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Edith Halpert and the Rise of American Art at The Jewish Museum, October 18, 2019 – February 9, 2020

The Jewish Museum presents Edith Halpert and the Rise of American Art, the first exhibition to explore the remarkable career of Edith Gregor Halpert (1900-1970), the influential American art dealer and founder of the Downtown Gallery in New York City. A pioneer in the field and one of New York’s first female art dealers, Halpert propelled American art to the fore at a time when the European avant-garde still enthralled the world. The artists she supported — Stuart Davis, Jacob Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Ben Shahn, and Charles Sheeler key among them — became icons of American modernism. Halpert also brought vital attention to overlooked nineteenth-century American artists, such as William Michael Harnett, Edward Hicks, and Raphaelle Peale, as well as little-known and anonymous folk artists. With her revolutionary program at the Downtown Gallery, her endless energy, and her extraordinary business acumen, Halpert inspired generations of Americans to value the art of their own country, in their own time.” — The Jewish Museum

William Zorach, Spirit of the Dance, 1932, bronze with brown patina. Collection of Kevin Rowe and Irene Vlitos Rowe, Santa Fe, New Mexico © The Zorach Collection, LLC; photograph courtesy of Sotheby’s, Inc.

Stuart Davis, Egg Beater No. 1, 1927, oil on linen. Collection of Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 31.169. Artwork © Estate of Stuart Davis / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Edward Hicks, The Peaceable Kingdom, c. 1846, oil on canvas. de Young | Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, gift of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd, 1993.35.14

Raphaelle Peale, Venus Rising From the Sea-A Deception, ca. 1822, oil on canvas. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri, purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, 34-147

Jacob Lawrence, The Music Lesson, from the Harlem Series, 1943, gouache on paper. New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, gift of the Friends of the New Jersey State Museum. Artwork © The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Yasuo Kuniyoshi, The Swimmer, c. 1924, oil on canvas. Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio, gift of Ferdinand Howald, 1931.196 © Estate of Yasuo Kuniyoshi / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Peter Blume, South of Scranton, 1931, oil on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, George A. Hearn Fund, 1942 (42.155). Artwork © The Educational Alliance, Inc. / Estate of Peter Blume / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; image provided by the Metropolitan Museum of Art / Art Resource, New York

Stuart Davis, Little Giant Still Life, 1950, oil on canvas. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, John Barton Payne Fund Artwork © Estate of Stuart Davis / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photograph by Katherine Wetzel

Charles Sheeler, Ore Into Iron, 1953, oil on canvas. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, gift of William H. and Saundra B. Lane and Henry H. and Zoe Oliver Sherman Fund, 1990.381

O. Louis Guglielmi, Subway Exit, 1946, oil on canvas. Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University, Alabama, Advancing American Art Collection, 1948.1.17

Georgia O’Keeffe, Poppies, 1950, oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin, gift of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley Artwork © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photograph by John R. Glembin

Edith Halpert at the Downtown Gallery, wearing the 13 watch brooch and ring designed for her by Charles Sheeler, in a photograph for Life magazine in 1952. She is joined by some of the new American artists she was promoting that year: Charles Oscar, Robert Knipschild, Jonah Kinigstein, Wallace Reiss, Carroll Cloar, and Herbert Katzman. Photograph © Estate of Louis Faurer

Edith Halpert and the Rise of American Art is organized by Rebecca Shaykin, Associate Curator, The Jewish Museum, New York.

Images courtesy The Jewish Museum. 

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