Transition and Turmoil: Human Expressions 1900–1945

January 16 – May 1, 2016

Imogen Cunningham, Double Image of Joseph Sheridan, 1931. Art of the early 20th century reflects a period marked by upheaval. In this display of rarely exhibited works on paper from the Ulrich Museum of Art’s permanent collection, American and European artists picture the human condition during these decades of transition. Worker portraits and fast-paced urban life point to continuing demographic shifts from country to city begun during 19th century industrialization. Scenes of American rural life hint at the effects of economic depression, yet also impart the perseverance of the human spirit amid hardship. Many artists of the time speak to the social and political impacts of fascism, war, and human loss.

As part of the broader exhibition, the Amsden Gallery offers a Spotlight on Kathe Kollwitz. A German artist who witnessed the effects of economic turmoil as well as the loss and destruction of both World Wars, Kollwitz is best known for her powerful graphics of human expressions such as hunger, fear, grief, and loss. The woodcuts, etchings, and lithographs on display underscore this focus on human experience that lasted throughout Kollwitz’s long career.

Building on the Ulrich’s educational mission, Transition and Turmoil is guest-curated by Dr. Rachel Epp Buller, Associate Professor of Visual Art and Design at Bethel College, in conjunction with her spring 2016 class, Art and Design History, 1900-1945. Over the course of the semester, students will hone observational and art-writing skills by working with the art on display.

IMAGE:Imogen Cunningham, Double Image of Joseph Sheridan, 1931. Gelatin silver print, 10 x 7 1⁄2 in. Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University. Museum purchase