Albany, N.Y. – The New York State Museum will open The Historic Woodstock Art Colony: The Arthur A. Anderson Collection on November 10. On display through December 31, 2019, the exhibition features over 100 artworks – including paintings, lithographs, sculpture and works on paper – from the major collection of artwork of the historic Woodstock Art Colony that collector Arthur A. Anderson donated to the State Museum in 2017. This exhibition introduces to the public for the first time just a sample of the highlights of this extraordinary collection, which represents a body of work that together shaped art and culture in New York and forms a history of national and international significance.
Long before the famous music festival in 1969, Woodstock, New York, was home to what is considered America’s first intentionally created, year-round arts colony—founded in 1902 and still thriving over 100 years later. Collecting the remarkable range of work produced there was Anderson’s focus for three decades, resulting in the largest comprehensive assemblage of its type. The artists represented in it reflect the diversity of those who came to Woodstock, including Birge Harrison, Konrad Cramer, George Bellows, Eugene Speicher, Peggy Bacon, Rolph Scarlett and Yasuo Kuniyoshi, among many others. Anderson donated his entire collection—some 1,500 objects by almost 200 artists—to the State Museum.
“This exhibition presents an extraordinary opportunity for State Museum visitors to see a variety of artwork that highlights an important chapter of New York’s art history,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa. “We’re grateful to Arthur Anderson for donating the collection to the Museum, which allows this remarkable collection of artwork to be seen, appreciated and researched by students and adults for generations to come.”
“Thanks to Arthur Anderson, the State Museum has a collection of historic artwork that represents the culture, history and artistic direction of talented Woodstock artists,” said State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. “The exhibition invites children and adults to view these unique and inspirational artworks and explore how these artists were at the center of artistic development in New York in the 20th century.”
“We are deeply grateful to Arthur Anderson for his generosity and foresight in donating this exceptional collection to the State Museum,” said Mark Schaming, Deputy Commissioner of Cultural Education and State Museum Director. “The exhibition showcases spectacular artworks by some of New York and America’s influential artists of the 20th century. We are pleased to share this collection with New Yorkers and explore Woodstock’s history as an innovate center of artistic development in New York.”
“Ever since I began spending quality time in the Hudson Valley, I have been enamored with the historic Woodstock Art Colony,” said donor Arthur Anderson. “Over the course of three decades, my collection grew to 1,500 works by 200 artists, with an emphasis on George Bellows and his Woodstock circle. After considering various permanent homes for the collection, it became clear to me that the best place was the New York State Museum. The collection’s new home at the State Museum helps re-introduce the Historic Woodstock Art Colony into the American art canon. It also, I hope, motivates others to donate their treasures for public appreciation and education that express the culture and history of New York State.”
The public is invited to attend an opening reception for the exhibition on Saturday, November 10 from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. The reception will begin with light refreshments at 1:00 p.m., followed by an exhibition tour led by senior historian and curator Karen Quinn at 2:00 p.m. Donor Arthur Anderson will attend the reception.
The Woodstock story begins in 1902, when Byrdcliffe was established as a year-round artists’ colony focusing on the Arts and Crafts movement. The utopian community drew furniture craftsmen, painters, printmakers, photographers, ceramicists, and other artisans to an environment that emphasized individual work over mass production. In 1906, the Art Students League of New York, one of the country’s most important and progressive art schools, moved its summer school to Woodstock, bringing some 200 students a season to the area. The Woodstock Artists Association was founded in 1919 by artists of differing mindsets but unified in their quest for a centralized exhibition space.
Throughout the 20th century, and now into the 21st century, Woodstock attracted and continues to attract a range of artists working in a variety of media and approaches ranging from realism to abstraction – something that sets Woodstock apart from other art colonies that flourished for a limited time and were centered on a single style.
The State Museum is a program of the New York State Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education. Located at 222 Madison Avenue in Albany, the Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is closed on the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. Admission is free. Further information about programs and events can be obtained by calling (518) 474-5877 or visiting the Museum website.
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