Figge Art Museum shines light on American art with new ‘For America’ exhibit | Local News

And the Figge will help further that understanding with programs, both online and in-person.

“This is an unprecedented look at the history of American painting — written by its makers,” Hargrave says in a news release. “We’ve never seen anything like this before, and we’re honored to be hosting such an extraordinary exhibition.”

At a time when the United States is so divided, the exhibit explores “our commonalities as well as our differences” and provides an opportunity to talk about what we have in common: our country, Hargrave said.

The works are organized into five sections, representing different time periods.

After the initial “Founding an American School” comes “New Internationalism” in which American artists traveled to Europe and were influenced by what was happening there, primarily the development of the Impressionistic style.

Third is “Painting America” in which artists depict more everyday scenes, such as streetscapes, and include the work of the first African-American artist admitted into the National Academy, Henry Ossawa Tanner.

Fourth is “Postwar Realisms,” including the growth of abstractionism and “For America,” featuring contemporary works.

The traveling exhibit was organized by the American Federation of Arts and the national academy. It is being made possible by the Major Exhibitions Endowment that was started by individuals, families, businesses and organizations in the Quad-Cities. The endowment is also sponsoring the exhibit, along with Estes Construction, the Harris Family Charitable Gift Fund, US Bank, Alan and Julie Renken, Mark and Rita Bawden and BITCO Insurance Cos. 

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