by Susan J. Rawles & Christopher C. Oliver
Foreword by Alex Nyerges
10 7/8" W x 10 7/8" H
The James W. and Frances Gibson McGlothlin Collection at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is a celebration of American art from the seminal years between 1830 and 1930. At home and abroad, American artists employed diverse stylistic tenets and traditions to capture the spectrum of contemporary life. It was a century of paradoxes - of glitter and grit. If glitter invokes the stargazing ambition of the New World - from the stage-struck matinee girls in Everett Shinn's Back Row, Folies Bergére to the luster of gentility in portraits by John Singer Sargent - so grit conjures its people's resilience, from the rural settlements of George Innes to the urban streets of George Luks. Rendered through the visual languages of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries - the academic classicism of the Hudson River School, the realism and impressionism of the Gilded Age, and the evocative modernism of The Eight and the Aschan School - the collection is a lens on the dynamic impulses that shaped a national story.
The McGlothlins have characterized their collecting as an intuitive process supported by academic study. Consulting with leading scholars and dealers, notable Theodore Stebbins Jr., Consultative Curator of American Art at Harvard Art Museum, and New York dealer Michael Altman, they selectively acquired works on paper and canvas, ultimately cultivating a collection of dramatic proportions. This catalogue, the third published by VMFA, marks the collection's permanent installation in the James W. and Frances Gibson McGlothlin Wing at VMFA. Brief essays on seventy-three paintings only hint at the significance of each corresponding work; the accompanying images reveal their true story.
The installation of the McGlothlin Collection and the accompanying catalogue would not have been possible without the collaborative talents and the Herculean efforts of the many professionals and administrative staff of the VMFA.
Above all, VMFA is grateful for the extraordinary generosity of the McGlothlins on this momentous occasion in the museum's history and that of the Commonwealth. It is a gift to enrich us all.
Dr. Susan J. Rawles & Christopher C. Oliver