Searching for the Real
May 30 - July 31, 2015
In 1948, Addison director Bartlett Hayes organized a retrospective exhibition of the work of Hans Hofmann that traced the evolution of this artist from early figurative work to fully conceived abstraction. Accompanying the exhibition was a collection of Hofmann essays, titled Search for the Real. Referencing that influential publication and exhibition, this presentation of works from the Addison collection likewise explores the progression in American art from Realism to Abstraction in the late-19th to 20th centuries. Works by such realist masters as Winslow Homer, James McNeill Whistler, and John Singer Sargent simultaneously capture the real world as they explore more abstract qualities of color, form, and composition, while 20th-century artists like Edward Hopper, Stuart Davis, and Marsden Hartley pare their compositions to elemental forms and forces. Photographs, studies, and finished works by Hans Hofmann, Ralston Crawford, and Charles Sheeler further reveal individual artists’ process of reduction, transformation, and abstraction that lay the stage for more completely abstract works by Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, and Sol LeWitt, among others.