A Revolution in Wood: The Bresler Collection

September 23, 2010 — January 30, 2011

Renwick Gallery (Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street NW)
Media - 2003.60.2 - SAAM-2003.60.2_3 - 128176

Derek A. Bencomo, Hana Valley, First View, from the "Peaks and Valleys Series", 1995-1997, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Fleur and Charles Bresler in honor of Kenneth R. Trapp, curator-in-charge of the Renwick Gallery (1995--2003)

A Revolution in Wood: The Bresler Collection celebrates the magnificent gift of sixty-six pieces of turned and carved wood to the Smithsonian American Art Museum by the noted collectors, Fleur and Charles Bresler. Works by some of the best-known wood artists in the United States highlight the expressive capacity of craft's most organic material, and display wood turning's growing sophistication. Nearly half of the artworks in the exhibition are on public display for the first time.


Masterpieces by the field’s pioneers, including David Ellsworth, William Hunter, Mark and Melvin Lindquist, Edward Moulthrop, and Rude Osolnik, demonstrate the extraordinary range of expression achievable on the lathe, the medium’s foundational tool. Compelling recent works by Ron Fleming, Michelle Holzapfel, Hugh McKay, Norm Sartorius, Mark Sfirri, and many others reveal the advent of new techniques, including multi-axis turning, the incorporation of secondary materials, and a strong focus on carving. The Bresler collection illustrates these evolving techniques and aesthetics, which has led to increased use of the term ““wood art”” rather than ““wood turning”” to describe the medium. Nicholas R. Bell, curator at the Renwick Gallery, organized the exhibition.


A Revolution in Wood: The Bresler Collection is organized and circulated by the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The Windgate Charitable Foundation generously supported the publication. The James Renwick Alliance contributed generously to the film, exhibition, and public programs. The Collectors of Wood Art provided funding for the exhibition.