Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney: Sculpture

April 19, 2019 - July 21, 2019

Cushing / Morris Galleries

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Daphne, 1933, Bronze, Private Collection.

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney is best known as an art patron and founder of New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art. Yet she also had a significant career as a sculptor, exhibiting throughout the United States and Europe and receiving major commissions and prizes. This is the first exhibition of Whitney’s art since her death in 1942.

“Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney: Sculpture,” on view at the Newport Art Museum from April 19 through July 21, 2019, will showcase rarely seen works from private collections, examining the remarkable variety of the artist’s work—from her earliest classical sculptures to her more symbolic public monuments, from her bleakly Realist depiction of the tragedy of World War I to her late Art Deco work. Whitney was one of the only Americans who did not glorify the war in her public monuments, and her sensitive portraits of working class people, including African Americans and the unemployed, are also unusually nuanced for her time. A century after she worked, both the compelling nature of Whitney’s art and her contemporaries’ admiration for it make it time for a reassessment.

This exhibition was organized by the Norton Museum of Art and curated by Ellen E. Roberts, the Norton’s Harold and Anne Berkley Smith Curator of American Art.