CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Oct. 3, 2007 – The Hainsworth Collection will be the first exhibit to open in the new Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Southeast Missouri Regional Museum in the Cultural Arts Center at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus. The exhibit will open in conjunction with the Museum's grand opening on Sunday, Oct. 21.
Dr. John Hainsworth is scheduled to present remarks about the exhibit at 6:30 p.m. Refreshments will be available and tours of the new facility will follow. The exhibit will remain on display through Jan. 13.
Works in the Hainsworth Collection were created between the mid-19th century and the 1930s.
"This was a period of dynamic change in America, highlighted by the Civil War, opening of the West, great influxes of immigrants, World War I and the Depression," said Stanley Grand, director of the Crisp Museum. "America went from a backwards outpost of European culture to a world power."
American artists were seeking to capture the dynamic times in which they lived, he said. The founder of the Hudson River School, Thomas Cole, a native Englishman, and his followers sought to capture the beauty and grandeur of the American landscape, which even then was feeling the effects of progress.
The Hainsworth Collection includes examples of Hudson River School scenes, American Impressionism, Ashcan painters, and Regionalism, with a study by Missouri artist Thomas Hart Benton. Grand says landscapes and figure paintings abound in the Hainsworth Collection, while modernist, abstract works are not represented.
"Our motivation in collecting was not to create an encyclopedic chronicle of American art, but rather to assemble works that we find beautiful, and, in some way, personally moving," Hainsworth has written.
In his Introduction to American Paintings from the Hainsworth Collection, Richard Love wrote, "Here the viewer will find images that reveal a growing nation whose cultural makers struggled to acknowledge their European roots yet proudly defined their own aesthetic identities. During the formative years in which these canvases were created, one of the greatest things an American artist could achieve was to be considered as equally skillful as his European counterpart. At the same time, one was expected to contribute to a new aesthetic direction that would one day prove an American tradition. To a greater or lesser degree, that goal was achieved by American artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries....The Hainsworth Collection contributes to that discovery and serves to provide insight as to just what is American about American painting.”