Norbert Heermann, Lady with Red Lips, n.d., courtesy of the New York State Museum, Historic Woodstock Art Colony: Arthur A. Anderson Collection
The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz is proud to present “The Historic Woodstock Art Colony: The Arthur A. Anderson Collection.” The new exhibition features more than 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 New York State Museum in 2017. This exhibition introduces to the public just 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.
"The Historic Woodstock Art Colony: The Arthur A. Anderson Collection" will be on view from Feb. 4 – July 23, 2023, in The Dorsky’s Morgan Anderson Gallery, Howard Greenberg Family Gallery, and Sara Bedrick Gallery. The exhibition was curated by Karen Quinn, Senior Historian/Curator, Art and Culture, at The New York State Museum.
About the Exhibition
Long before the music festival in 1969 made Woodstock, New York, famous, it was home to what is considered America’s first intentionally created, year-round arts colony—founded in 1902 and still thriving more than 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 State Museum.
“We are deeply grateful to Arthur Anderson for his generosity and foresight in donating this exceptional collection to the State Museum,” said Mark Schaming, Deputy Commissioner of Cultural Education and State Museum Director. “The exhibition showcases spectacular artworks by some of New York and America’s influential artists of the 20th century. We are pleased to share this collection with New Yorkers and explore Woodstock’s history as an innovative center of artistic development in New York.”
“Ever since I began spending quality time in the Hudson Valley, I have been enamored with the historic Woodstock Art Colony,” said donor Arthur Anderson. “Over the course of three decades, my collection grew to 1,500 works by 200 artists, with an emphasis on George Bellows and his Woodstock circle. After considering various permanent homes for the collection, it became clear to me that the best place was the New York State Museum. The collection’s new home at the State Museum helps re-introduce the Historic Woodstock Art Colony into the American art canon. It also, I hope, motivates others to donate their treasures for public appreciation and education that express the culture and history of New York State.”
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 craftspeople, 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.
"We're so grateful to our colleagues at the New York State Museum for giving us the opportunity to share this beautiful and fascinating exhibition which illuminates the rich history of art in our very own Ulster County," said Anna Conlan, Neil C. Trager Director at The Dorsky Museum. "It's particularly special because as a friend and champion for more than 20 years, Arthur Anderson has been so instrumental in the story of our Museum. I'm excited to share the breathtaking artwork, recognizable local scenes, and compelling stories of artists in Woodstock who together pushed the boundaries of American art and formed a unique creative community."
”The Historic Woodstock Art Colony: The Arthur A. Anderson Collection” was organized by the New York State Museum where it was on view from November 2018 to December 2019