The opening reception will be September 5 at 3:30p.m. and the exhibit will be displayed in the Kinetic Gallery until September 26. According to the Livingston Arts Council, the paintings were commissioned by President Theodore Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration in order to allow the artists to continue painting while also earning a living.
“We have over 200 New Deal paintings,” said Livingston Arts Director Chris Norton. “With this selection, we wanted to try to give a good overview of the many different styles and varied subject matter of our New Deal collection.”
The paintings are representative of life in America during the 1930’s and 40’s and are the result of the largest government funded art project America has ever seen.
According to the Livingston Arts website, their Murray Hill grounds formerly housed the Mount Morris Tuberculosis Sanatorium, which operated from 1936 until 1971. The sanatorium received the large collection of New Deal easel paintings and displayed them around the hospital to brighten patients’ moods. As a result, the collection displayed in the gallery today contains many uplifting landscapes and still lifes.
The sanatorium’s campus, as well as the large collection of New Deal paintings, became property of the county in 1973.
Some of the artists whose work is represented in the gallery include Inez Abernathy, Fred Adler, John Alger and Thomas Cole. These artists went on to become an important part of the post-World War II artistic movement in the United States.
“There is a lot of feeling and emotion in art that cannot really be conveyed as effectively any other way,” said Chris Nolan.
Many of the paintings in the New Deal collection are still in need of restoration. Livingston Arts runs an Adopt-A-Painting program where individuals can volunteer to put money towards restoring a work of their choice.
For more information visit www.livingstonarts.org.