Exhibitions: Popular Art in America

  • 1st Floor
    Arts of Africa, Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden
  • 2nd Floor
    Arts of Asia and the Islamic World
  • 3rd Floor
    Egyptian Art, European Paintings
  • 4th Floor
    Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
  • 5th Floor
    Luce Center for American Art

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Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

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    Popular Art in America

    Press Releases ?
    • May 4, 1939: SATURDAY, MAY 13th, through SATURDAY, MAY 20th,1939

      SATURDAY, May 13 th,
      11:00 A.M. Motion Picture- “China’s Home Life; How China Makes a Living” (Sculpture Court)
      2:00 P.M. Lecture-Demonstration- “History of Music and Its Parallels in Visual Art” by David Le Vita (Class A)
      3:00 P.M. Songs of Lithuania. Presented in cooperation with the International Institute of the Y.W.C.A. (Sculpture Court)

      SUNDAY, MAY 14th,
      1:30 P.M. Federal Civic Orchestra of N.Y.C., and Federal Opera Co. of N.Y.C. (Sculpture Court)
      3:00 P.M. Sound Motion Picture- “Pilgrim Forests, New England Fishermen” (Class A)
      3:10 P.M. Organ Recital -Dr. R.L. Bedell (Sculpture Court)
      4:00 P.M. Manhattan Federal Band (Sculpture Court)

      TUESDAY, MAY 16th,
      10:00 A.M. Sound Motion Picture- “Pilgrim Forests” (New England) (Sculpture Court)

      WEDNESDAY, MAY 17th,
      1:30 P.M. Motion Picture - “The Frontier Woman” (Sculpt. Court)

      SATURDAY, MAY 20th
      11:00 A.M. Motion Picture - "Bit of High Life; Digging up the Past; Canoe Trails through Mooseland” (Sculpture Court)
      3:00 P.M. Sound Motion Picture - “The Symphony Orchestra, Percussion Group, Woodwind, Brass and String Choirs “ (Sculpture Court)

      ORGAN RECITALS (Broadcast over Station W.N.Y.C. from the Sculpture Court of the Brooklyn Museum)
      Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Frida[y]- 1:05 P.M. to 1:30 P.M.
      Saturday--------------------------------------------10:00 A.M. to 10:30 P.M.

      CURRENT EXHIBITIONS
      Exhibition of the Instruments of the Modern Symphony Orchestra and their Historic Antecedents - March 31 to May 14, (Second Floor)
      Exhibition of Mexican Bead Work of the 18th and 19th Centuries. Lent by Mrs. Dwight Morrow. May 6 through summer (Second Fl.)
      Popular Art in America - May 18 through summer (First Fl.)
      World’s Fairs of Yesterday. Material from the Brooklyn Museum Art Reference Library - May 5 to Oct. 1, (Second Floor Library Gall.)

      Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1938. 11-12/1938, 293. View Original

    • May 4, 1939: On Wednesday evening, May 17th, the Brooklyn Museum will open with a reception and pre-view for members and guests of the Museum an exhibition of Popular Art in America. The exhibition is being arranged by Mr. John M. Graham, recently appointed Assistant Curator of American Rooms and will include decorative pictures such as memorial paintings on silk and paintings on velvet, carved figures such as figureheads, cigar store Indians and portrait heads, weather vanes of wood and metal, carved birds and animals such as roosters, eagles, decoys, gulls, etc., stoves and firebacks, toys, games and children's banks, iron lawn sculpture and hitching posts, ceramics and chalk ware. The period most amply represented will be the 19th century with a few objects from the middle of the 18th century through the 19th century.

      This is the principal exhibition arranged by the Brooklyn Museum in connection with the New York World's Fair and will run through the summer.

      Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1939. 4-7_1939/Exhibition, 178. View Original

    • Date unknown, approximately 1939: There will be an invitation preview 8:30 P.M. Wednesday evening, May 17th, at the Brooklyn Museum which will be socially important in Brooklyn and will have unusual material in the exhibition that will be opened of “Popular Art in America.”

      A Program Committee composed of Miss Alice Recknagel, Mrs. Duffield Hamilton, Mrs. Warren Blossom and Miss Julie Blossom, all members of the Brooklyn Junior League, will be in costumes of the period of the exhibition drawn from the Museum’s costume collection and related to another exhibition that will be available for the first time that night, namely, women’s and children’s summer costumes for morning, afternoon and sports wear from 1830 to 1895. Those costumes are being shown now because they show the basis from which this year’s fashions were designed, especially the hats which in many cases are identical with those now seen on the street every day. Some of the costumes not like today’s are a bathing suit and a tennis dress, with high stiff collar and long sleeves.

      The exhibition of “Popular Art in America” is made up of pictures and objects of the late 18th Century and the 19th Century. Most of them instead of being the work of artists for their own satisfaction are objects made for popular consumption such as highly decorated firemens’ hats and fire buckets, Indians and other figures such as cigar store emblems, merry-go-round animals and birds, circus wagon ornaments and lawn sculpture such as doers, dogs and hitching posts.

      Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1939. 04-07/1939, 121. View Original

    • Date unknown, approximately 1939: The names numbered and listed below are selected from the acceptances received by the Museum to its invitation for the opening of the Exhibition of “Popular Art in America” on Wednesday night.

      We send it to you in this form so that it can easily be checked by numbers over the telephone if you are interested in getting the actual list on Wednesday night. Otherwise it will be mailed Wednesday night. We will telephone to you to see how you want us to give you this Information.

      1. Dr. and Mrs. Samuel P. Bailey
      2. Mr. and Mrs. Edward C. Blum
      3. Mrs. Egbert Guernsey Brown
      4. Mrs. F.W. Blossom
      5. Miss Julia Blossom
      6. Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Blum
      7. Mrs. Robert Huse Brown
      8. Mr. Walter H. Crittenden
      9. Mr. Leonard Cox
      10. Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Colton
      11. Mr. Arthur W. Clement
      12. Dr. Arthur E. Corby
      13. Mrs. James N. Currie
      14. Mr. and Mrs. Chester Dale
      15. Mr. Joseph Downs
      16. Miss Lucille Fawcett
      17. Mr. and Mrs. Lewis W. Francis
      18. Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Frazier
      19. Mr. and Mrs. A. Conger Goodyear
      20. Miss Anne Goldthwaite
      21. Mrs. William H. Good
      22. Judge and Mrs. Edwin L. Garvin
      23. Mrs. Walter Gibb
      24. Mrs. I. W. Gasque
      25. Mr. and Mrs. J. Monroe Hewlett
      26. Mr. and Mrs. Walter Hammitt
      27. Miss Malvina Hoffman
      28. Dr. and Mrs. E. P. Huff
      29. Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Janis
      30. Mrs. William C. Knoll
      31. Mrs. Be1la C. Landauer
      32. Miss Hilda Loinos
      33. Mr. Thomas D. Mabry, Jr..
      34. Mr. and Mrs. Henry Allen Moe
      35. Mr. and Mrs. L.R. Macon
      36. Mrs. Dean C. Osborne
      37. Hon. Jaime Velez Perez
      38. Dr. and Mrs. Arthur Upham Pope
      39. Mr. and Mrs. Frederic B. Pratt
      40. Mrs. John S. Roberts
      41. Miss Catherine Recknagel
      42. Mr. and Mrs. Hardinge Scholl
      43. Mrs. Elma Schniewind
      44. Dr. Nina Schall
      45. Mrs. Gilliford B. Sweeney
      46. Miss Arrietta Smith
      47. Mr. and Mrs. Charles A. Soper
      48. Mr. and Mrs. T. Conrado Traverso
      49. Mr. Thornton C. Thayer
      50. Mr. and Mrs. Hollis K. Thayer
      51. Mrs. Tracy Voorhoes
      52. Mrs. John Weinstein
      53. Dr. and Mrs. Edwin G. Warner
      54. Hon. F. Pardo de Zela

      Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1939. 04-07/1939, 128. View Original

    • Date unknown, approximately 1939: The principal exhibition during the World’s Fair period at the Brooklyn Museum will be “Popular Art in America” (covering the late 18th and early 19th Centuries) which will open to the public May 18th after an invitation preview Wednesday night May 17. To continue until October 1. It can be seen by critics and reviewers beginning Monday, May 15th. Catalogues and an ample supply of photographs will be on hand then.

      This collection, made up mostly of loans, will not be simply another folk art exhibition although it will necessarily have some objects in that category as they were examples of popular art.

