In the wake of the economic collapse that triggered the Great Depression, and following his first one-man exhibition at Montross Gallery in New York City, artist and OMAA founder Henry Strater explored 2,000 miles of Southwestern territory before settling in the copper-mining, cattle-raising community of Rimrock, Verde Valley, Arizona. Strater’s winter sojourns between 1931 and 1938 mirrored a growing movement of 19th and 20th century artists exploring the Southwest. Avoiding the popular Southwest art colonies of Santa Fe and Taos, Strater and his Arizona landscapes position him in the context of American moderns who preceded and overlapped his residency. Arthur B. Davies, Edward Curtis, Marsden Hartley, Robert Henri, Georgia O’Keeffe, and John Sloan; as well as modernist writers Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence, and Taos founder Mabel Dodge Luhan withdrew from popular Northeastern art colonies and the New York art scene in favor of Southwestern panoramas.
Titled after Strater’s award-winning seascape, Light Southerly, the installation includes sketchbooks, paintings, and archival materials that interpret Strater’s Southwest within the backdrop of the creative communities that prompted the popularization of the Southwest in the national imagination. The exhibition is organized by the Ogunquit Museum of American Art and includes paintings from the permanent collection as well as private collections.
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