The British Museum has a fantastic exhibition (The America Scene – Prints from Hopper to Pollock) up for one more week displaying the largest collection of american prints outside of america. It is an introduction to printmaking in america associated with the WPA and the migration of european artists to america after WWI and WWII. It was fascinating to see the humble beginnings of artists such as pollock, calder, and louise bourgeois – whose mature works I have seen in the Tate modern, and centre pompidou in paris. It was a wonderful time of revelry in americana. It also made me miss two friends in the states who taught me so much about both printmaking and americana.
Here’s the British Museum’s Description of the Show:
The American Scene features around 150 outstanding prints by 74 leading modern American artists, including George Bellows, Edward Hopper, Grant Wood, Josef Albers, Alexander Calder, Louise Bourgeois and Jackson Pollock.
The first half of the 20th century was a period of great change in America, and this exhibition examines American society and culture through the prints produced by some of the most important artists of the time.
The exhibition begins with John Sloan’s Ashcan School etchings of everyday urban experience in the 1900s and concludes with Jackson Pollock and the triumph of abstract expressionism in the 1950s.
Many of the images in the intervening period explore the changing urban landscape of New York, the onset of the Depression, the romanticised visions of the American heartlands by the Regionalists, the response to the rise of Fascism in Europe and America’s entry into the Second World War.
All the works come from the British Museum’s own American print collection, which is the most comprehensive outside the United States covering this period.