      In the Foreward to the Catalogue Mr. John M. Graham III, the assistant curator of the American Rooms, remarks that popular art, which overlaps and is closely related to folk art, has not been extensively shown. He defines popular art as one which, regardless of who produced it, whether skilled or unskilled craftsman, was intended to appeal to the great majority of people. In other words, it is unsophisticated art for the average man and woman. “Advertisements, valentines, and many of the ceramics, exemplify this kind of popular art; for, although they were made by relatively specialized and highly skilled craftsmen, their consumption was essentially popular."

      The exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum is arranged to present characteristic examples as well as the best ones available from an aesthetic view point. The period most amply represented is the first half of the 19th century with a few objects from the late 18th century. The field of oil painting is not included as it has been the subject of so many past and current exhibitions.

      Among the objects shown which fit most neatly the definition of “popular art” as given above and in contradistinction to “folk art” are the cigar store figures, the wood portraits of famous Americans, -the lawn sculpture of iron which came out like a rash In the gardens of prosperous citizens in the mid 19th century, the hitching posts, the weather vanes, the stoves, toys, penny banks, pottery, valentines, advertisements, and prints.

      The examples of fractur drawings, samplers, mourning pictures, paintings on velvet and glass overlap into folk art or art that was practiced widely by people for their own enjoyment.

      Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1939. 04-07/1939, 116. View Original

    • Date unknown, approximately 1939: This is simply to remind you, in case you have not already seen them, there are two exhibitions only recently opened that you may want to cover when you are seeing the “Popular Art in America” show. They are: Mrs. Dwight Morrow’s Collection of Mexican Beadwork, first floor gallery, just off the Main Entrance Hall and “World’s Fairs’ of Yesterday”, second floor off the Main Entrance Hall.

      There will be beaded work photographs available at the Information-Sales Desk. There is no catalogue for this exhibition but one of the publicity releases covers the show rather thoroughly. A supply will be on hand also. There are no photographs or catalogue for the “World’s Fairs of Yesterday” Exhibition. However, we can fill special requests for photographs which we can deliver within 36 hours or less.

      Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1939. 04-07/1939, 120. View Original

    • May 18, 1939: The Brooklyn Museum’s principal summer exhibition, “Popular Art in America” was opened last night (Wednesday, April 17th) with a private preview attended by over 400 guests of the President and Trustees of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences (attendance based on acceptances received for the purpose of receiving tickets), The exhibition opens to the public today (Thursday, May 18th) and will continue through October 1, free daily except Monday and Friday. It is being shown In the Gallery of Special Exhibitions off the Main Entrance Hall.

      Folk art is included, but the exhibition goes beyond the increasingly familiar paintings on velvet and fractur drawings done by people for their own satisfaction and entirely omits oil painting. This allows the extensive inclusion of objects made in the late 18th and 19th Centuries that were designed to appeal to and be used by the great majority of people. This covers highly decorated firemen’s hats and fire buckets, cigar store Indians and other figures, merry-go-round animals, lawn sculpture such as deers, dogs and hitching posts, weathervanes, firebacks, toys, penny banks, valentines, advertisements and prints, among other classifications. The exhibition was organized by John M. Graham III, Assistant Curator of American Rooms.

      Among the exceptional objects are a penny bank composed of Teddy Roosevelt taking a shot at a bear whose head appears in a tree trunk; a cigar store figure In the costume of a bandmaster with a very small waist, sweeping moustachios, and a long black “coffin nails” cigarette in his mouth; a camel, a deer, two running roosters, and a giraffe, a Noah’s ark with an almost complete set of animals.

      Lenders to the exhibition are:
      Miss Mary Allis
      Mr. Joel D. Barber
      Bookshop of Harry Stone
      Mrs. Theodore Bernstein
      Miss Tina Baumstone
      Mrs. Maurice Brix
      Mr. Holger Cahill
      Dr. Arthur E. Corby
      Mr. John Conover
      Mr. Arthur W. Clement
      Mrs. Henry T. Curtiss
      American Folk Art Gallery
      Empire Exchange, Inc
      Mrs. Juliana Force
      Miss Ethel Frankau
      Mr. George G. Frelinghuysen, Jr
      Mrs. John W. Garrett
      Mrs. Samuel T. Gilford
      Ginsburg & Levy, Inc.
      Mr. H. J. Halle
      Mrs. Edith Gregor Halpert
      Mrs. J. Amory Haskell
      Mr. Sumner Healy
      Mrs. DeWitt C. Howe
      Jack & Charlie’s “21”
      Mrs. George S. Kaufman
      Mr. J. R. Macon
      Mr. Paul Mellon
      Mrs. David M. Milton
      Miss Catherience McAuliffe
      Mr. George S. McKearin
      Mrs. Marguerite Morgentime
      Mrs. Paul Moore
      Metropolitan Museum of Art
      New York Historical Society
      Mr. Arthur J. Sussel
      Seaman’s Bank for Savings
      S. N. Thompson, Inc.
      Mrs. Dudley E. Waters
      Webster Eisenlohr, Inc.

