Review: American Moderns at the Wadsworth

American Moderns on Paper at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford is an exciting, intimate show of more than 100 works by major American modern artists from 1910 to 1960.

My daughter and I liked the Hoppers the best. We like the bright light, the clear lines, the clearly delineated geometric shapes that come together to create a home, a coal shed, a lighthouse, a church on a New England street rising from the midst of homes that at once protect it and obscure it. We liked getting up close and seeing the lines of the original sketch visible below the clean and clear watercolors. We know that light. We live in it. And Hopper gets it right--the feeling of being alone yet with somebody (more like alongside somebody in that exquisite solitude) in a place that whispers in such a commandiing way that silence can be the only response.

And there was O'Keeffe, Charles Burchfield, John Marin, Ben Shahn....and so many others.

We are like children out for ice cream when we go to the museum--we have as much as we like of what we love and let the rest go. So here's what the museum has to say about the show: “Organized chronologically, the exhibition explores the historical significance of the collection and the importance to American modernists of working on paper, rather than canvas. Providing a rich history of the collection, the exhibition illuminates not only its historic roots, but also the concurrent national evolution of interest in watercolor and drawings.”