02/17 – The Armory Show

One of the armory’s many rooms. Over 1,300 pieces were displayed during the exhibition. (OneArtyMinute)

On this day in 1913, the International Exhibition of Modern Art, or the Armory Show, opened at the 69th Regiment National Guard Armory in New York City. At the show, American audiences were introduced to experimental European and art styles like Cubism, Futurism, and other groundbreaking styles. Over 300 artists – many deceased – were represented at the Armory Show, including…

Paul Cézanne, a French post-impressionist painter known to Picasso as the “father of us all.”

Maison Maria on the way to the Château Noir, 1895, by Paul Cézanne. (Wikimedia Commons)

Nessa Cohen, an American sculptor who worked with Native American tribes and pioneered American sculpting.

Marcel Duchamp, a French-American conceptual artist famed for his outrageous and “offensive” paintings, sculptures and stunts.

One of Duchamp’s most influential pieces from 1917. (Flickr)

Mary Foote, an American painter and sculptor.

Paul Gauguin, a French post-impressionist, synthetist artist who painted life in French Polynesia towards the end of his career.

Vincent Van Gogh, a prolific Dutch post-impressionist painter whose experimental works were unpopular during his lifetime.

Wheatfield with Crows, by Vincent van Gogh, 1890. (Wikimedia Commons)

Francisco Goya, famed Spanish portrait artist and a master of both old and new styles.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, a German expressionist painter of the Die Brucke (Bridge) movement who was terrorized by the Nazis in the 1930s.

Claude Monet, a French impressionist and master of plein air (outdoor) landscapes famed for his consistency and mastery of his craft.

The Cliffs at Etretat by Claude Monet, 1885. (Wikimedia Commons)

Edvard Munch, a Norwegian expressionist/symbolist who channeled mental illness and nihilistic sentiments into his work.

Ethel Myers, an American artist and member of the Ashcan Movement, who depicted scenes in ordinary New York Life.

Greenwich Village Block Party by Ethel Myers. (Wikimedia Commons)

The event, organized by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors (AAPS), was an effort to forge an American “artistic language” and break away from traditional realist styles of art. Beginning in the 1890s, the world became caught up in turn-of-the-century optimism and patriotic idealism; the Armory Show was a manifestation of that energy in the artistic realm. The show – which toured Boston and Chicago’s National Guard armories – influenced generations of American artists and brought about greater acceptance of modern artistic styles.

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