American Cornucopia: 19th Century Still Lifes and Studies
4 April – 30 July 1976
Conceived as the Institute's major Bicentennial year exhibition, this show comprised a representative survey of flower and fruit still lifes by American artists. The works, primarily oil paintings, were assembled from private collections and museums from all over the country, including the National Portrait Gallery, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the New York Historical Society and the Hirschl and Adler Galleries in New York. Dr. William Gerdts, professor of art at Brooklyn College and recognized authority on American still life painting, guided the selection of art for the exhibition. On display were 59 major paintings, supplemented by some two dozen other items including drawings, watercolors, hand-colored and chromolithographs and book illustrations. Artists represented included the Peales of Philadelphia, William Michael Harnett, Samuel Marsden Brookes, Martin Johnson Heade, Severin Roesen, Ralph Blakelock and Childe Hassam. The exhibition was supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. A catalogue and poster accompanied the exhibition.