      Prints and Drawings
      Kennedy & Co.
      Norcross Publishing Co.
      Old Print Exchange
      Old Print Shop

      For the first time the newly formed Women’s Committee of the Brooklyn Museum, organized to act as hostesses for important openings, received the guests. The reception was held in the large main entrance hall, on which the Gallery of Special Exhibitions opens. The Committee is composed of:

      Mr. Edward C. Blum
      Mrs. Egbert Guernsey Brown
      Mrs. Robert Huse Brown
      Mrs. Oliver G. Carter
      Mrs. Gordon W. Colton
      Mrs. Augustus W. Comstock
      Mrs. James N. Currie
      Mrs. Henry J. Davenport
      Mrs. R. Edson Doolittle
      Mrs. Louis H. Emerson
      Mrs. Elizabeth L. Glass
      Mrs. Charles H. Goodrich
      Mrs. George Hills Iler
      Mrs. Palmer H. Jadwin
      Mrs. William C. Knoll
      Mrs. Edward W. Macy
      Mrs. E. G. Martin
      Mrs. Alfred E. Mudge
      Miss Julia King
      Mrs. John S. Roberts
      Mrs. Charles A Siper
      Miss Arietta Smith
      Mrs. Gilliford B. Sweeney
      Mrs. Hollis K. Thayer
      Mrs. John Weinstein

      There is also a Program Committee of four made up of Miss Alice Recknagel, Mrs. Duffleld Hamilton, Mrs. Warren Blossom and Miss Julia Blossom, all members of the Junior League of Brooklyn.

      The Members of the Program Committee were in costumes, from the Collection, of dates appropriate to the period covered by the “Popular Art” exhibition and by a special exhibition of costumes put on view in the Balcony Gallery showing women’s and children’s summer costumes for morning, afternoon and sports wear from 1830 to 1895.

      As part of the program Miss Bernice Kamelur, soprano, presented popular songs of the 19th Century in costumes of the period. She was accompanied on the piano by Elsa Siedler, also in costume.

      Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1939. 04-07/1939, 124-6. View Original 1 . View Original 2 . View Original 3

    • May 18, 1939: The exhibition “Popular Art in America” can be seen by critics and reviewers beginning Monday morning, May 15th. There will be an invitation preview Wednesday night, May 17th. Open to the public Thursday, May 18th. To continue through October 1.

      Catalogues and Photographs
      Press catalogues and a good supply of photographs will be available on request at the Information-Sales Desk just next to the Special Exhibition Gallery, where this exhibition is installed, off the entrance hall of the Museum.

      The catalogue for this exhibition is not compiled by numbered items but by a brief discussion of each division of the subject.

      If photographs of objects not already taken by the Museum are wanted, please request them through the Information Desk. Prints can be in your hands in 36 hours if not slightly earlier.

      Curator in charge of the Exhibition
      Mr. John M. Graham, III, Assistant Curator of American Rooms, is responsible for the exhibition and has arranged to be in the Museum on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to answer any inquiries that may arise. He can be reamed by phoning from the Information Desk.

      Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1939. 04-07/1939, 130. View Original

    • Date unknown, approximately 1939: LIST FOR HANDY CHECKING BY TELEPHONE, IF DESIRED, OF GUESTS WHO WERE AT OPENING OF BROOKLYN MUSEUM "POPULAR ART IN AMERICA EXHIBITION" PRIVATE PREVIEW, WEDNESDAY EVENING 6:30, MAY 17TH

