Auburn University maintains the oldest accredited college art department in the Southeast. Highly accomplished faculty chose to engage in art here, notably beginning in the 1920s, and their student instruction proved as inspirational as impactful. Leaving an indelible mark on the creative landscape of Alabama and indeed the nation, their push to acquire the museum’s keystone renowned collection, “Advancing American Art,” in 1948, was particularly significant.
The Artistic Legacy of Alabama Polytechnic Institute features paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, renderings, and decorative arts. They exemplify periods from “the American Scene” during the Great Depression, through domestic rephrasing of European Cubism and Surrealism, and pure abstraction by some of the most influential professors and their students of the Art and Art History Department.
The artists, whose works today can also be seen at national museums around the world and universities across the country, captured modernism and international travel as well as campus and local scenes. Though also reflective of a moment in time when academia was largely dominated by men, Artistic Legacy nevertheless offers a remarkable survey of 20th-century American art and architecture that points to a vanguard awareness in this “village on the plains.”
This exhibition is presented in part with generous support from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Alabama Bicentennial commission, in recognition and celebration of the 200th anniversary of Alabama statehood in 2019.