Davenport’s Figge Art Museum has joined forces with the Warner Foundation, which is dedicated to promoting an understanding of American history through American art, in a new exhibit.
Now on view in the Figge’s second-floor gallery 206, History in the Painting gives insight into our country’s past through the work of revered American artists — including Thomas Cole, Severin Roesen, Albert Bierstadt, and John Frederick Kensett, according to a Wednesday release from the museum.
Drawn from the renowned collection of the Warner Foundation, which continues the legacy of Jonathan “Jack” Warner in using American Art as an important vehicle for teaching American history, the paintings range from bountiful still-lifes to awe-inspiring landscapes and reflect 19th-century society and culture.
Ideas surrounding national pride, agricultural growth, the rise of the middle class, and westward expansion are explored through these paintings and show how understanding our past is integral to moving forward.
“We’re so honored to partner with Susan Warner and the Warner Foundation to bring these iconic works to the Quad Cities,” Figge executive director Michelle Hargrave said in the release. “These paintings complement works in the Figge’s own collection and provide an opportunity to further our visitors’ understanding of American art and our country’s history.”
“The opportunity to reach new audiences, particularly in the Midwest, which is where my husband Jack Warner was born made this partnership with the Figge exciting,” said Susan Warner of the Warner Foundation. Jack Warner was born in Decatur, Ill.
A pioneer collector and appreciator of American art, he was awarded the Frederic Edwin Church award in 2010 for assembling one of the greatest private collections of American art, including hundreds of paintings, furniture, and decorative art objects representing masterpieces of American art from the 18th century through the early decades of the 20th century, according to thejackwarner.com.
His achievement was also recognized in 2011 by the naming of the newly opened Jack and Susan Warner Hudson River Gallery in the Metropolitan Museum of American Art in New York.
Educational programming, including a keynote lecture with Dr. Graham Boettcher from the Birmingham Museum of Art, will take place at the Figge (225 W. 2nd St., Davenport) on Thursday, July 7 at 6:30 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to come at 5 p.m. for a reception with light appetizers and complimentary wine and beer with Susan Warner prior to the talk.
Boettcher will explore the historical context and meaning of the American paintings currently on loan to the Figge from the Warner Foundation. Anecdotes about the legendary collector Jonathan “Jack” Westervelt Warner (1917-2017), who created one of the world’s foremost collections of American art, will also be shared.
Register for your free admission to this event at www.figgeartmuseum.org. Visitors can also experience a mobile audio tour featuring more in-depth information about the works on view.
History in the Painting is organized with the assistance of graduate students in the Museum Studies Program at Western Illinois University and is sponsored by the Warner Foundation.
The exhibition will be on view through spring 2023 and features several audio tour spots, including unique and personal perspectives on the works by the graduate students, insights into collecting of American art and legendary collector Jack Warner, and a family tour.