The Golden Age of Illustration at the Midwest Museum of American Art

Spotlight exhibitions are intimate in scale featuring only a sampling of artwork defined by a genre’s most prolific artists or the collective interpretation of an idea dispersed through a visual narrative. This type of exhibition is designed to expand on the many chapters of the story of American Art as displayed in the Midwest Museum’s permanent collection. In this case, the Midwest Museum is expanding upon this story with Illustration in the exhibition The Golden Age of Illustration.

This exhibition features the work of American Illustrators who were most active around the turn of the century during America’s Gilded Age. This was an era defined by its excess and lavish consumption, before coming to a close in the 1930s when the nation faced a tumultuous decline in its economic fortune and social wellbeing. Over one hundred years have passed since the dawn of this era dimmed its lights, yet illustration from this period still has the capability of providing one with a chance encounter of yesteryear or a journey of aspiration from the outside looking inward.

While this intimate exhibition highlights few of America’s most accomplished illustrators it certainly presents a commanding tier of those who resonate an instantaneous association with another place and time outside of one’s immediate sphere. This group of American illustrators represented includes Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), N.C. Wyeth (1882-1945), J.C. Leyendecker (1874-1951) and a drawing of a Gibson Girl in the style of Charles Dana Gibson (1867-1944).

In addition a period photograph and books correlating with this exhibition’s theme will also be on display