New Exhibitions at Bruce Museum: “Connecticut Modern: Art, Design and the Avant-Garde, 1930-1960”

On September 23, 2023 the Bruce Museum in Greenwich will open an exciting new modern art exhibition: Connecticut Modern: Art, Design and the Avant-Garde: 1930-1960.

The exhibition showcases exceptional paintings and sculptures by renowned artists of the 20th century who for three decades transformed the State of Connecticut into a true international center of innovation in the arts.

The exhibition includes seminal works, some rarely exhibited, from 20th Century masters including Alexander Calder, Anni and Josef Albers, Helen Frankenthaler, Barbara Chase-Riboud, David Hare, and Walker Evans, among others.

George Marinko. Hypothetical Gallipot

This groundbreaking exhibition features exceptional painting and sculpture by renowned artists of the 20th century, who for three decades transformed the State of Connecticut into a true international center of innovation in the arts.

In 1933, sculptor Alexander Calder moved from Paris to Roxbury, Connecticut precipitating a mass migration of transplanted Parisian artists to the Nutmeg State. Soon painter Yves Tanguy and his wife, painter Kay Sage, settled in Woodbury, sculptor David Hare lived near the Calders in Roxbury and Rose and André Masson moved to New Preston. Significant artists of the Magic Realist mode lived and worked in Connecticut including Peter Blume, Pavel Tchelithchew, and Paul Cadmus. French sculptor Louise Bourgeois bought a place in Easton in 1941 and the great painter Arshile Gorky lived in Roxbury. Pioneering Bauhaus architect Marcel Breuer, as well as Philip Johnson and Elliot Noyes all built innovative houses in New Canaan in the late 1940s.

Indeed, for three decades after Calder’s arrival, Connecticut was the beating heart of the modern movement in America.

Connecticut Modern: Art, Design and the Avant-Garde, 1930-1960 celebrates this notable period and shines a light on Connecticut’s critical role in 20th century art and design.

The exhibition is curated by Kenneth E. Silver, Professor of Art History, New York University, and sponsored by both Bank of America, Lead Sponsor of the new Bruce, and Lugano Diamonds. Additional support is provided by Hollis Taggart Galleries, NY.

Kenneth Silver notes, “Connecticut Modern features an extraordinary selection of modern works of art and design by many of the greatest talents of the 20th century, as well as offering what we believe is a surprising and compelling context for their creation.”
“Bank of America is committed to supporting local cultural institutions to help enrich our communities and build greater cultural understanding through the arts,” said Bill Tommins, president, Bank of America Southern Connecticut.

“As part of our decades-long partnership with the Bruce Museum, we look forward to sharing Connecticut Modern: Art, Design, and the Avant-Garde, 1930-1960 with museumgoers and highlighting the work of artists who helped solidify Connecticut’s role as a leader in the arts.”

“Serving our communities and giving back have always been at the heart of Lugano Diamonds. As we establish our presence in Greenwich with our new salon, we are deeply committed to championing the arts and look forward to supporting the Bruce Museum with its world-class exhibitions that continue to inspire,” said Moti Ferder, Co-founder and CEO of Lugano Diamonds Connecticut Modern: Art, Design and the Avant-Garde, 1930-1960 will be on view from September 23, 2023-January 7, 2024.

Robert Motherwell (American 1915-1991) Madrid Image with Green Stripe,1966. Acrylic and watercolor on paper, 29 x 23 in. Dedalus Foundation, New York.


Robert Motherwell and Multiplicity

A second exhibition, which will also open on Sept 23, will present Robert Motherwell and Multiplicity, an exhibition that explores the deep significance of reproduction across Motherwell’s artistic practice.

The exhibition showcases approximately 30 drawings, collages, prints, and print folios, featuring works from the Bruce Museum’s permanent collection and loans from the Dedalus Foundation and private collections in Europe and the United States. The exhibition is guest curated by Dr. Jennifer Cohen, Director of Curatorial Affairs, Dalí Museum.

Although Robert Motherwell (American, 1915–1991) is best known for the defining role he played in the Abstract Expressionist movement of postwar American painting, he also made significant contributions to the world of printmaking. Throughout his career Motherwell explored the medium as a means of artistic expression, often collaborating with master printers to realize his artistic vision, and this practice complemented his habit of working in series.

Beginning in the early 1960s and continuing through his move to Greenwich, Connecticut, in 1970, Motherwell embraced printmaking and the repetition and variation it enabled as tools to probe the limits and possibilities of his practice, transforming his work in painting, drawing, and collage.

As guest curator Dr. Jennifer Cohen notes, “The Bruce Museum’s holdings of prints by Robert Motherwell have long demonstrated the range of Motherwell’s technical brilliance in the medium, and it has been thrilling to have the opportunity to build upon these iconic pieces and place them in the context of works he held in his personal collection.”
Robert Motherwell and Multiplicity will be on view from September 23-December 3 in the Vicki Netter Fitzgerald gallery.

Located in Bruce Park overlooking Greenwich Harbor, the Bruce Museum is a community- based, world-class institution that offers a changing array of exceptional exhibitions and educational programs to promote the understanding and appreciation of art, science and the intersections between the two disciplines. Now considered ahead of its time for taking this multidisciplinary approach over a century ago, the Bruce Museum is at the heart of contemporary efforts to bring together art, science, technology and creativity to generate moments of discovery and dialogue.

The first exhibition at the Bruce Museum took place in 1912 and featured works by local artists known as the Greenwich Society of Artists, several of whom were members of the Cos Cob Art Colony. Their works formed the nucleus of the Museum’s art holdings and continue to be astrength of the collection, which has expanded to focus on global art from 1850 to the present.

Other strengths include Ancient Chinese sculpture, Native American Art, the Hudson River School, modernist works on paper, and photography. Parallel development of the natural sciences includes strengths in the mineral and avian collections. In all, the community, through its generosity, has built the Museum’s varied collections of art and natural science to over 30,000 objects.

In 2019, the Museum, which is accredited by the American Association of Museums, broke ground on a new building which doubles the size of the museum and triples the exhibition spaces. The new Bruce features state-of-the-art exhibition, education, and community spaces, including a changing gallery for art and five new permanent galleries in the William L. Richter Art Wing; a changing gallery for science; a permanent science exhibition, Natural Cycles Shape Our Land; three classrooms in the Cohen Education Wing; and a café, an auditorium, and grand hall. When the outdoor spaces are completed in summer 2024, the New Bruce campus will feature a sculpture-lined, landscaped walking path and inviting spaces for relaxation and contemplation—natural enhancements to Bruce Park and an anchoring connection to Greenwich Avenue.