Current & Future

July – November 1, 2020 | BOWMAN GALLERY

Seldom Seen

Mural of the Dance

Wladyslaw Teodor Benda (American, 1873-1948)
Mural of the Dance
Oil on canvas
Collection of Museum of Fine Arts-Washington County
Gift of Mrs. W.T. Benda, 1961

Drawn from the WCMFA’s permanent collection, Seldom Seen features works of art from European, American, and world cultures that have not been frequently exhibited in the Museum’s history. New research will reveal untold and intriguing stories about these works in relation to their cultural and historical contexts. This exhibition focuses on works produced in a wide variety of media and that range in date from antiquity to the present. Highlights include an Egyptian ushabti figure, Chinese temple bells and devotional objects, a Winslow Homer etching, Japanese woodblock prints (Ukiyo-e) and decorative arts, medieval manuscript pages, a Wladyslaw Benda mural, and a Yupik mask.

Sponsored by: Dr. Kevin T. Murray; Jamison Door Company

September 13, 2020 – January 10, 2021 | GROH GALLERY

The World of Jan Brett

snowy nap

Over 70 original paintings from bestselling books set the theme of the exhibit and take you on a journey around the world to learn about the places and cultures from which Jan Brett gets her inspiration. From tropical rainforests to Arctic igloos, your imagination will fly away into The World of Jan Brett. The World of Jan Brett is presented by the Oshkosh Public Museum (WI) in partnership with Jan Brett.

November 8, 2020 – January 24, 2021 | BOWMAN AND BAER GALLERIES

The Dutch Golden Age: Prints by Rembrandt and his Contemporaries

1962.2.1 HIGH RES cropped jpeg

Rembrandt (Dutch, 1606 – 1669), The Annunciation to the Shepherds, 1632, etching, Gift, Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Goodman, Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania

During the Dutch Golden Age the arts flourished—many artists who are now household names, including Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669), worked during this period, when a growing middle-class became more able to afford material goods, including art. After the Protestant Reformation (1517) secular subjects became more common in Protestant areas, and landscapes, portraits, and scenes of daily life became popular as a new class of collectors brought artworks into their homes. Prints are part of this story—allowing for popular images to be reproduced in quantity and for a wide audience.

This exhibition of more than 60 works illuminates this exciting period and tells the story of prints in Holland during the 1600s, considered one of the most innovative periods in the history of printmaking. Rembrandt, one of the greatest artists to have worked with etching, is known for his experimental approach, exploiting the ability to alter plates and reproduce images. Seven prints by Rembrandt are featured, along with a works by his precursors, peers, and followers, including Hendrick Goltzius, Jan Lievens, Adriaen van Ostade, Nicolaes Berchem, Carel Dujardin, Adriaen van de Velde, and Anthonie Waterloo. The variety of images—from landscapes, to peasant scenes, to complex parables—rewards close looking and provides a fascinating look at the technique of printmaking and the Golden Age of Holland. This exhibition is organized by the Reading Public Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania.


The Secret Paris of the 1930s: Vintage Photographs by Brassaï

Early 20th century Paris was the setting for one of the great flowerings that have periodically punctuated the history of photography. As with painting and sculpture, ambitious young photographers from around the world flocked to between-the-wars Paris, where they formed a fertile artistic milieu. Among them was Brassaï (Gyula Halász, 1899-1984), whose evocative, inky-black, and very rare, vintage photographs of night-time Paris are assembled into this exhibition.
After attending art school in Berlin, Brassaï moved to Paris in 1924, and stayed for good. Born Gyula Halász, he adopted the nom de plume Brassaï from his birthplace, Brasso, a Hungarian (now Romanian) town in the Transylvanian region. A gifted sculptor and sketch artist, he learned the technical aspects of photography from his fellow Hungarian-in-Paris André Kertész, but the two artists’ subject matter could not have been more different. In contrast to Kertész’s cool compositions and meticulous still lifes, Brassaï focused on Paris’s crepuscular demimonde, which he explored compulsively from the first moment of his arrival. Sometimes alone, sometimes accompanied by friends like the writers Henry Miller or Jacques Prévert, Brassaï witnessed aspects of Parisian night life that the cerebral Kertész would never imagine.
The vintage prints on display are drawn from the private collection of Michael Mattis and Judith Hochberg.

Photographs copyright by the Brassaï Estate. All works are from the collection of Michael Mattis and Judith Hochberg. This exhibition was organized by art2art Circulating Exhibitions.

Sponsored in part by: Waltersdorf Family; Mr. Louis Kawaja.


Ashcan to Abstraction: Modernism in America

0_kersteinOrganized by Guest Curator Hollis Koons McCullough, Ashcan to Abstraction: Modernism in America, explores key movements and styles in American painting and sculpture from 1900 to the present, including the Eight, Social Realism, abstraction, Abstract Expressionism, and Minimalism. As this exhibition demonstrates, American artists began to respond to the social realities of a new era beginning around 1900. Inspired by the charismatic artist and teacher Robert Henri, a loosely affiliated group of artists known as the Eight began to portray unvarnished depictions of urban life. This circle, which included Robert Henri, George Luks, William Glackens, John Sloan, Arthur B. Davies, and George Bellows, among others, ushered in a new era of authenticity in American art. During the Depression era of the 1930s, the federal government, under the auspices of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, hired artists to produce Social Realist murals and artworks for public buildings under the Works Progress Administration (WPA).

