The Philadelphia Story

Through June 6, 2013

In addition to its fine museums, the city of Philadelphia, PA is home to no less than five major art schools. The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is the oldest art school and museum in the country, founded 1805. Like the Asheville Art Museum, the Academy’s focus is on American art. The Academy also focuses on teaching traditional methods of working from life, such as classes in cast drawing and the use of live models for classes in drawing. Painting and sculpture dominate the school’s curriculum, both in past and present. Academy faculty were most often Academy students first, affording many artists the ability to trace their artistic lineage back to noteworthy faculty and students such as Thomas Eakins, Mary Cassatt, Cecilia Beaux, Henry O. Tanner, Robert Henri, Alexander Calder and others.

Academy-trained artists have enjoyed a reputation for excellence in portraiture and figurative work in all media, albeit with the additional, somewhat negative reputation that it is too formal, resulting in what some describe as unimaginative compositions employing the traditional technique of a brown underpainting. The Philadelphia Story: Contemporary Figurative Work Drawn from the Academy provides ample proof that this is not the case. In the past three decades the school has produced many artists whose figurative work, while rooted in tradition, is compositionally and conceptually dynamic.

Artists in the exhibition include Bo Bartlett, Christina Bothwell, James Brantley, Joe Brenman, Michael Ciervo, Vincent Desiderio, Beth Foley, Roger Geier, Sidney Goodman, Orit Hofshi, Edgar Jerins, Alex Kanevsky, Daniel Kornrumpf, Jessica Levine, Nancy Bea Miller, Bruce Samuelson, Julia Stratton, Chuck Tisa, Justin Webb and Elizabeth Wilson.

This exhibition was organized and curated by the Asheville Art Museum.

View selected works in the exhibition »