When Modern Was Contemporary: Selections from the Roy R. Neuberger Collection

Opening Reception: Saturday, March 4, 2017 from 6:30-8:00pm

This pivotal exhibition is drawn from the collection of financier Roy R. Neuberger (1903-2010). One of America’s most important collectors, he assembled a groundbreaking collection of American modern art. Recognizing the significance of the art of his own time, Neuberger acquired work by a remarkable selection of modern masters, including Alexander Calder, Stuart Davis, Willem de Kooning, Marsden Hartley, Jacob Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, among numerous others. Neuberger said of himself, “I have not collected art as an investor would, I collect art because I love it.” The exhibition explores Neuberger’s significant role as a collector of and advocate for the contemporary art of his time. Viewing the collection and its collector in tandem not only affords the opportunity to examine the period when the history of modern art in America was being made but introduces our audience to Neuberger’s collection of modern masters, that for the first time, elucidates his important contribution to one of the most fertile periods in American art.

Drawing 52 works from this seminal collection, When Modern Was Contemporary surveys the development of modern art in the United States from representational modes in the early years of the twentieth century through the Abstract Expressionist revolution at mid-century. The exhibition highlights the work of artists who built upon European precedents, including Max Weber and Joseph Stella; artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Arthur Dove who were inspired by organic forms in the American landscape; while industry is celebrated in paintings by such artists as Ralston Crawford and Charles Sheeler. Masterworks of Abstract Expressionism include a large ‘drip’ painting by Jackson Pollock and a painting from Willem de Kooning’s groundbreaking Woman series.

The exhibition was curated by Tracy Fitzpatrick, director of the Neuberger Museum of Art of Purchase College, State University of New York.

When Modern Was Contemporary: Selections from the Roy R. Neuberger Collection is organized by the American Federation of Arts and the Neuberger Museum of Art of Purchase College, SUNY.

Neuberger Berman is the national tour sponsor.

Additional support is provided by the JFM Foundation and Mrs. Donald M. Cox. In-kind support is provided by Christie’s. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities.

Generous support for the original presentation and the accompanying catalogue was provided by Helen Stambler Neuberger and Jim Neuberger. Sotheby’s has provided in-kind support to the Neuberger Museum.

Support for the local presentation of the exhibition was provided by the Hillman Exhibition Fund of The Westmoreland Museum of American Art. and The Tomahawk Hill Foundation.