In post-World War II America, the primacy of abstract art was clearly acknowledged, and by 1961, when Rockwell painted The Connoisseur, Abstract Expressionism had been covered in the popular press for nearly 15 years. Originated in the 1940s by Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Barnett Newman, and Mark Rothko, among others, Abstract Expressionism was the first American movement to achieve widespread international influence.
For the first time, Norman Rockwell Museum will explore the contrast between the abstract and realist movements, placing works by Rockwell, Wyeth, and Warhol side by side with Pollock, Calder, Johns, and over 40 other preeminent artists. Rockwell and Realism in an Abstract World examines the forces that forged the mid-century dismissal of narrative painting and illustration, as well as the resurgence of realist painting during the latter half of the twentieth century, its presence and critical consideration today, and the ways in which our contemporary viewpoints have been shaped by post World War II constructs.
The exhibition features the art of prominent illustrators, painters, and sculptors whose autographic art spans more than 60 years, representing many dynamic forms of visual communication. Featured artists include: Marshall Arisman, Bo Bartlett, Austin Briggs, Alexander Calder, Alan E. Cober, Robert Cottingham, Robert Cunningham, Joe De Mers, Walton Ford, Eric Forstmann, Helen Frankenthaler, Bernie Fuchs, Sam Francis, Edwin Georgi, George Giusti, Ralph Goings, Cleve Grey, Brad Holland, Dan Howe, Jasper Johns, Jeff Koons, Anita Kunz, Jacqui Morgan, Robert Motherwell, Barbara Nessim, Barnett Newman, Tim O’Brien, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen, Al Parker, Bob Peak, Philip Pearlstein, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Larry Rivers, Norman Rockwell, Peter Rockwell, James Rosenquist, David Salle, Saul Steinberg, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, Robert Weaver, Thomas Woodruff, Andrew Wyeth, and Jamie Wyeth. The exhibition is sponsored by TD Bank.