Terra Collection Initiative: The Eight and American Modernisms

Frustrated by the art world’s elitism and the snobbish exclusivity of the academy’s juries, eight American painters united in 1908 to upend the establish norms and stage their own exhibition of modernist art. The Eight and American Modernisms showcased the work of these artists, known as The Eight (Arthur B. Davies, William Glackens, Robert Henri, Ernest Lawson, George Luks, Maurice Prendergast, Everett Shinn, and John Sloan) and re-asserted their significance to American modernism in the early twentieth century. Curated by Terra Foundation for American Art curator Elizabeth Kennedy, the works in the exhibition were culled from three partnering institutions: the Milwaukee Art Museum, the New Britain Museum of American Art in Connecticut, and the TFAA. Eight sections, each displaying an individual artist’s works, totaled approximately 70 oil paintings, watercolors, pastels, drawings, and prints. An examination of each artist’s stylistic evolution over decades revealed the under-appreciated complexities of these artists’ work and challenged the accepted wisdom about the evolution of the modernist style.

Dates & Venues

March 6–May 24, 2009
New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, Connecticut, United States

June 6–August 23, 2009
Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

Works of Art from the Terra Foundation Collection


Kennedy, Elizabeth, ed. The Eight and American Modernisms. Chicago: Terra Foundation for American Art; distributed by the University of Chicago Press, 2009.

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