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America’s Cool Modernism: O’Keeffe to Hopper

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford


This exhibition examines famous painters and photographers of the 1920s and ’30s with early works by Georgia O’Keeffe, photographs by Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand and Edward Weston, and cityscapes by Edward Hopper. It also displays pioneers of modern American art whose work is less well-known in the UK, particularly the so-called precisionist artists Charles Demuth and Charles Sheeler. The focus is upon artists who grappled with the experience of America between the wars with a cool, controlled detachment, eliminating people from their pictures altogether – either to reflect an ambivalence and anxiety about the modern world, or to express an optimistic response to the new architectural environment of skyscrapers and bridges. Find out more about ‘America’s Cool Modernism’ from the Ashmolean’s website. 

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The Sunflower, Edward Steichen

The Sunflower (c. 1920), Edward Steichen. National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. © 2017 The Estate of Edward Steichen/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Black Abstraction (1927), Georgia O’Keeffe. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold, Charles Demuth

I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold (1928), Charles Demuth. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. © Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

From my window at the Shelton West (1931), Alfred Stieglitz. © George Eastman Museum, Rochester, New York

Manhattan Bridge Loop (1928), Edward Hopper. Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover MA © Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper, licensed by the Whitney Museum of American Art

Event website