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American Legends: From Calder to O’Keeffe

Dec 22, 2012–June 29, 2014

American Legends: From Calder to O’Keeffe showcases the Whitney’s holdings of artwork from the first half of the twentieth century alongside that of postwar figures. The exhibition includes work by thirteen leading artists: Alexander Calder, Stuart Davis, Burgoyne Diller, William Eggleston, Morris Graves, Edward Hopper, Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Jacob Lawrence, Roy Lichtenstein, Elie Nadelman, Alice Neel, and Georgia O’Keeffe. One- and two-artist presentations provide a survey of each artist’s work across a range of media.

On view now:
As part of this rotating exhibition, works by these artists are currently on view at the Museum: Alexander Calder, Stuart Davis, Burgoyne Diller, William Eggleston, Morris Graves, Edward Hopper, Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Jacob Lawrence, Roy Lichtenstein, Elie Nadelman, Alice Neel, and Georgia O’Keeffe.

American Legends is organized by Barbara Haskell, Curator.

Ongoing support for the permanent collection and major support for American Legends: From Calder to O’Keeffe is provided by Bank of America.

Bank of America

Additional support for American Legends is provided by Susan R.Malloy, The Gage Fund, and Lynn G. Straus.

Works from the exhibition

Oscar Bluemner, Last Evening of the Year, c. 1929. Oil on academy board mounted on wood panel, 13 3/4 × 9 3/4 in. (34.9 × 24.8 cm) overall. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Juliana Force  31.115
Oscar Bluemner, A Situation in Yellow, 1933. Oil on canvas, 36 × 50 1/2 in. (91.4 × 128.3 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Nancy and Harry L. Koenigsberg  67.66
Paul Cadmus, To the Lynching!, 1935. Graphite and watercolor on paper, 23 1/2 × 18 in. (59.7 × 45.7 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase  36.32Art © Jon F. Anderson, Estate of Paul Cadmus / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Paul Cadmus, Sailors and Floosies, 1938. Oil and tempera on panel, 33 1/2 × 48 3/8 in. (85.1 × 122.9 cm) framed. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Malcolm S. Forbes  64.42a-bArt © Jon F. Anderson, Estate of Paul Cadmus / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Alexander Calder, Calder’s Circus, 1926–31. Wire, wood, metal, cloth, yarn, paper, cardboard, leather, string, rubber tubing, corks, buttons, rhinestones, pipe cleaners, and bottle caps, 54 × 94 1/4 × 94 1/4 in. (137.2 × 239.4 × 239.4 cm) overall, dimensions variable. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from a public fundraising campaign in May 1982. One half the funds were contributed by the Robert Wood Johnson Jr. Charitable Trust. Additional major donations were given by The Lauder Foundation, the Robert Lehman Foundation Inc., the Howard and Jean Lipman Foundation Inc., an anonymous donor, The T. M. Evans Foundation Inc., MacAndrews & Forbes Group Incorporated, the DeWitt Wallace Fund Inc., Martin and Agneta Gruss, Anne Phillips, Mr. and Mrs. Laurance S. Rockefeller, the Simon Foundation Inc., Marylou Whitney, Bankers Trust Company, Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth N. Dayton, Joel and Anne Ehrenkranz, Irvin and Kenneth Feld, Flora Whitney Miller. More than 500 individuals from 26 states and abroad also contributed to the campaign  83.36.1-95  © 2009 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photograph © Whitney Museum of American Art.
Alexander Calder, Varèse, c. 1930. Wire, 13 3/4 × 11 5/8 × 14 1/2 in. (34.9 × 29.5 × 36.8 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; 50th Anniversary Gift of Mrs. Louise Varèse in honor of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney  80.25  © 2009 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Alexander Calder, Object with Red Discs, 1931. Painted steel rod, wire, wood, and sheet aluminum, 88 1/2 × 33 × 47 1/2 in. (224.8 × 83.8 × 120.7 cm) overall. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Mrs. Percy Uris Purchase Fund  86.49a-c  © 2010 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS),  New York
Alexander Calder, Juggler with Dog, 1931. Pen and ink on paper, 22 3/4 × 30 13/16 in. (57.8 × 78.3 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Howard and Jean Lipman  81.23.2© 2010 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS),  New York
Alexander Calder, Wooden Bottle with Hairs, 1943. Wood and wire, 22 3/8 × 13 × 12 in. (56.8 × 33 × 30.5 cm) overall. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; 50th Anniversary Gift of the Howard and Jean Lipman Foundation, Inc.  80.28.2a-l© 2010 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS),  New York
Joseph Cornell, Celestial Navigation, c. 1958. Box construction with wood, glasses, marbles, plaster head, painted cork ball, metal rods, nails, paper collage, tempera, and painted glass, 9 5/8 × 16 1/4 × 4 in. (24.5 × 41.3 × 10.2 cm) overall. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; 60th Anniversary Gift of Estée Lauder Inc.  92.24a-kArt © The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Ralston Crawford, Steel Foundry, Coatesville, Pa., 1936–37. Oil on canvas, 32 × 40 in. (81.3 x  101.6 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase  37.10
Ralston Crawford, Third Avenue Elevated, 1949. Gelatin silver print, 9 1/2 × 6 1/2 in. (24.1 × 16.5 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Robert F. Crawford  88.52
View more 12 displayed of 49

Installation Photography

Installation view of American Legends: From Calder to O’Keeffe (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, December 22, 2012–December 2013). Photograph by Sheldan C. Collins
Installation view of American Legends: From Calder to O’Keeffe (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, December 22, 2012–December 2013). Photograph by Sheldan C. Collins
Installation view of American Legends: From Calder to O’Keeffe (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, December 22, 2012–December 2013). Photograph by Sheldan C. Collins
Installation view of American Legends: From Calder to O’Keeffe (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, December 22, 2012–December 2013). Photograph by Sheldan C. Collins
Installation view of American Legends: From Calder to O’Keeffe (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, December 22, 2012–December 2013). Photograph by Sheldan C. Collins
Installation view of American Legends: From Calder to O’Keeffe (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, December 22, 2012–December 2013). Photograph by Sheldan C. Collins
Installation view of American Legends: From Calder to O’Keeffe (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, December 22, 2012–December 2013). Photograph by Sheldan C. Collins
Installation view of American Legends: From Calder to O’Keeffe (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, December 22, 2012–December 2013). Photograph by Sheldan C. Collins
Installation view of American Legends: From Calder to O’Keeffe (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, December 22, 2012–December 2013). Photograph by Sheldan C. Collins
Installation view of American Legends: From Calder to O’Keeffe (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, December 22, 2012–December 2013). Photograph by Sheldan C. Collins

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In the News

“The Whitney Museum is New York’s go-to institution for the crazy-quilt history of early- and mid-20th-century American art, and its new permanent-collection display, American Legends: From Calder to O’Keeffe, is one of its best in years.” 
The New York Times

“Ranging from Edward Hopper’s melancholia to the sensuous work of Georgia O’Keeffe, the exhibition offers an extraordinarily wide view of 20th-century American art before Abstract Expressionism.”
Bloomberg Businessweek