2011 Exhibitions

Italia Bella

September 9-December 18

For over five centuries travelers have sought out the archaeological remains, architectural and artistic treasures, and natural wonders to be found in the Italian peninsula. Long before the various states of this region became unified into the modern nation of Italy, scholars, pilgrims, artists, and tourists traveled to the famous ancient and modern monuments of Rome, Venice, Florence and other cities, bringing back records of their visit in the form of paintings or prints. Already in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries a lively trade in engravings and etchings existed and by the eighteenth century the tradition of vedute (view paintings or prints) was well established.

This exhibition begins with examples of the fully-developed genre, including a panoramic city view and so-called “optical” prints, which were meant to be viewed through an apparatus designed to increase the illusion of depth. A technical and artistic high point in Roman vedute of this period is represented by the etchings of Giovanni Battista Piranesi.

The Venetian etchings of James McNeill Whistler, the nineteenth-century American ex-patriot, embody his more atmospheric and purely aesthetic approach. They were highly influential on later printmakers, who adopted many of Whistler’s compositional strategies as well as his experimental approach to etching.

Drawn entirely from the permanent collection of University of Saint Joseph Art Museum, this exhibition is an introduction to a fascinating artistic genre and to some of its most accomplished masters. It is also a tribute to the late John (Jack) Crockett, generous friend and donor to the Art Museum, who served in Italy with the U.S. State Department.

Collection Highlights

June 3 – August 28

The University of Saint Joseph Art Museum’s summer installation of the permanent collection features paintings and works of art on paper by American and European artists from the 19th to the 21st century. In addition to highlights from the painting collection, several groupings focus on specific themes. One gallery features American and European abstraction in prints, including works by Joan Miró, Duilio Barnabé, Robert Motherwell, Sam Gilliam and Sol LeWitt. A selection of urban landscapes including works by John Sloan and Theresa Bernstein on loan from the collection of Ken Ratner was chosen by Art Museum intern Scott Nikola. In another thematic grouping, several author portraits by James Britton, including woodcuts of Edgar Allen Poe, Mark Twain, and Walt Whitman, are being shown with prints by Thomas Hart Benton and Robert Lawson depicting subjects from Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher and Twain’s Huckleberry Finn.

Persian Visions: Contemporary Photography from Iran

March 24-May 22

An exhibition of 58 works of photography and video installation by 20 of Iran’s most celebrated photographers. It gathers personal perspectives of contemporary Iran filtered through individual sensibilities while simultaneously addressing public concerns.

Anti-Irish and Anti-Catholic Cartoons by Thomas Nast an Exhibition of Nineteenth-Century Political Cartoons from Harper’s Weekly

January 14-March 13, 2011

Thomas Nast, who has been called “the father of American political cartoons,” was arguably the most influential cartoonist of his day. He is credited not only with creating or popularizing some of our most enduring symbols (the Republican Elephant, Santa Claus), but also with bringing down the corrupt Tammany Hall administration of William M. (“Boss”) Tweed. As a man of his day, however, Nast harbored a number of prejudices which found expression in his work for Harper’s Weekly. Prominent among them were strong anti-Catholic and anti-Irish sentiments, which became a particular focus in his cartoons of the 1870s.

Himself an immigrant from Germany, Nast often expressed sympathy with those seeking equality as American citizens — recently-freed African-American slaves, Native Americans, and Chinese immigrants. His unrelenting condemnation of Irish Catholics, however, stands in marked contrast to his more progressive views. Through analysis of selected cartoons from Harper’s Weekly, this exhibition examines the political and cultural sources of Nast’s prejudice, identifies the strategies and stereotypes he employed, and reveals some enduring methods for demonizing “the other” that are as common in our own day as in Thomas Nast’s.

All the works in Illustrating Bigotry are drawn from the 2006 gift of Judith and Norman Zlotsky to the University of Saint Joseph Art Museum.

Circa 1910: Immigrant Life in New York

January 14-March 13, 2011

A selection of works from the Collection of Ken Ratner, including works by John Sloan, Jerome Myers, and others, this installation presents these early twentieth-century artists’ decidedly sympathetic depiction of immigrant life on New York’s lower East Side.

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