Lecture by Avis Berman

"Distilling the American Flavor: Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Juliana Force, and the Creation of the Whitney Museum"

May 17, 2019 5:00 pm

Join us for a fascinating lecture on the lives and careers of two extraordinary women – Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875-1942) and Juliana Rieser Force (1876-1948) – who transformed the history of American art. Their partnership not only brought about the formation of the Whitney Museum of American Art, but was responsible for the support of hundreds of artists who had nowhere else to turn. Among those indebted to Force and Whitney were John Sloan, Stuart Davis, Edward Hopper, Thomas Hart Benton, and Isamu Noguchi. These artists, now celebrated, were unknown and uncredentialed when they benefited from the Whitney largesse. Indispensable to the making of the Whitney Museum are the entwined stories of Gertrude Whitney, the cloistered heiress who boldly created a new life for herself as an artist and art patron, and the less well-known personality of Juliana Force, who rose from poverty and obscurity to reinvent herself as a flamboyant bohemian who became the Whitney’s first director and a leader in her profession.

Pre-Lecture Reception at 5:00 pm
Lecture at 6:00 pm

Don't miss the exclusive members-only guided tour at 4 pm led by Senior Curator Francine Weiss.

Avis Berman is an independent writer, critic, and art historian. She has written countless articles on painting, sculpture, photography, illustration, design, architecture, and the social history of the visual arts for a broad range of publications including The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The Washington Post, Smithsonian, Saturday Review, The Boston Book Review, American Art, ARTnews, The San Francisco Examiner, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Baltimore Sun, Art in America, Art & Antiques, House & Garden, and Architectural Digest.

In addition to authoring biographies on Hopper, Lichtenstein and Whistler, Berman is also the author of the acclaimed Rebels on Eighth Street: Juliana Force and the Whitney Museum of American Art (Atheneum); the first and only book on the history and influence of the Whitney Museum.