American Scene: The Arthur and Marilynn Rosenberg Collection

Exhibits // American Scene: The Arthur and Marilynn Rosenberg Collection

Feb 15 - Mar 31

Overview // When first married and living in Germany as a GI, Arthur Rosenberg and his bride, Marilynn, became interested in art after visiting the great museums of Europe. After returning to the U.S. and settling on Long Island in the mid 1940s, Arthur and Marilynn discovered a group of WPA artists who depicted the daily lives of people living through the Great Depression.

The first acquisition was magical. A meeting with an enthusiastic art dealer on Long Island introduced them to artist Fletcher Martin and his painting, The Black King. This became their first purchase and the most important painting in the collection.

Marilynn was the researcher, doing the legwork and locating the art. Arthur was the art specialist. He had an undeniable esthetic and knew which artworks should be a part of their collection and which they should leave behind. They began to hobnob with art dealers, amassing many catalogues about the WPA era.

It was artists associated with American Scene painting, including Bernard Karfiol, Fletcher Martin, Jerry Farnsworth, Moses Soyer, Joseph Hirsch, Sol Wilson, and Marion Greenwood, that captured the Rosenberg’s imagination. These artists are known for what they chose to depict and for their rejection of Modernist styles. Popular subjects include scenes from everyday life, especially from the viewpoint of the common man — seamstresses, people riding the subway, immigrants and minorities.

Artwork by these painters is now a part of every major art museum collection in the United States.

Details // Gray Wing

In celebration of this noteworthy exhibition, on Sunday, February 17, at 1pm, Arthur and Marilynn Rosenberg, along with Ruta Saliklis, Museum of Art director of exhibitions, will present a lecture about the collection and the collectors’ journey. The lecture will be followed by an opening reception for the exhibition. Free for Museum members, $5 nonmembers.

On Friday, March 1, at 5 pm, there will be a Museum members-only gallery walk of the collection with the Rosenbergs, followed by a public reception from 6–9 pm, in conjunction with Art After Dark.