Robert Spear Dunning, American, 1829 - 1905. Still life with Apples, Grapes, and Other Fruits, 1868. Oil on canvas. 17 1/4 x 23 1/4 in. (43.8 x 59.1 cm). Manoogian Collection

Visions of American Life: Paintings from the Manoogian Collection, 1850-1940

October 5, 2019 - December 30, 2019

Hodge Gallery

Amid the cultural, political, and economic shifts that shaped the decades between 1850 and 1940, American painters developed fresh ways of depicting the country and its people, creating new visions of life in the United States. Through their diverse representations, the artists in this exhibition, including Childe Hassam, Thomas Moran, John George Brown, William Glackens, and Jane Peterson, allow us to look back in time and consider a period of great change in the nation’s history.

These paintings highlight many aspects of American life, capturing intimate scenes in the home and suggesting the boisterous energy of public spaces. In unexpected ways, these works offer clues about past national politics, culture, and identity. From sweeping landscapes to still-lifes, the exhibition features paintings drawn from the Manoogian Collection of American Art on loan from the Detroit Institute of Arts. 

Visions of American Life: Paintings from the Manoogian Collection, 1850–1940 is organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts and made possible by the Richard and Jane Manoogian Collection. This is one in a series of American art exhibitions created through a multi-year, multi-institutional partnership formed by the Detroit Institute of Arts as part of the Art Bridges + Terra Foundation Initiative. Generous support is provided by the Richard and Jane Manoogian Foundation.

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Robert Riggs, American, 1896–1970. Limestone Kilns, Wyandotte Chemical Company, Michigan, ca. 1947–48. Tempera on panel. 21 3/4 x 26 1/2 inches. Museum purchase with funds from an anonymous donor in honor of Barbara and the late Bruce Mackey, 2011.322

Industry

October 5, 2019 - December 30, 2019

Henry Gallery

This exhibition demonstrates the fascination artists have had in depicting aspects of industry in the United States. Since the early 19th century, American artists have taken the buildings and factories in which raw materials are processed to manufacture goods as their subject. Some artists portrayed these buildings in optimistic and idealized ways as symbols of prosperity, while others show factories in a more critical light, reflecting on factories’ dehumanization and environmental impact. 

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Greta Alfaro, Spanish, b. 1977. In Ictu Oculi, 2009. 10:37 minutes. Image courtesy of the artist.

In Ictu Oculi

October 1, 2019 - October 31, 2019

Media Arts Gallery

In Ictu Oculi (“in the blink of an eye”) is concerned with the experience of time. The work’s title, which alludes to the brevity of human existence, is shared by a number of vanitas paintings from the 17th century. A dinner table, laden with plates of food and wine bottles, its chairs waiting to be occupied, stands in a semi-mountainous landscape, a breeze flickering its tablecloth. The table’s placement alludes to Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper. From out of the blue, vultures descend cautiously, bringing instability to the implied order of the scene. The meal’s duration, and its strange quietness, lend it a human quality. The birds act out a travesty of human vanities: gluttony, selfish aggression, and the coveting of what will quickly pass away.

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Philip Haas: The Four Seasons

July 6, 2019 - November 15, 2019

Hurand Sculpture Courtyard

The Four Seasons is a large-scale homage to the Italian Renaissance painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1526–1593), who painted a series of the same name for Habsburg Emperor Maximilian II. Contemporary artist and filmmaker Philip Haas conceptualized the transformation of the portraits from two-dimensional paintings to three-dimensional, 15-foot-tall sculptures. 

As in Arcimboldo’s paintings, the physical features of the four sculpted figures are rendered in botanical forms appropriate to each season. Each sculpture is made up of hundreds of sections. Welders created supporting steel infrastructures for the monumental figures. The museum and Haas’s staff assembled the figures on site over the span of nearly a week.

Exhibition Sponsors

Susie's Hope Fund

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Small Worlds

April 7, 2018 - October 27, 2019

Ann K. Walch-Chan Gallery

Closing in October, Small Worlds not only features a vast collection of historical European paperweights from the FIA’s permanent collection but also a large variety of contemporary paperweights from private collections. The exhibition explores the world of paperweights from the 19th century, the classic period of production, to present day contemporary weights. Paperweights continue to be a popular art object today, and manufacturers and artists all over the world have enlarged the scope, scale, design, and fabrication of these small artworks.  


Now Available

Paperweights: Highlights from the Flint Institute of Arts Collection

(hardcover; 248 pages; $24.95)

This exhibition catalog features more than 140 weights from the Classic Period (1845–1860) of French manufacturers Baccarat, Clichy, and Saint-Louis, to works by contemporary artists Josh Simpson and Debbie Tarsitano, from the collections of Mrs. Viola E. Bray and Mrs. Genevieve Shaw. Kathryn Sharbaugh, FIA Director of Development, serves as guest curator to research and write about the history of paperweights, as well as highlight their various styles, techniques, and categories. This book is published in conjunction with the exhibition Small Worlds, which presents a survey of glass paperweights from the 19th century to the present. Support for the catalogue provided by the Bray Charitable Trust.

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