-gowned graduate in the gritty urban backyard are tough, touching commentaries on the complexities of American life. Recent self-portraits by Chuck Close and Red Grooms that are both two- and three-dimensional playfully use the idea of portraiture to create intriguing and amusing works.

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Generous support for this exhibition was provided by the Bernard and Louise Palitz Exhibitions Fund.