Art lies in the fine choice. The artist does not teach us to see facts: he teaches us to feel harmonies.
The period leading to the turn of the twentieth century saw great social, industrial, and artistic changes across Europe and the United States. Artists experimented with new artistic expressions suitable for the modern age, questioning the nature and purpose of art and pushing the boundaries of what art could be. It was at this time when the most famous of the “isms” — Impressionism, Tonalism, Expressionism, Naturalism — were explored as modes of visual communication for a new age.
Oil paintings, watercolors, and drawings in the collection of the Two Red Roses Foundation illustrate this period of experimentation and discovery in the arts. Many popular artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are represented, such as Childe Hassam, Arthur Wesley Dow, Edward Potthast, Frank Duveneck, Thomas Anshutz, Emil Carlsen and William Trost Richards. The collection also features work by remarkable, yet less famous, artists of the period like Gertrude Fiske, Eanger I. Couse, Jessie Smith, John Joseph Enneking, and Margaret Patterson. Notable paintings in the collection include Children in the Park (ca. 1907-1910), by Maurice Prendergast and Edward Potthast’s Beach at Far Rockaway. The latter achieved the American auction record for the artist of $1.5 Million.
While their creations varied stylistically, the artists represented in the collection shared a sensibility that resonated with the goals of the Arts and Crafts movement – creating beautiful and evocative work based on observation of the natural world. Their subjects ranged widely from broad, colorful landscapes to intimate scenes of domesticity and floral still lifes. While they interpreted their chosen subject matter in highly personal ways, these artists helped create a distinctly American school of art in the early twentieth century.