The first decades of the twentieth century witnessed a schism in the arts as painters and sculptors in Europe and the Americas began to break with academic traditions. Rallying under the banner of expressive freedom and an independence from established institutions, these artists began to explore new social realities, and the even more radical concept of a purely abstract art. Adding to this transatlantic transmission of ideas was an unprecedented internationalism, which drew modernists from around the world to Paris. Conversely, wars, suffering, and the dream of a new life led ever more European artists to emigrate to the United States.
Tracing a trajectory through more than a century of art, from Cubism to Surrealism and beyond, the paintings and sculptures on view in this gallery do not present a traditional survey divided by national schools. Instead, this display combines artists from Europe, the United States, and Latin America to highlight the international aspects of modernism.
Featured at top right: René Magritte, The Shadows, 1966. Oil on canvas. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Norton S. Walbridge, 1976.205.