John Rogers: American Stories

Exhibition will travel prior to installation at the New-York Historical Society
Visit the companion website here.

John Rogers: American Stories is the first full retrospective of the most popular American sculptor John Rogers (1829-1904). An astute and tireless maker and marketer of artworks from the beginning of the Civil War to the end of the Gilded Age, Rogers sold more than 80,000 narrative figural groups in plaster, reaching the American public en masse and addressing the issues that most touched their lives. His arresting and memorable subjects included scenes from the front lines and the home front of the Civil War, insightful commentaries on domestic life, and dramatic episodes from the stage and literature. 

John Rogers (1829–1904), Wounded Scout, a Friend in the Swamp, 1864. Bronze. The New-York Historical Society, Purchase, 1936.655

Rogers wished to make his sculptures available and affordable to the widest possible audience. He advertised extensively, established a factory for large-scale production, and took great pains to ship the finished pieces intact to locations all over the country. Often selling for $15 apiece, Rogers’s works became commonplace in the homes of middle- and upper-class Americans in the later nineteenth century, an era when most Americans had little access to works of art, or even serviceable reproductions.

The Folk Art Collection of Elie Nadelman: Making it Modern

The New-York Historical Society is organizing an exciting landmark exhibition culled from its extraordinary trove of over 2,000 folk art objects acquired by the avant-garde sculptor Elie Nadelman (1882–1946) and his wife, Viola Spiess Flannery Nadelman (1878–1962). As the first major examination of Nadelman’s seminal role in folk art collecting, this exhibition will make a significant contribution to the field of folk art studies.
 
Elie Nadelman is widely recognized for his elegant, modernist sculpture. Less familiar is his pioneering folk art collection, an impressive but little-known material legacy that survives at the New-York Historical Society. Influenced by the folk arts of his native Poland and other European countries, Nadelman began collecting after immigrating to New York City in 1914, an activity that accelerated after his marriage in 1919.
 
 

 

Unidentified makers, Milliners’ heads, Mid-19th century. Carved wood, papier-mâché. New-York Historical Society, Purchased from Elie Nadelman, INV.8707, INV.8708, INV.8709

 

The Nadelmans’ acquisitions spanned a wide geographic range and a great variety of media—furniture, sculpture, paintings, ceramics, glass, iron, pewter, drawings, watercolors and household tools. Beginning in 1926, they displayed the collection in their Museum of Folk and Peasant Arts, built on their estate in Riverdale, New York. The first museum in the United States devoted exclusively to folk art, it was also the first in the world to focus on the European origins of American folk art.

Sculpture >

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Highlights >

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The New-York Historical Society Museum and Library houses a treasure trove of materials relating to the founding of our country, the history of art in America, and the history of New York and its people. The Museum houses more than 60,000 works and artifacts, including fine art, decorative art, historical artifacts, and ephemera. Fine art holdings include renowned Hudson River School landscapes; masterpieces of colonial and later portraiture; John James Audubon’s watercolors for The Birds of America; an encyclopedic collection of sculpture; and much more.

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Luce Center >

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The Henry Luce III Center for the Study of American Culture will be closed for renovations from August 31, 2014 through December 2016. Please check back in the fall for details of our exciting new galleries and installations.

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Creative: Tronvig Group