Advancing American Art
Exhibitions in Eastern Europe, Eastern Asia and Latin America, utilizing a collection of 117 American modernist paintings were planned by the U.S. State Department in 1946, in an effort to demonstrate America’s artistic freedom. The program was quickly halted due to political outcry over the use of taxpayers’ money to fund works that were criticized as “Un-American” based on subject matter, modernist approach, and the melting pot of artists’ backgrounds. The War Assets Administration auctioned the paintings as war surplus in 1948, and Alabama Polytechnic Institute successfully bid on 36 paintings for $1,072. These pieces laid the groundwork for the museum’s future collections and inspired the development of the 1072 Society, a collecting and giving group started in 2008.