SEPTEMBER 20, 2008 – OCTOBER 19, 2008

From Four Studios: First State Modernism is the first major exhibition of the State’s Modernist art collection. The show presents key examples of works by four seminal figures in early 20th – century painting of Delaware: Jack Lewis (b. 1912), Howard Schroeder (1910-1995), Orville Peets (1881-1968) and Ethel Peets (1886-1978). Over the last ten years, the private studio collections and an assortment of personal possessions of these four professional artists have been gifted to the State’s collection. Each of these artists was professionally trained painters and art instructors in Delaware during the adventurous introduction of European Modernism into the American art scene.  The extensive holdings of each of the four collections include large caches of the artists’ works, works by their artistic contemporaries, art supplies and studio tools, as well as extensive archival materials on the artists’ careers and lives.

The exhibition introduces the work of these four artists, as represented by the State’s extensive collections, within the historical context of the introduction of European Modernism. These artists’ careers are presented in light of the direct influence of the new ideas of Cubism, Social Realism, and Abstraction on the American art scene. We will elicit common threads between each of these artists that connected them to exciting external influences of the art centers of New York and Paris during the first half of the 20th century. This exhibition positions Delaware as a regional recipient of this groundbreaking influence.