Jule Collins Smith Museum to showcase selections from ‘Advancing American Art’ collection

AUBURN – The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University will exhibit a selection of some of the museum’s most treasured pieces from its “Advancing American Art” collection Oct. 24 through Jan. 23 in the Chi Omega-Hargis Gallery.

The 36 paintings and works on paper in this collection constitute one of the most significant components of the museum’s permanent collection. Acquired by Auburn University in 1948, when Auburn was known as Alabama Polytechnic Institute, they were originally part of a group of 117 oil paintings and watercolors assembled by the U.S. State Department in 1946 to demonstrate the ascendancy of American modern art at the mid-century.

The current exhibition features paintings by Arthur Dove, Jacob Lawrence, John Marin, Georgia O’Keeffe and Ben Shahn.

The Advancing American Art collection at the Jule Collins Smith Museum has been described as one of the finest collections of mid-20th-century American art in the Southeast. The museum’s collection includes examples of work by Romare Bearden and Jacob Lawrence, the only African-American artists included in the original collection. Other works from the original exhibition can be found in the permanent collections of the University of Georgia Museum of Art and the University of Oklahoma Museum of Art.

For more information on the works of art in the museum’s “Advancing American Art” collection, go to http://jcsm.auburn.edu/collections_perm/adv_american_art.php.

Open since 2003, the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University is Alabama’s only university art museum. Serving as the gateway into Auburn University, the museum has a wide-ranging permanent collection, which includes more than 100 Audubon prints, Tibetan bronzes dating from as early as the 15th century and works by important American modern artists such as William Gropper, John Sloan and Lyonel Feininger.

The museum rotunda features a three-tiered, hand-blown glass chandelier created especially for the space by internationally renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. The museum experience continues onto the grounds with 15 acres of gardens, walking paths and water features complete with outdoor sculpture, including “Spinoff,” created by Auburn alumna Jean Woodham.

Contact: Dennis Harper, (334) 844-1419 (dharper@auburn.edu), or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)