For Final Friday, the Wichita Art Museum is hosting a special event tied to “The Tides of Provincetown,” an exhibition of 116 two- and three-dimensional works of art produced in the tucked-away Massachusetts seaside community during the past 120 years.
The New England town on the tip of Cape Cod attracted some of the most dynamic and recognizable names in 20th century art. Works by Jackson Pollock, Milton Avery and Andy Warhol are included in the exhibition
“The diversity of the works is astounding,” said Stephen Gleissner, the museum’s chief curator.
For Friday’s Final Friday Cape Cod-themed reception, Models and Images models will be modeling beachwear, and the museum’s Muse restaurant will serve a coastal-themed dinner.
Provincetown was a working-class fishing village until artists began to invade the town in the 1890s, Gleissner said.
“The area quickly became a haven for artists due to its isolated setting and beautiful light,” he said. Artists came from across the country to study with established art teachers.
“During World War I, so many of the American artists who had been living and working in the art colonies of Paris and Germany were forced to come home to the States and really wanted to settle in a place with a serious concentration on art,” Gleissner said. “This is how Provincetown and areas such as Greenwich Village in New York became very established as artistic centers.”
This exhibition features many of these early paintings by the first teachers, as well as their students, and highlights the works of major instructors through the years. One of the most renowned of these is Hans Hofmann, who rose to fame with his bold and colorful abstract expressionist paintings. Hofmann opened an art school in Provincetown in 1935 and divided his time between New York and the seaside village, teaching and inspiring some of the most prolific artists of the 20th century.
“Hofmann really brought very groundbreaking and abstract principles to American artists,” Gleissner said.
“There are so many incredible artists represented in this exhibit,” he said. “In the early years, an artist named B.J.O. Nordfeldt was in Provincetown. Nordfeldt’s style was that of modernism, and he used bold and expressive lines throughout his works. Nordfeldt had connections to Wichita and taught very early on at the Wichita Art Association (now Wichita Center for the Arts).”
The exhibition represents some artists already in the museum’s permanent collection, Gleissner said, including Marsden Hartley and Helen Frankenthaler.
“Visitors will also have the special opportunity to see major works of artists who are not in our collection, such as Robert Motherwell and Mark Rothko,” he said.