A “subway series” painting by Mark Rothko; the fourteen Stations of the Cross by George Tooker; the bronze sculpture, Titanic Memorial, by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney; and Modiste, a full-length portrait of a young Spanish woman by Robert Henri are among the never- or rarely-publicly-viewed masterpieces that are included in The Masters: Art Students League Teachers and Their Students, which will open on October 18th at Hirschl & Adler in New York City.
The exhibition is a ground-breaking collaboration between an historic art gallery, Hirschl & Adler, a curatorial-based salon-style project space, 511 Projects, and the Art Students League, one of the oldest and most important art schools in America.
The Masters will be more than ninety artworks by sixty major artists, from 1900 to the present, who studied, taught, or studied and taught at the Art Students League. On view and available for sale will be works by the school’s founders and first teachers, such as William Merritt Chase, Frank Vincent DuMond, Kenneth Hayes Miller, John Sloan and Robert Henri; then early students including Georgia O’Keeffe, George Bellows, Norman Rockwell and Guy Pène du Bois; and then their “offspring,” including Reginald Marsh, Isabel Bishop and Yasuo Kuniyoshi. Subsequent generations of artists whose works will be included in the show with most for sale are Thomas Hart Benton, Fairfield Porter, David Smith, Adolph Gottlieb, Hans Hofmann, Milton Avery, Lee Krasner, Stuart Davis, Dorothy Dehner, Paul Jenkins, Elizabeth Catlett, Will Barnet, Helen Frankenthaler, James Rosenquist, Robert Rauschenberg, Pat Lipsky, Knox Martin, Marisol, and Norman Lewis, among many others.
The Art Students League was founded as an atelier, or studio-based, school that diverged from traditional American art academies. It immediately attracted both men and women and offered women access to study from the nude, first in gender-segregated classes and later alongside men. From the 1920s through the present, the school has served as a haven for immigrant artists–students and teachers–from countries in turmoil, oppressive regimes, and impoverished conditions. George Grosz, Mark Rothko, Vaclav Vytlacil, Ben Shahn, Philip Guston, John Graham, Lee Bontecou, Arshile Gorky, Louisa Matthiasdottir, and Zhang Hongtu are a few of the contributors to the amazing cauldron of cultures, ages, races, and ethnicities that has been at the core of the Art Students League’s practice and community.
The Masters is a celebration of this unique art institution and of the students and teachers who are central to its history and its impact on art-making, art history, and the American tradition of openness and acceptance of diverseness. A portion of the proceeds of opening night sales at Hirschl & Adler will go to benefit the Art Students League.
The Masters takes place at the three differing venues, with staggered openings. Hirschl & Adler, on Thursday, October 18, at 6 p.m. will exhibit paintings and sculptures by major 20th century Art Students League master artists. On Sunday, October 28, 511 Projects in Chelsea, opens The Masters: Works on Paper, champagne and conversation, a show of drawings, prints, oils and watercolors by many of the same artists. On Thursday, November 1, the Phyllis Harriman Mason Gallery at the Art Students League opens an exhibition of works from the last years of the 20th century through the present by master teachers and students.
A scholarly, full-color catalog will accompany this exhibition.