Winter Speaker Series: Sarah Humphreville

February 16, 2019 2:00 pm Griswold House

"Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables"

Sarah Humphreville, Senior Curatorial Assistant, Whitney Museum of American Art

Grant Wood’s American Gothic—the double portrait of a pitchfork-wielding farmer and a woman commonly presumed to be his wife—is perhaps the most recognizable painting in twentieth-century American art, an indelible icon of Americana, and certainly Wood’s most famous artwork. But Wood’s career consists of far more than one single painting. From his early Arts and Crafts decorative objects and Impressionist oils through his mature paintings, murals, and book illustrations, Wood’s full oeuvre reveals a complex, sophisticated artist whose image as a farmer-painter was as mythical as the fables he depicted in his art. Wood sought pictorially to fashion a world of harmony and prosperity that would answer America’s need for reassurance at a time of economic and social upheaval occasioned by the Depression. Yet underneath its bucolic exterior, his art reflects the anxiety of being an artist and a deeply repressed homosexual in the Midwest in the 1930s. By depicting his subconscious anxieties through populist images of rural America, Wood crafted images that speak both to American identity and to the estrangement and isolation of modern life.

Each lecture will be followed by audience Q&A, and continued conversation in the galleries over  hot tea, coffee, and scrumptious light fare and desserts, courtesy of Blenheim-Newport, a Benchmark Senior Living Community.

Sarah Humphreville is a Senior Curatorial Assistant at the Whitney Museum of American Art, a role she has held since 2016, having previously worked at the museum as a Curatorial Assistant since 2013. Prior to joining the Whitney’s full time staff, she served as an intern in the Curatorial department under Carter Foster for the exhibition Hopper Drawing. In her roles as a Senior Curatorial Assistant and Curatorial Assistant, Sarah has worked with Barbara Haskell on the exhibitions Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other FablesStuart Davis: In Full SwingAmerican Legends: From Calder to O’KeeffeRobert Indiana: Beyond LOVEEdward Hopper and Photography, and Collecting Calder. In addition to these projects with Ms. Haskell, she has also worked with Dana Miller on Shaping a Collection: Five Decades of Gifts and David W. Kiehl and Kim Conaty on the Print Committee. Sarah received a B.A., summa cum laude, in art history, and a B.F.A. in painting with a minor in drawing from Cornell University in 2009. She received the Charles Goodwin Sands Memorial Medal for her fine arts thesis, was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, and served as the Degree Marshal for B.F.A. recipients. In 2013, she received her M.A. from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, for which she completed a thesis on Edward Hopper and Dan Flavin. In addition to working for the Whitney, Sarah has previously been employed by The Jewish Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and galleries in New York and Los Angeles.

Thank you to our generous sponsors

Ronald Lee Fleming
Fleming Family Foundation

Lee C. Bakalarski
Lockett Ford Ballard, Jr., in memory of Canon Lockett Ford Ballard & Charlotte Carr Morrinson Ballard
Johanna and Ronald Becker
Anita and George Furbish
Mary Jennings
Cynthia Sinclair
Kathleen Shinners
The Hope Foundation

This event is made possible by your support of the Annual Fund.

Thank you to the Winter Speaker Series Committee

Dick Hunt, Chairman
Burt Alpert
Bruce Amand
Johanna Becker
Eleanor Doumato
Jack Galvin
Anne DeBose Joslin
Susan Kieronski
Cristin Searles-Bilodeau
Kathleen Shinners