Henry Wilmer Bannarn, American, 1910 – 1965. Ironing Day, 1949. Gouache on board, 20 × 16 in. Courtesy of the Isabel Foundation, Inlander Collection L2003.36

American Realism: Visions of America 1900–1950

September 9, 2023 - December 30, 2023

Temporary Exhibition Gallery Hodge Gallery

Drawn from the collections of the Flint Institute of Arts, Muskegon Museum of Art, and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, American Realism highlights paintings, works on paper, and sculpture from the 1900–1950 that capture the evolving experience of 20th century America. The closing of the 19th century and first decades of the 20th century saw massive changes in the American Art scene, as artists, still heavily influenced by Western European art centers, began to aggressively seek to define a new “American Art.” Fueled by trade, industry, and immigration, New York grew into a dominant international city, easily rivaling its European counterparts as a hub of finance and culture. Artists responded to this transformative period with explorations of the changing social scene and growing urban landscape, resulting in a revolutionary time for American art. 

Drawing primarily from the collections of three Michigan museums–the Flint Institute of Arts, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, and the Muskegon Museum of Art, the show begins in the early 1900s and continues through the 1940s, highlighting artists whose work sought to define the era. The exhibition will feature the works of such well-known artists like Robert Henri, George Bellows, Guy Pene du Bois, Edward Hopper, Peggy Bacon, Reginald Marsh, Hughie Lee-Smith, and many others, including Michigan artists who too sought to define the changing ways of living. Emphasis will be given to women and artists of color active during this period, sharing a deeper look into the stories and lives of the era. 

After its premiere at the Muskegon Museum of Art, American Realism will travel to the Flint Institute of Arts and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts.

Exhibition Dates:

Muskegon Museum of Art: May 11 – August 27, 2023

Flint Institute of Arts: September 9 – December 30, 2023

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts: January 21 – April 14, 2024

From the Exhibition

  • Robert Riggs 

    American, 1896-1970

    Chemical Plant, Wyandotte, Michigan, 1950


    Collection of the Muskegon Museum of Art, Purchased in honor of the 100th Anniversary of the Muskegon Museum of Art through the 100th Anniversary Art Acquisition Fund and the Shaw and Betty Walker Fund


  • Reginald Marsh, American, 1898-1954. Tunnel of Love (Spooks), 1943. Oil on hardboard 24 x 36 inches. Collection of the Muskegon Museum of Art, Museum purchase, through the gift of the André Aerne Estate 2017.26

  • Glenn O. Coleman, American, 1887 - 1932. Brooklyn Bridge, ca. 1930. Oil on canvas Framed: 29 3/4 x 41 1/2 in. Collection of the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Sylvan Buchman in memory of Morris Markin EXL_American Realism_12