Following World War II, however, American artists began to challenge the status quo, artistically and culturally. Rejecting centuries of academic training, many abandoned realism and turned to abstraction. The development of Abstract Expressionism was a watershed moment in American art. The last quarter of the twentieth century witnessed a diversity of stylistic trends, from variations on abstraction including Color Field Painting and Minimalism, to the return of figurative imagery in movements like Photorealism. Some of the major artists involved with these trends included Norman Rockwell, Philip Guston, Louise Nevelson, Gene Davis, Grace Hartigan, Robert Goodnough, and Herman Maril. In support of this exhibition and gallery refurbishment, the WCMFA was awarded grants from the Henry Luce Foundation, local foundations, and private contributors.

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Sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Robert M. Kerstein, The Nora Roberts Foundation,  The Henry Luce Foundation, and the Washington County Gaming Commission.


European Narratives: From Medieval to Baroque

Mazone, Giovanni, Saints Mary Magdalene and Paul

Works of art by the Old Masters form an integral part of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts’ collection. Since 1941, the Museum has actively acquired European art from the medieval to baroque periods. Through the vision of the WCMFA’s leaders and staff and the generosity of its donors, the important legacy of building such a collection for the edification and enjoyment of the public continues. In acknowledgment of the collection’s importance, the Museum received two Samuel H. Kress Foundation Curatorial Fellowship Grants from 2006–2009 that promoted research on its Old Master holdings. These awards and subsequent curatorial research have enabled the WCMFA to devote resources to studying these works and their history, thereby providing the public with a greater understanding and appreciation of their significance.

European Narratives: From Medieval to Baroque examines major trends in European painting, sculpture, and decorative art from approximately 1350–1750 in relation to their broad historical and cultural contexts. This exhibition focuses on religious subjects and portraits from the medieval, Renaissance, and baroque periods produced in Italy, France, the Low Countries, England, and Spain. Key themes of the exhibition include biblical narratives, political and social history of the European nation-states, the Catholic Counter-Reformation, and allegory. This exhibition features works by artists such as Giovanni Mazone, Timoteo Viti, Gerolamo Bassano, Battista Zelotti, Pierre Mignard, and Godfried Schalcken.

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American Narratives:1700-1920

0_smithThis exhibition explores the arts of America over the course of three centuries in relation to various historical events and cultural innovations. Curated by Daniel Fulco, Ph.D., the Museum’s Agnita M. Stine Schreiber Curator, American Narratives: 1700-1920 examines the creative expression of its diverse peoples. A nation, society, and culture that have been shaped by both immigrants and Native Americans, the artworks on view are derived primarily from the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts’ collection and are combined with selected loans from other cultural institutions. Thematic groupings in this and adjoining galleries feature historical subjects, portraits, and landscapes ranging in date from 1770–1920. Some of the major subjects and themes of the exhibition include the colonial period and the American Revolution, the Federal era, the Civil War, and Reconstruction through World War I. American Narratives features works by artists such as Benjamin West, Charles Wilson Peale, Sarah Miriam Peale, Edward Hicks, Asher B. Durand, Frederic Church, Thomas Birch, Thomas Moran, William Merritt Chase, and Charles Ethan Porter. In support of this exhibition and the American art galleries refurbishment, the WCMFA was awarded grants from the Henry Luce Foundation, the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, the Maryland Historic Trust, local foundations, and private contributors.

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Singer Collection

rodinThe Singer Memorial Gallery was established in 1949 by the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts’ founder, Hagerstown native Anna Brugh Singer (1873–1962), as a tribute to her husband, the artist William Henry Singer Jr. (1868–1943), son of a Pittsburgh steel magnate. For most of their adult lives, the Singers lived abroad in the Netherlands and Norway. William Singer was a landscape painter, best known for his impressionistic portrayals of the dramatic Norwegian countryside. Anna Singer shared her husband’s passion for art, and together they assembled a noteworthy personal collection with strengths in American impressionism, Hague School works, nineteenth-century French paintings and sculpture, and decorative arts and furniture from Europe and Asia. As their tastes broadened, the Singers expanded their holdings to include outstanding works by 19th-century French artists ranging from Barbizon School painters such as Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot to Realist Gustave Courbet and sculptor Auguste Rodin. Anna Singer eventually donated a significant portion of their collection to the museum she and William had founded in 1931, the Museum.

Organized by Guest Curator Hollis McCullough, this exhibition highlights the Singers’ diverse collection and conveys the story of their lives as American expatriates and art collectors, while presenting compelling and significant works reflecting American, Dutch, and French trends of the late nineteenth-century. It is both a testament to their personal tastes and times, and an enduring gift to the city of Hagerstown, Anna’s beloved hometown. In support of this exhibition and gallery refurbishment, the WCMFA was awarded grants from the Alice Virginia and David W. Fletcher Foundation, the Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust, and the Nora Roberts Foundation.

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Art of World Cultures & Decorative Arts

4441_09.0902This gallery presents a selection of art objects produced by peoples of the Americas, West Africa, India, Iran, China, and Japan. This installation also features a selection of American and European decorative arts including Tiffany and Steuben glass, Meissen Porcelain, Redware pottery, and Wedgewood ceramics.


Art Glass

2017.3.3 (1)This exhibition explores a century art glass production in France, Austria, Italy, and America from the 1880s–the mid-1950s. Drawing upon the WCMFA’s holdings of Tiffany, Loetz, Gallé, Lalique, Daum, Steuben, and Bellotto objects, Art Glass surveys a range of styles including the Aesthetic Movement, Art Nouveau, the Vienna Secession, and Art Deco.




For more information about the Museum’s exhibitions, please call 301-739-5727 or email