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Modern Masters from the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Buy the book Modern Masters: American Abstraction at Midcentury

Browse images from the exhibition on Flickr

See if the exhibition tour stops in your hometown

Image for Modern Masters from the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park, No. 6, 1968, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Arthur J. Levin in memory of his beloved wife Edith © 1968, Richard Diebenkorn

Modern Masters from the Smithsonian American Art Museum features forty-three key paintings and sculptures by thirty-one of the most celebrated artists who came to maturity in the 1950s. Through three broadly-conceived themes that span two decades of creative genius —"Significant Gestures," "Optics and Order" and "New Images of Man"—Modern Masters examines the complex and heterogeneous nature of American abstract art in the mid-twentieth century. Featured artists include Jim Dine, David Driskell, Sam Francis, Philip Guston, Grace Hartigan, Hans Hofmann, Franz Kline, Louise Nevelson, Anne Truitt and Esteban Vicente.

Modern Masters: American Abstraction at Midcentury, the beautifully illustrated catalogue co-published by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and D Giles Limited (London), was written by Virginia M. Mecklenburg with contributions by Tiffany D. Farrell. The book features an essay and biographical information on the 31 artists whose work is included in the exhibition. It is available in the museum's store and online.

Browse images from the Modern Masters exhibition on Flickr and tell us about your favorites.

National Tour
The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University in Miami (November 29, 2008 – March 1, 2009)
Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg, Pennsylvania (June 14, 2009 – September 6, 2009)
Dayton Art Institute in Dayton, Ohio (July 23, 2010 – October 10, 2010)
Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia (November 5, 2010 – February 5, 2011)
Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art in Nashville, Tennessee (March 19, 2011 – June 19, 2011)
Reynolda House Museum of American Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (October 7, 2011 – December 31, 2011)

The Smithsonian American Art Museum is grateful to our generous contributors for their support of Modern Masters from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment Fund provided support for the publication. The C. F. Foundation in Atlanta supports the museum's traveling exhibition program Treasures to Go. Members of the Smithsonian Council for American Art contribute to the museum's national programs.

Luce Center for American Art