The New York State Museum has open a new exhibit, The Historic Woodstock Art Colony: The Arthur A. Anderson Collection.
On display through December 31, 2019, the exhibit features over 100 artworks – including paintings, lithographs, sculpture and works on paper – from the major collection of artwork of the historic Woodstock Art Colony that collector Arthur A. Anderson donated to the State Museum in 2017.
This exhibition introduces to the public for the first time a sample of the highlights of this extraordinary collection, which represents a body of work that together shaped art and culture in New York and forms a history of national and international significance.
Long before the famous music festival in 1969, Woodstock was home to what is considered America’s first intentionally created, year-round arts colony — founded in 1902 and still thriving over 100 years later. Collecting the remarkable range of work produced there was Anderson’s focus for three decades, resulting in the largest comprehensive assemblage of its type. The artists represented in it reflect the diversity of those who came to Woodstock, including Birge Harrison, Konrad Cramer, George Bellows, Eugene Speicher, Peggy Bacon, Rolph Scarlett and Yasuo Kuniyoshi, among many others. Anderson donated his entire collection — some 1,500 objects by almost 200 artists — to the New York State Museum.
The Woodstock story begins in 1902, when Byrdcliffe was established as a year-round artists’ colony focusing on the Arts and Crafts movement. The utopian community drew furniture craftsmen, painters, printmakers, photographers, ceramicists, and other artisans to an environment that emphasized individual work over mass production. In 1906, the Art Students League of New York, one of the country’s most important and progressive art schools, moved its summer school to Woodstock, bringing some 200 students a season to the area. The Woodstock Artists Association was founded in 1919 by artists of differing mindsets but unified in their quest for a centralized exhibition space.
Throughout the 20th century, and now into the 21st century, Woodstock attracted and continues to attract a range of artists working in a variety of media and approaches ranging from realism to abstraction – something that sets Woodstock apart from other art colonies that flourished for a limited time and were centered on a single style.
Photos of select artworks included in the exhibition are available on the Museum’s website.
The State Museum is a program of the New York State Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education. Located at 222 Madison Avenue in Albany, the Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 am to 5 pm. Further information about programs and events can be obtained by calling (518) 474-5877 or visiting the Museum website.
Painting: St. Lawrence River Sunset by Birge Harrison, The Historic Woodstock Arts Colony: Arthur A. Anderson Collection, photo by Eric R. Lapp.