The Modern Collection comprises more than 2,200 works of art spanning the mid-19th century through the first half of the 20th century. The collection represents art of Europe and the Americas and includes paintings, sculpture, and prints and drawings. A major strength of the modern collection is its representation of American art, especially landscapes, urban themes, social realist themes and WPA prints. These works represent many significant movements in American art such as Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, early Modernism, Geometric Abstraction, Urban and Social Realism, and Regionalism.
More about the Modern Collection
A recent gift in 2020 of nearly 1,200 works of Florida-themed art has provided new resources for exhibitions, programs, and teaching. The Florida Art Collection, Gift of Samuel H. and Roberta T. Vickers represents more than 700 artists who captured Florida’s landscape, history and people, and scenes of daily life. The Museum’s collection of Latin American art is small yet growing and represents artists from Mexico, Chile, Uruguay, Guatemala, Brazil and Puerto Rico. Holdings of European art include stellar examples of paintings, sculpture and prints representing France, Italy, Germany and Spain.
American, European and Latin American art
The Harn Museum’s modern collection includes nearly 1,000 works spanning from the mid-19th century through the first half of the 20th century. The collection is divided into three geographically defined sub- collections: American art, European art and Latin American art. American art is further divided into three genre categories: painting, sculpture, and prints and drawings.
A major strength of the modern collection is its representation of American art from the 1910s through the 1940s. Areas of special importance include landscapes, urban themes, social realist themes and Works Progress Administration prints. These works represent many significant movements in American art such as Impressionism, early Modernism, Cubism, Geometric Abstraction, Regionalism, and Urban and Social Realism.
The core of the collection was established in the early 1990s through a major gift from William H. and Eloise R. Chandler of more than 50 paintings by well-known American artists such as George Bellows, John Steuart Curry, Philip Evergood, Rockwell Kent, Leon Kroll, Jack Levine, John Marin and John Sloan. During the last decade, the Harn has significantly added to the quality and depth of these holdings through purchases and generous gifts. These important contributions have continued to shape the museum’s representation of modern art in new and exciting directions.
American paintings from the 19th century include fine examples by William Morris Hunt, Herman Herzog, William Aiken Walker and J. Alden Weir. Major movements of American art in the first half of the 20th century represented in the collection include Impressionism by artists such as Childe Hassam and Theodore Robinson; Post-Impressionism by Maurice Prendergast; and early Modernism and Abstraction by Milton Avery, Francis Criss, Preston Dickinson, Werner Drewes, Lyonel Feininger, Suzy Frelinghuysen, Albert Gallatin, Raymond Jonson, John Marin, Georgia O’Keeffe, Ben Shahn and Joseph Stella. The collection also includes important examples of early American Realism by artists George Bellows, Arthur Davies, George Luks, Kenneth Hayes Miller and John Sloan; Urban and Social Realism by Isabel Bishop, Jonas Lie, Reginald Marsh, Everett Shinn and Raphael Soyer; and Regionalism by George Biddle, John Steuart Curry, Robert Gwathmey, Stuart Purser and Paul Sample.
In addition, several works address the importance of large-scale mural paintings in the 1930s and 1940s. The collection includes a group of mural studies by regionalist painters Hollis Holbrook, Bert Marvin and Frank Mechau, and African-American Modernist Hale Woodruff.
The collection of modern American sculpture is growing. These works represent the concerns of Modernists who experimented with color, line and space, and sought a balance between realism and abstraction. Artists represented include Alexander Archipenko, Jose de Creeft, John Flannagan, Gaston Lachaise, Elie Nadelman, Louise Nevelson, John Storrs and William Zorach, among others. Many of these works are dynamic studies of the human figure that challenge traditional concepts regarding the function and appearance of art.
A significant collection of prints from the 1930s and 1940s, known as the Carnell Collection, complements the Harn’s important holdings of American painting and sculpture. The Carnell Collection includes 175 prints representing more than 75 artists who were employed in the New York City Graphic Arts Division of the Works Progress Administration and the Federal Arts Project from 1935 to 1945. Examples include lithographs, engravings, woodcuts, wood engravings, etchings, aquatints and silkscreen prints by key figures in American printmaking such as Don Freeman, Jacob Kainen, Louis Lozowick, Nan Lurie, Ann Nooney, Leonard Pytlak, Joseph Vogel and Hyman Warsager.
Additional American printmakers who are represented in the Harn’s modern collection include Peggy Bacon, Leonard Baskin, Aaron Bohrod, Adolph Dehn, Emil Ganso, William Gropper, Rockwell Kent, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Beatrice Mandelman, John Marin and Andree Ruellan.
The modern collection also includes a small group of important drawings by American artists Oscar Bluemner, Preston Dickinson, Raymond Jonson, Kenneth Hayes Miller, Everett Shinn, Joseph Stella and Abraham Walkowitz.
Highlights from the Harn’s holdings of European art include the landscape Champ d’avoine (1890) by French Impressionist painter Claude Monet and Standing Fauness from Auguste Rodin’s famed Gates of Hell project (1880-1917). The collection of European art also features prints by Ernst Barlach, Max Beckmann, Albert Besnard, Pierre Bonnard, Bernard Buffet, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, Pierre-August Renoir, and Georges Rouault, among others.
The museum’s collection of Latin American art continues to grow through important purchases and gifts. Holdings in Latin American art represent artists from Mexico such as Diego Rivera, Alfredo Ramos Martínez, Rufino Tamayo, Jesús Guerrero Galván and Gustavo Montoya; Chilean artist Matta; Uruguay (Joaquín Torres- García and Pedro Figari), Guatemala (Carlos Mérida), Brazil (Candido Portinari), and Puerto Rico (Angel Botello). Given the important connections that existed between Latin America and North American artists in the first half of the 20th century, and given Florida’s geographical location, this area of the collection will receive more focused attention in the coming years.