The Cloth Unfolded 1: Linen, Laundry, and Laundresses in 19th-Century Still Life

(45 minute illustrated lecture – PowerPoint)  Using images from the VMFA permanent collections, Mary Prevo, art historian and museum educator, will discuss her project: the carefully laundered linen table covering in nineteenth-century still life and its function as a measure of middle-class status.  In the hands of artists like Fantin-Latour, Manet, Cezanne and Gauguin cool,…

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Modern Art: Native American Style

Mid-century modern art is exemplified by an abstract aesthetic that emphasizes the materiality of the work. Numerous Native American artists, such as Kay Walkingstick, engaged with the rhetoric surrounding modern art but their self-identity as a Native American has overshadowed their contribution to modern art. This talk will examine the way mid-century Native American modern…

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Soft Pastel Painting Workshop

Fall in love with the velvety richness, the sparkling color, and the direct touch with which pastel has been enchanting artists for centuries! You’ll be ready to capture the world with delightful colors of after participating in this fun, informative workshop. Designed for artists, art teachers and high school students, the maximum class size of…

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“Hail Columbia!” Personifications of America from the Colonial Era through World War I

This lecture traces the evolution of personifications of America from the beginning of European exploration through the emergence of the United States as a modern international superpower. Across this timeframe, artists symbolized America in a range of guises, including as a Native American princess, the classicized goddess Columbia, the personification of Liberty, and Uncle Sam.…

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A Brief History of African American Art through the Civil Rights Era

African American artists occupy an important, though often overlooked place in the history of American art. This lecture surveys the creative work of African American artists from the colonial period through the 1960s—artists including Joshua Johnson, Robert Duncanson, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Aaron Douglas, Meta Warrick Fuller, Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, Beauford Delaney, and Norman Lewis,…

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Picturing Modern Womanhood: Suffragettes, Flappers, and Other New Women in American Art, 1910-1940

The early decades of the twentieth century witnessed dramatic changes in American society in general and women’s lives in particular. Many women gained new educational, occupational, and political opportunities, while also enjoying unprecedented social and sexual freedoms. Their experiences challenged traditional gender hierarchies and long-held assumptions about female nature. The so-called New Woman embodied modern…

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Pocahontas in Image and Myth

Legends and images of Pocahontas, the young Native American woman who reportedly rescued Captain John Smith of the Jamestown settlement in the early 1600s, became popular in Western culture during her lifetime and continue to evolve into the present day. This lecture examines representations of this renowned yet elusive historical figure in the context of…

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Winslow Homer’s Civil War

Widely regarded as one of America’s greatest artists, Winslow Homer (1836-1910) first gained national recognition for insightful paintings and illustrations about the Civil War. Informed by his first-hand observations at the Union front in Virginia, Homer adopted an unconventional approach to representing war: instead of depicting dramatic battle scenes and heroic military leaders, he humanized…

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Teacher Workshop: Art in the Modern World: Connect

Robert Rauschenburg once commented “I think art is more like the real world when it’s made out of the real world.” In this workshop, you’ll explore this thought by considering how artists use found objects to transform materials as they pursue powerful new meanings. By looking closely at works by ground-breaking artists, including Robert Rauschenberg,…

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