      1. Dr. and Mrs. Samuel P. Bailey
      2. Mr. and Mrs. Edward C. Blum
      3. Mrs. Egbert Guernry Brown
      4. Mrs. F.W. Blossom
      5. Miss Julia Blossom
      6. Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Blum
      7. Mrs. Robert Huse Brown
      8. Mr. Walter H. Crittenden
      9. Mr. Leonard Cox
      10. Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Colton
      11. Mr. Arthur W. Clement
      12. Dr. Arthur E. Corby
      13. James N. Currie
      14. Mr. and Mrs. Chester Dale
      15. Mr. Joseph Downs
      16. Lucille Fawcett
      17. Mr. and Mrs. Lewis W. Francis
      18. Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Frazier
      19. Mr. and Mrs. A Genger Goodyear
      20. Miss Anne Goldwaithe
      21. Mrs. William H. Good was late
      22. Judge and Mrs. Edwin L. Garwin
      23. Mrs. Walter Gibb
      24. Mrs. I. W. Gasque
      25. Mr. and Mrs. J. Monroe Hewlett
      26. Mr. and Mrs. Walter Hamitt
      27. Miss Malvina Hoffman
      28. Dr. and Mrs. E. P. Huff
      29. Mrs. Sidney Janis
      30. Mrs. William C. Knoll
      31. Mrs. Bella C. Landauer
      32. Miss Hilda Loines
      33. Mr. Thomas D. Mabry, Jr.
      34. Mr. and Mrs. Henry Allen Moe
      35. Mr. and Mrs. J.R. Macon
      36. Mrs. Dean C. Osbourne
      37. Hon. Jaime Velez Perez
      38. Dr. and Mrs. Arthur Upham Pope
      39. Mr. and Mrs. Frederic B. Pratt
      40. Mrs. John S. Roberts
      41. Miss Catherine Recknagel
      42. Mr. and Mrs. Hardinge Scholl
      43. Mrs. Elma Schniewind
      44. Dr. Nina Schall
      45. Mrs. Gilliford Sweeney
      46. Miss Arrietta Smith
      47. Mr. and Mrs. Charles A. Soper
      48. Mr. and Mrs. T. Conrado Traverso
      49. Mr. Thornton C. Thayer
      50. Mr. and Mrs. Hollis K. Thayer
      51. Mrs. Tracy Voorhees
      52. Mr. John Weinstein
      53. Dr. and Mrs. Edwin G. Warner
      54. Hon. F. Pardo de Zela

      Additions to the Selected List of Guests who attended opening of Popular Art in America Exhibition Wednesday evening at the Brooklyn Museum:

      Mr. and Mrs. Joel D. Barbour
      Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Baery
      Judge and Mrs. Philip A. Brennan
      Mrs. Louis Carre
      Mr. Nathaniel Pousette Dart
      Mr. R. Edson Doolittle
      Mr. and Mrs. William Llyod Garrison III
      Mr. Walter Gibb
      Mrs. Charles M. Higgins
      Mr. Tracy Higgins
      Mr. and Mrs. Robert McKeon
      Mr. Abraham Martiner
      Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Mudge
      Dr. and Mrs. Theodore Peterson
      Mr. and Mrs. Laurance P. Robets.
      Mr. and Mrs. Charles E. Rogers, Jr.
      Mrs. John J. Schoonhoven
      Rev. and Mrs. Simmons
      Mr. Paul Tilling hast
      Mrs. William Van Alen
      Mr. Heintz Thorner of the Corman Consulate

      Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1939. 04-07/1939, 133-5. View Original 1 . View Original 2 . View Original 3

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    Recent Comments

    "Hi Aimee, I think you mean Oreet Ashery? More information can be found in her profile on the Feminist Art Base: http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/eascfa/feminist_art_base/gallery/oreet_ashery.php?i=266"
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    The Brooklyn Museum Archives maintains a collection of historical press releases. Many of these have been scanned and made available on our Web site. The releases range from brief announcements to extensive articles; images of the original releases have been included for your reference. Please note that all the original typographical elements, including occasional errors, have been retained. Releases may also contain errors as a result of the scanning process. We welcome your feedback about corrections.
    For select exhibitions, we have made available some or all of the informative text panels written by the curator or organizer. Called "didactics," these panels are presented to the public during the exhibition's run, and we reproduce them here for your reference and archival interest. Please note that any illustrations on the original didactics have not been retained, and that the text may contain errors as a result of the scanning process. We welcome your feedback about corrections.
    For select exhibitions, we have made available some or all of the objects from the Brooklyn Museum collection that were in the installation. These objects are listed here for your reference and archival interest, but the list may be incomplete and does not contain objects owned by other institutions or lenders.
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