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Reflections on Water in American Painting
November 10, 2012 - February 10, 2013
In this exhibition, fifty paintings from the Arthur J. Phelan Collection traced more than a century of America’s maritime and seaside history, and transported viewers from the Eastern to the Western Shores of the United States. The exhibition ranged in date from 1828 to 1945, and included masterful renderings of sailboats, warships, waterside towns, waterscapes, and harbor scenes, as well as playful portrayals of beach life encapsulating all facets of life on and via the water. These works of art documented changing trends in transportation and recorded economic shifts as inland maritime commerce slowly diminished in the wake of railroad expansion. The exhibition also illustrated varying artistic trends that shaped American art. Represented were grand academic-style portraits of graceful naval ships and waterscapes from the sea to the American heartland, light-flooded impressionist visions of quaint seaside towns, and modernist renderings of industrialization and everyday life.