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. Featuring approximately 45 sculptures and drawings, this will be the first exhibition of Whitney’s art since her death in 1942. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney: Sculpture will showcase rarely seen works from private collections, examining the remarkable variety of her 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. Curated by Ellen E. Roberts, the Norton’s Harold and Anne Berkley Smith Curator of American Art.
This exhibition was organized by the Norton Museum of Art and is on view there through April 29, 2018.