AUBURN UNIVERSITY – A collection of modernist American art was assembled in 1946 by the U.S. State Department and launched as a traveling exhibition, “Advancing American Art,” to show the world America’s artistic coming of age. Controversy arose, the world tour was short-lived and the collection was brought back to the United States and dismantled.
Now, nearly 70 years later, all but 10 paintings from the original 117 oils and watercolors will be on display Sept. 8 through Jan. 5 at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University in the debut of the exhibition, “Art Interrupted: Advancing American Art and the Politics of Cultural Diplomacy.”
“‘Advancing American Art’ was the highlight of a U.S. State Department initiative of cultural diplomacy during the Cold War,” said Dennis Harper, curator of collections and exhibitions at the Jule Collins Smith Museum. “The exhibition was slated to travel to Eastern Europe, Asia and through the Latin American republic to show the freedom of expression enjoyed by artists in the United States.”