Created Between the Wars: American Art - 1861-1945

March 14 - September 13, 2015

This exhibit will tap into the Museum’s rich collection of American paintings, drawings, sculpture, prints, decorative arts, and historic firearms to explore artworks created between the first years of the American Civil War up through the end of World War II.

Most artists don’t work in a vacuum, and their works, consciously or unconsciously portray the time in which they are created. Carefully selected objects, zeitgeists if you will, that contain the spirit of the era in which they were made, and following a timeline of American history from 1861 through 1945, will be highlighted. This era, rich in national and international events, expansion and exploration of the country, and technological and industrial changes, reveals great turbulence and soul-searching in what was still a fairly young nation trying to make its mark on the world map.

On view will be a number of works created as part of the war efforts, but most will be non-war related artworks that portray the range of artistic styles and developments from reconstruction and the “Golden Age,” the romanticizing of the American West, the American expatriates and artistic study abroad in the late 19th century, and up through early American modernism, the Depression era, regionalism, and the beginnings of Abstract Expressionism in the early-to-mid-20th century. This span of time, as seen through the creations by American artists and designers, takes the viewer from a mid-19th century focus on America, a shift to European artistic styles and trends, and then back to the United States with a focus on regionalism—culminating in a clash of ideas and styles as the nation progresses toward the middle of the 20th century.

Artists featured in the exhibit include Winslow Homer, Ralph Blakelock, George Inness, Daniel Chester French, Willard Leroy Metcalf, Childe Hassam, Enoch Wood Perry, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Bessie Potter Vonnoh, Arthur Dow, Edward Robinson Leigh, Frederic Remington, Robert Henri, Abraham Walkowitz, Blanche Lazzell, Edward Hopper, Thomas Hart Benton, Peggy Bacon, Andrew Wyeth, Charles Burchfield, Berenice Abbott, John Taylor Arms, and objects manufactured by Central Glass Co., Wooten Desk Co., Mt. Washington Glass Co., Atterbury and Co., Roycroft Studios, Paden City Glass Manufacturing Co., Weller Pottery, Grueby Faience Company, Indiana Tumbler and Goblet Co., Akro Agate Glass Co., Homer Laughlin, and many others.

Created Between the Wars: American Art 1861-1945 is generously sponsored by

  • Anonymous, In Honor of Halcyon Moses’s kindness and generosity;
  • Anonymous, In Memory of Robert Hickman;
  • W.B. “Bart” Andrews, In Honor of Doris B. Andrews;
  • Adam Joseph Booth, In Memory of Jeanne Ellen Kaplan Dunn;
  • Mr. and Mrs. Bernard R. Gebhart, II, In Memory of their parents;
  • Dr. Scott and Mary Gibbs, In Memory of Mr. Fergus L. Hanson;
  • Mr. and Mrs. Earl W. Heiner, Jr.,
  • In Honor of Mr. and Mrs. Dwight Dudley and Mr. and Mrs. Richard Hensley;
  • Nancy Hoey, In Memory of Charlotte and Albert Boos;
  • Leon K. and Suzanne M. Oxley, In Honor of Kermit McGinnis;
  • Larry Queen, In Memory of Rebecca and Ryan Queen;
  • and Irene Windle, In Memory of Wayne C. Windle.

This program is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

Created Between the Wars: American Art - 1861-1945

William Edouard Scott (American, 1885-1964), Traveling (Lead Kindly Light), 1918. Oil on canvas, image 22 1/8” x 18” (56.3 x 45.7cm). Gift of Mrs. Virginia Van Zandt, 1997.11