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Works by American artists focus of Oklahoma City Museum of Art's show

Works by early-to-mid 20th century American artists focus of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art's “American Moderns” exhibit.
BY JOHN BRANDENBURG Published: October 14, 2012
/articleid/3718191/1/pictures/1855491">Photo - "The Sand Cart," a 1917 oil by George Wesley Bellows

Photo provided <strong>Photo provided</strong>
"The Sand Cart," a 1917 oil by George Wesley Bellows Photo provided Photo provided

A dark “Bridge Tower,” with ships passing in front of it, and tall buildings behind it, provides a strong visual anchor for a 1929 oil by Glenn O. Coleman, in the exhibit's “Modern Structures” section.

George Copeland Ault reduces a “Manhattan Mosaic” of buildings to a coolly geometric exercise in precisionism, and Stuart Davis makes a flat, abstract “Landscape with Clay Pipe” sparkle with vibrant color.

Flowers, fruit, fish and other objects are handled with panache, in a variety of modernist styles, in the show's concluding “Still Life Revisited,” “Nature Essentialized” and “Cubist Experiments” sections.

Georgia O'Keeffe contributes abstract, simplified oils of a “Black Pansy & Forget-Me-Nots” and “2 Yellow Leaves,” and Marsden Hartley makes a pair of dead, open-mouthed “White Cod” stand out dramatically.

Milton Avery gives a little more detail than he usually does to his glowing 1943 oil of the “Artist's Daughter by the Sea,” collecting shells in a pink dress, one of the show's most memorable works.

A line of people about to go “Down to the Sea” in boats, made up of men in dark clothes and women and children in lighter outfits, supplies the symbolic, almost cinematic subject of an oil by Rockwell Kent.

Making the influential style of cubism his own in convincing fashion is Max Weber in his 1919 oil of “The Visit” by several figures whose subdivided faces suggest African masks. Other fine cubistic oils include Alfred Henry Maurer's quirkily appealing “Head of a Girl,” Charles G. Shaw's heavily textured “Still Life” and Stanton Macdonald-Wright's rich-hued “Symphony No. 3.”

An “as you like it” potpourri of the visual splendors of American Modernism, the show is highly recommended and shouldn't be missed during its run through Jan. 6.

— John Brandenburg


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