Tampa Museum of Art

Tampa, FL




American Masters: Sculpture from Brookgreen Gardens

Cover for the Gallery Guide (shows "Resting Stag")

American Masters: Sculpture from Brookgreen Gardens, works from one of the United States' finest collections of American figurative sculpture, will be on display at the Tampa Museum of Art through October 31, 1999. This show has special significance to the Museum for its 20th-anniversary year, since it showcases a number of artists associated with well-known artist, C. Paul Jennewein. In 1978, the Jennewein family bequeathed more than 2,100 works (including study pieces and completed works) to the Tampa Museum of Art -- the first major gift to the newly formed, and soon to be opened, museum. (left: Thomas Ball, Love's Memories, White marble, 1875, 30 x 15 x 15 inches)

American Masters: Sculpture from Brookgreen Gardens showcases the work of 42 artists documenting 175 years of American sculpture with pieces created by some of the foremost sculptors in American history. The exhibition includes 40 objects and 2 photographic murals of pieces that are too large to travel. Each sculpture presents elements of the genius of its creator. Artistic concerns, inspiration, or the ways that cultural and political influences of the time were depicted, are shown in the works. (right: Frederic S. Remington (1861-1909) The Bronco Buster, c. 1895. Bronze. Brookgreen Gardens)

Aside from presenting obvious achievement in sculpture, the works chosen for the exhibition also reflect the artists' personalities and preferences. For example, the Head of Nero, less than 3 inches high, by John Gutzon Borglum seems an unlikely choice to represent the sculptor best known for his colossal works at Mount Rushmore. Nevertheless, Borglum considered this sculpture to be his masterpiece.

Horatio Greenough is represented by his earliest known effort at stone carving. The small head of Bacchus, with its enigmatic smile, was believed lost for most of its 175-year existence. Created when he was fourteen, it was given by Greenough to his Harvard classmate, Paul Trapier of South Carolina, and remained in private hands until it was acquired for Brookgreen Gardens in 1994. This exhibition marks the first time it has ever been publicly displayed. Since it was Greenough's first work in stone, Bacchus (1819) has a larger significance as one of the earliest examples of American sculpture by virtue of Greenough's status as America's first professional sculptor.

In addition works by many other sculptors whose names are quite familiar will be on display, including: Alexander Stirling Calder, Daniel Chester French, Paul Manship, Frederic Remington, and Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and C. Paul Jennewein.

The exhibition also includes a recent work by one of today's most accomplished sculptors of the human figure - Basket Dancer (1987) by Glenna Goodacre. Goodacre's depiction of a costumed participant in a Pueblo woman's ritual dance epitomizes her modeling skill and sense of composition.

Other contemporary artists in the exhibition, Isidore Margulies, Charles Parks, and Marshall Fredericks, have works in bronze created in the 1970's and 1980's. Parks' Long Long Thoughts (1972) provides a charming depiction of childhood inspired by the poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Fredericks' Persephone, Barnard's Maidenhood (1896), Brenda Putnam's Communion (1939), and Henry Clews, Jr.'s The Duchess (1949) employ genre, realism and caricature in depicting four vastly different images of women. They all strived to create works that presented social and political messages within the context of their times. (left: C. Paul Jennewein. The Greek Dance, about 1926. Silvered Bronze. Brookgreen Gardens)

The sculptures exhibited in this show are chosen from Brookgreen's collection of 800 works that, before this tour, had never left the grounds of Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina. These sculptures represent the most important works from this collection that industrialist and philanthropist Archer M. Huntington and his wife, acclaimed sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington, began accumulating in 1930. (left: Elie Nadelman, Resting Stag, Bronze, about 1917, 16.5 x 21 x 8 inches)

The Huntingtons set out to establish a collection of figurative works by American sculptors that could be effectively exhibited out-of-doors in the gardens of Brookgreen. Through their lifetimes they expanded the collection to fit what is now called Brookgreen Gardens, a 350-acre sculpture garden designed by Mrs. Huntington.

Funding for the exhibition has been made possible nationally by BMW Manufacturing Corp. and the Henry Luce Foundation, and in Tampa, the exhibition has been made possible by NationsBank and TECO Energy.


Read more about the Tampa Museum of Art in Resource Library

For further biographical information on selected artists cited in this article please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 11/1/10

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