The Whitney Museum Is Inaugurated in New York (Great Events from History II: Arts and Culture Series)
Article abstract: The Whitney Museum helped to give American artists public importance and gained international recognition for American art as a distinct and viable movement.
Summary of Event
In a short statement at the ceremony inaugurating the museum named in her honor, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney noted that she had been collecting American art for twenty-five years not only because she thought it worthwhile but also because she believed in American creative talent. The struggle to achieve recognition not only for American art but also for modernism had been difficult and was far from over.
When Whitney, at the turn of the century, had sought to escape the stifling social atmosphere into which she was born and to seek an identity for herself, she had no thought of establishing a museum. Turning to sculpture, for which she had some talent, she hired instructors and took classes. For the first time, she became aware of the struggles and often bleak world of the average American artist. American art, particularly modern American art, had no official recognition. The artistic establishment was firmly under the control of conservatives who saw merit in contemporary art only to the extent that it imitated the past.
In 1906, Whitney by chance met Robert Henri, a member of a group of avant-garde artists seeking to escape the regimentation of existing artistic standards, especially as to subject...
(The entire section is 2098 words.)
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