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Seattle Art Museum: Modernism in the Pacific Northwest

Blog

Seattle Art Museum: Modernism in the Pacific Northwest

Sadie Sullivan

DOVE OF THE INNER EYE, 1941, MORRIS GRAVES, AMERICAN, 1910-2001, OPAQUE WATERCOLOR ON OILED PAPER, 20 5/8 X 35 3/4 IN

DOVE OF THE INNER EYE, 1941, MORRIS GRAVES, AMERICAN, 1910-2001, OPAQUE WATERCOLOR ON OILED PAPER, 20 5/8 X 35 3/4 IN

PSG is happy to announce that the Seattle Art Museum is displaying a collection of works by Mark Tobey, Morris Graves, Kenneth Callahan and Guy Anderson who were all members of PSG.

During the 1930’s and ‘40s, the four artists became known as the Northwest School of modern art. Working off of each other’s passions and talents, Mark Tobey, Morris Graves, Kenneth Callahan, and Guy Anderson sought to create art that consciously responded to the world around them. To them art was a spiritual quest. They were all influenced by the Northwest’s mix of Native American and Asian traditions.

Working together they soon were known across the country in large cities such as New York. Regional artists whose visions, for a time, were universal.

WHITE NIGHT, 1942, MARK TOBEY, AMERICAN, 1890-1976, TEMPERA ON PAPERBOARD MOUNTED ON COMPOSITION BOARD, 22 ¼ X 14 IN.

WHITE NIGHT, 1942, MARK TOBEY, AMERICAN, 1890-1976, TEMPERA ON PAPERBOARD MOUNTED ON COMPOSITION BOARD, 22 ¼ X 14 IN.

Throughout the exhibit you will get a chance to see great works, such as Mark Tobey’s White Night and Forms Follow Man. Through his works, you will feel his inspiration to create art and his experience of living in a busy city.

“When I’d go downtown at night . . . I’d always feel crowds coming, there were so many people. I began to paint crowds because they flooded the markets and they flooded the streets and they worked all night.” – Mary Tobey

After moving to Seattle from Chicago in 19222 he joined the faculty at the Cornish School of the Arts. Through his friendship with Teng Baiye, Toby began his long relationship with the Seattle Art Museum. During his life, he spent time studding Chinese calligraphy, Zen painting and poetry. He has been honored with many awards, such as an expansive retrospective at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris in 1997.

Morris Grave’s works such as Dove of the Inner Eye will be displayed in the exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum as well. Grave’s works show his self-taught talent and early signs of prodigious talent. Quitting high school early to travel the Asian posts of call in 1930, he studied the steamship hand and began his lifelong study of Eastern philosophy. Throughout his lifetime he traveled across the globe to Germany, France, Mexico and Honolulu, Hawaii before settling in the Irish countryside. His love of architecture, design, and gardening, show through his pieces of art, such as Millennium Light.

MILLENNIUM LIGHT, 1933-34, MORRIS GRAVES, AMERICAN, 1910-2001, OIL ON CANVAS, 39 X 40 IN

MILLENNIUM LIGHT, 1933-34, MORRIS GRAVES, AMERICAN, 1910-2001, OIL ON CANVAS, 39 X 40 IN

Kenneth Callahan who was born and raised in the heart of Seattle, studied art at the University of Washington for a year before he went on to study commercial art work in California. Just as Tobey and Grave, Callahan sought to travel Europe and Asia. That same year, he had a solo exhibition at the Art Institute in Seattle.

Callahan worked with the Seattle Art Museum for twenty years writing a weekly column for the museum in the Seattle Times. In his later life he went on to become a visiting professor or artist residence around the United States. Callahan’s work focuses mainly on sacred text and the history of art. His work encompasses the wealth of images and that humankind will always be always associated with the end of the world.

DECEPTION PASS THROUGH INDIAN COUNTRY, 1959, GUY ANDERSON, AMERICAN, 1906-1998, OIL ON WOOD, 11 X 30 3/8 IN.

DECEPTION PASS THROUGH INDIAN COUNTRY, 1959, GUY ANDERSON, AMERICAN, 1906-1998, OIL ON WOOD, 11 X 30 3/8 IN.

Deception Pass Through Indian Country by Guy Anderson will be part of the collection of the exhibition. Just like Callahan, Anderson was born and raised in the state of Washington. As a self-taught artist, Anderson grew up with a family who believed that having a wide range of experiences was important. His first solo shown in 1936 was at the Seattle Art Museum. He continued his work with the Seattle Art Museum till the 1940’s.

All four artists felt a strong connection to nature and the Northwest’s native cultures. Working together they were able to create a wide collection of American modernist works. The Seattle Art Museum will be holding one of the largest and finest collections of the four artist’s works.