For immediate release:
WHAT: Collections Feature:
20th Century American Art
Philip Evergood, Fletcher Martin, Gene Ritchie Monahan
WHERE: Tweed Museum of Art
University of Minnesota Duluth
WHEN: October 20 – December 20, 2009
In the American Midwest of the early 1900s, new styles in art had little context or meaning. Through the 1930s, as the entire country was threatened by the economic Depression and the looming threat of WWII, regionalist scenic painting and public murals confirmed the community-building function of traditional narrative art.
What we call “modernism” in art had already been explored in Europe and Russia by 1900. Kandinsky, Duchamp, and Picasso, had shown in New York in the infamous “Armory Show” of 1913. But it took their American counterparts much longer to produce their own spin on abstraction.
American artists like Marsden Hartley, Stuart Davis, John Marin and Russian immigrant Max Weber made their mark by blending traditional subjects of place and narrative, with abstracted form. The work of these first generation American abstract experimenters directly influenced the artists of the current Tweed feature.
Philip Evergood, Gene (Genevieve) Ritchie Monahan, and Fletcher Martin have a common ability to balance humanism and spirit of place with abstraction. Martin and Evergood came to Duluth in 1954 and ‘55, respectively, as part of the UMD Summer Guest Artist Program. Martin was captivated by the industry of the Twin Ports when he painted Interstate Ore Bridge. Evergood’s rough-hewn, quirky brand of figurative, humanist art is represented by Pittsburgh Family, which contrasts the tenderness of a young family with the loud industry of a steel town.
Gene Ritchie Monahan was a well known portraitist, though she painted regional scenes like Roundhouse, West Duluth, earlier in her career, around 1930. A graduate of Denfeld High School in Duluth and the University of Minnesota, Monahan moved to New York in 1953 where she studied figurative painting and ran a gallery in Greenwich Village.