Return to Previous Page

June 9th, 1999
Twentieth-Century Art

From Cubism and Precisionism, Dada and Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art and Minimalism, to provocative work by an ever-growing roster of young artists who are leading the world into the next century-the dramatic evolution of art in our time is on view in the Galleries of 20th-Century Art. The Museum's comprehensive collections of early modern art include indisputable masterpieces such as Pablo Picasso's Self-Portrait (1906) and Mademoiselle Yvonne Landsberg (1914) by Henri Matisse, as well as two galleries devoted to unparalleled groups of works by vastly influential figures in modern art: Marcel Duchamp and Constantin Brancusi. The Museum houses the largest collection of Duchamp's work in the world, including the notorious Nude Descending A Staircase (No. 2) (1912), and the monumental painting on glass The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass) (1915-23). A serene, chapel-like space frames the breathtaking results of Brancusi's search for essential forms, as seen in The Kiss (1916) and Bird in Space (Yellow Bird) (1923-4).

Joining their European counterparts are works by American early modernists--Marsden Hartley's Painting No. 4 (A Black Horse) (1915), Charles Sheeler's Cactus (1931), and Georgia O'Keeffe's Red Hills and Bones (1941), among many others, as well as premiere examples of other important streams in 20th-century American art: the powerful, self-taught vision of Horace Pippin, as conveyed in works such as End of War: Starting Home (1930-3), and Mr. Prejudice (1945), and the evocative realism of Andrew Wyeth, seen in Groundhog Day (1959).

Also showcased in the Galleries of 20th-Century Art are early Abstract Expressionist masterpieces, including Seated Woman (c. 1940) by Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock's Male and Female (c. 1942). Post-WWII masterworks by Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, Andy Warhol and Eva Hesse set the stage for changing installations of works by contemporary artists who encourage new understandings of what art can be.

Inspired by the tradition of innovation made material in its permanent collection, the Department of 20th-Century Art has organized or presented celebrated exhibitions that explore the continuity of art from past to present. These include the recent exhibitions Picasso and Things (1992), Thinking is Form: The Drawings of Joseph Beuys (1993-4), John Cage: Rolywholyover A Circus (1995), Constantin Brancusi (1996), Self-Taught Artists of the 20th Century: An Anthology (1998), and Raymond Pettibon (April 30-July 3, 1999), and forthcoming looks at Alice Neel (early 2001), and Barnett Newman (2002). Since 1994, the Video Gallery (179) has showcased the innovations of this rapidly evolving medium.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest museums in the United States, with a collection of more than 227,000 works of art and more than 200 galleries presenting painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, decorative arts, textiles, and architectural settings from Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States. Its facilities include its landmark Main Building on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the Perelman Building, located nearby on Pennsylvania Avenue, the Rodin Museum on the 2200 block of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and two 18th-century houses in Fairmount Park, Mount Pleasant and Cedar Grove. The Museum offers a wide variety of activities for public audiences, including special exhibitions, programs for children and families, lectures, concerts and films.

For additional information, contact the Communications Department of the Philadelphia Museum of Art phone at 215-684-7860, by fax at 215-235-0050, or by e-mail at The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For general information, call (215) 763-8100.

Return to Previous Page