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New gallery exhibit recreates the 1945 Encyclopedia Britannica retrospective of contemporary American painting

December 20, 2017

A new gallery exhibit opens January 5, 2018 in the Perlman Teaching Museum at Carleton College. The exhibit, "Contemporary American Painting [1945]," showcases paintings, prints, and drawings by American artists from 1900-1950. “Contemporary American Painting [1945]" includes art works from permanent collections at both Carleton College and Gustavus Adolphus College.

Carleton art students helped to curate the exhibit, which recreates a similar retrospective from 1945. That year, the Encyclopedia Britannica presented a retrospective of contemporary American painting drawn from its art collection. Paintings by over 100 well-respected artists toured the United States, giving large numbers of everyday Americans access to the works.

“Contemporary American Painting [1945]” attempts to recapture the essence of that monumental tour with an exhibition of paintings, drawings, and prints.

The collaborative exhibition was co-curated by Laurel Bradley, former director of the Perlman Teaching Museum, and Donald Myers, director of the Hillstrom Museum of Art at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota.

Works donated by Gustavus alumnus Richard L. Hillstrom, a collector and patron of the arts, anchor Gustavus' selections. Carleton's contributions draw on donations by William Benton, an alumnus who served as the chairman of the board and publisher of Britannica. The artists featured in this exhibition were either represented in the 1945 Encyclopedia Britannica collection or had close relationships with those painters.

“Contemporary American Painting [1945]” opens January 5 and runs through March 12, 2018.

Carleton will host an opening reception on Friday, Jan. 5 from 5 to 7 p.m., with remarks from Donald Myers at 6 p.m.  

The Perlman Teaching Museum is located in the Weitz Center for Creativity at Carleton College, located at 320 Third Street in Northfield. Admission is free. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday-Friday; and 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday-Sunday. For more information, including disability accommodations, call (507) 222-4342.