Adolf Dehn: Midcentury Manhattan Exhibition Opens, Jan. 26
The Fairfield University Art Museum presents a new exhibition, “Adolf Dehn: Midcentury Manhattan” on view from Friday, January 27, 2017, through Friday, April 7, 2017, in the museum’s Bellarmine Hall Galleries on the campus of Fairfield University. An opening reception, free and open to the public, will take place on Thursday, January 26, from 6-7:30 p.m.
This exhibition will explore the Manhattan subjects of National Academician Adolf Dehn (1895-1968). Visiting, and then living in New York City, Dehn captured the essence of the city in his paintings, prints and drawings of the landscapes of Central Park, and of the city’s burlesque and night club scenes. While best known as a lithographer and one of the founding members of the American Artists Group, Dehn played a significant role in America’s contemporary realist movement starting in the 1930s. He was included in every Whitney Museum of American Art "Annual" and "Biennial" invitational exhibition from the first biennial 1932 into the early 1960's, and still holds the record for being in more of these prestigious shows than any other artist. His work is in the permanent collections of more than eighty museums.
“Unquestionably Dehn’s prolific artistic career merits a fresh critical reassessment,” comments Philip Eliasoph, PhD, author of the forthcoming book, Adolf Dehn: Midcentury Manhattan [The Artist Book Foundation, 2017]. “Considering his prominent visibility among the leading social realist artists expressing the feel, style, and magical aura of the Empire City at midcentury, we are obliged to reevaluate Dehn’s position in American art history.”
This exhibition is devoted to the artist’s images of Manhattan from the 1920s through 1960, and features casein paintings (a fast-drying, water-soluble medium made from milk casein or milk protein), watercolors, and pastel, ink and pencil drawings, as well as a select group of lithographs. Included in the exhibition is the Dehn watercolor “Spring in Central Park” from 1941, which is being lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art. This image has the distinction of being the single most reproduced artwork in the museum’s collection of more than two million objects.
Programming that has been organized to complement the exhibition includes a gallery talk in the Bellarmine Hall Galleries entitled "All the Beauty and Mystery in the World": F. Scott Fitzgerald and George Gershwin Interpret Adolf Dehn's Manhattan" with Dr. Eliasoph, the pre-eminent scholar on Dehn’s Manhattan-themed imagery, on February 16 at 5 p.m. The museum will hold “The Drawing Party” on February 28 from 7-8:30 p.m. — an evening of drawing to explore Dehn’s artwork. Materials and light refreshments will be provided. On February 18 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Family Day will be held at the museum and will feature two sessions of drop-in craft activities and child-friendly tours of the exhibition. Children are invited to explore Dehn’s art through the theme “Colors of the City.” Family Days are designed for children ages 4-10 and are free and open to the public.
Please pre-register for one of the two sessions at fuam.eventbrite.com, as space is limited. Completing the programming is Jazz and Race in New York: 1900-1975 a lecture by Brian Torff, Professor of Music, Fairfield University, on April 3 at 5 p.m., in the Diffley Board Room of Bellarmine Hall.
All programs are free and open to the public. Advance registration for lectures and events is recommended (fuam.eventbrite.com).
This exhibition is made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities, with additional support from the Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation, and the Estate of Adolf and Virginia Dehn.
TownVibe is the exhibition media sponsor.
The Fairfield University Art Museum is located in Bellarmine Hall on the campus of Fairfield University, 200 Barlow Road, Fairfield, Conn. It is free and open to the public Tuesday to Friday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., as well as select Saturdays, when classes are in session.
Image credit: Adolf Dehn, Lower Manhattan, 1956-57. Casein on panel. On loan from the Estate of Adolf and Virginia Dehn