Ferdinand Howald, a
Swiss American engineer from Columbus, quietly and methodically built
one of the finest collections of contemporary art in the country between
1914 and 1934. Shuttling by train between Columbus and New York, after
years of managing coal mines in rural West Virginia, he trusted his
discerning eye and the advice of a leading contemporary dealer in New
York, Charles Daniel, to daringly embrace the best of the innovative art
of his time. His extraordinary vision culminated in the collection that
was to form the core of the newly built Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts
upon his death in 1934. In the same year Gertrude Stein paid a visit to
Columbus and praised the Howald Collection as one of the best in the
In the first two decades of the 20th century the future
status of such current icons of European and American Modernism as
Picasso, Braque, Matisse, Hartley, Demuth, Marin, Dove and Sheeler was
far from secure and certainly not a matter for universal praise in the
relatively conservative Midwestern town of Columbus. But Howald bought
them anyway - sometimes literally by the dozen. It is with Ferdinand
Howald's example in mind and in celebration of his adventuresome spirit
that Tim and I feature this exhibition: Contemporary Cadences: The
Modernist Impulse in American Art, 1911-2011.
the last 30 years Keny Galleries has exhibited, researched and sold the
work of many of the modern masters collected by Howald and some that
were not - namely Georgia O'Keeffe, Oscar Bluemner and Edward
Hopper. Some of these works of art have entered the collections of the
nation's finest museums including the National Gallery of Art, Los
Angeles County Museum of Art, High Museum of Art and the Philadelphia
Museum of Art.
others have been placed in the collections of many of the fine museums
throughout Ohio. Recently the Columbus Museum of Art purchased John
Marin's New York Series, 1927 with our assistance. Tyler Green,
in the Modern Art Notes article of April 2010 stated "The
Columbus Museum of Art has acquired a John Marin watercolor: New York
Series (1927). The acquisition makes Columbus' already strong
collection of early American modernism - and Marin in particular -
even stronger. . . . The Columbus
painting is a superb cubist rendering of one of Marin's favorite
subjects: New York City's skyline. It recalls how an unnamed Time
magazine critic described Marin's watercolors in 1962: '[They] crumple
into fragments, as if each scene he painted has jumped inside a prism.
Everything was recognizable, but everything was also slightly out of
place, tipped or distorted to give a sense of motion.'"
The gallery has chosen to feature in its current exhibition a few of the
outstanding examples it has placed over the years in private and museum
collections and to offer for sale 50 works by innovative American
artists created between 1911 and 2011. The show includes work by artists
active in the Columbus area who have produced modern art of national
caliber. Contemporary Cadences opens October 14 and concludes
November 7. The selection is diverse - from the Urban Realism of George
Bellows to the Social Realism of Edward Hopper, from the Pop art of Roy
Lichtenstein and Wayne Thiebaud to the Abstract Expressionism of Joan
Mitchell and Sam Francis, from the Post modernism of Kara Walker to the
Outsider art of Bill Traylor.
of the objects are on paper and represent
a variety of media from watercolor, lithography, etching,
serigraph, pastel, graphite and photography. Some of America's finest
modernist statements were executed on paper - witness the groundbreaking
watercolors of John Marin, Oscar Bluemner, Charles Demuth and Sam
Francis - the pastels of Joan Mitchell and the original prints of
George Bellows and Roy Lichtenstein.
In 1911 the Ashcan artists were seen as revolutionary artists when they
chose to depict
the gritty underbelly of urban New York. George Bellows from Columbus,
was arguably the greatest artist within the group. Keny Galleries has
organized several exhibitions of Bellows'
work and was a partner in placing the distinguished
Rifkin Collection of Bellows
is lithographs in the Columbus Museum of Art's renowned collection.
One hundred years later we celebrate his outstanding achievements and
spotlight our ongoing interest in Modernist art and Ohio's link to
that challenging form of visual expression.
Selected Modernist works placed
in museum collections by Keny Galleries.
Edna Boies Hopkins, Garden
Flowers, c. 1915, color woodcut
Capital University, Schumacher Gallery, Columbus, Ohio
Romare Bearden, The Street (Composition for Richard Wright), c.
1977 ink on paper
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
William Sommer, Horse Drawn Cart in Thunderstorm, c. 1918, oil on
Springfield Museum of Art, Ohio
John Marin, New York Series, 1927, tempera on paper
Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio
Oscar Bluemner, Poor Farm, 1924, watercolor
Canton Museum of Art, Ohio
George Bellows, A Stag at Sharkey's, lithograph
Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio