There is currently a spectacular exhibition at the Allentown Art Museum in Allentown, PA called At the Edge that combines some of the finest contemporary fantastic art with some superb examples of art from the 19th century that is part of the legacy on which the contemporary genre is based, and puts one in context with the other.
This show would be excellent were it simply one group of paintings, but the combination is ground breaking.
Almost 40 of the 160 pieces on display are from before 1940, with an emphasis on the Golden Age of Illustration. The museum’s website mentions some of them, but as is the incomprehensible usual for museum websites, does an appallingly bad job of giving you a sense of what’s actually in the exhibit.
I’ve listed some Lines and Colors posts in the links below for some of the artists included in the show, both historic and contemporary.
Unfortunately my hope of seeing the show and bringing you a first hand report is fading, as the end of the show is fast approaching on September 9, and my overloaded schedule has not abated.
I’m remiss in not telling you about this earlier, but as of this writing you still have week to catch the show.
In lieu of my hoped for personal report, I will recommend an excellent overview of the show by Mathew D. Innis on his always superb blog, Underpaintings.
The report by Innis is actually better and more extensive than an overview I could have provided in the limited space I allow for articles. It includes not only nice reproductions of some of the pieces in the show (click on them for larger versions), but photos of the galleries showing the works hanging in context. Museums should hire people like Innis to write their exhibition previews.
At the Edge is on display at the Allentown Art Museum to Sunday, September 9, 2012.
The Allentown Art Museum is a little over an hour from Philadelphia and less than two hours from New York (Google Map).
Get there if you can.
(Images above: N. C. Wyeth, James Gurney, Edmund Blair Lighton, J.C. Leyendecker, Justin Sweet, Tom Kidd)