Vertical Abstraction, Robert Goodnough, 1964

On Display January 31 – May 25, 2024

Reconsideration: Art After the World Wars

The twentieth century was a dynamic period for the art world, a reflection of and reaction to tumultuous global events which left the world in turmoil.  Western artists created new styles of expression to deal with the tragedies of war, economic downturn, and political upheaval that defined their generations. Though still dominated by men, women and members of historically excluded communities began to break barriers, particularly with the rise of the American avant-garde in 1913 and later the Federal Art Project of the WPA. With the onset of World War II, Paris was no longer the center of the Western art world, as scores of artists were forced to flee Europe and many settled in New York City.

Cayuga Museum founding director Walter Long had ties to the New York art world and worked from the beginning to bring a piece of it to Auburn. All of the works in this exhibition are by prominent twentieth century artists who displayed at the Cayuga Museum during Long’s tenure and are part of the permanent collection, many gifted by the artists themselves.    

The exhibition is divided into two periods, Interwar (1918-1939) and Post-War American Art (1945-1970).