Through a new partnership with Art Bridges the Michener Art Museum is advancing the history of American art by mounting Edward Steichen’s rarely seen suite of seven large-scale murals, In Exaltation of Flowers (1910-1914), alongside the permanent installation of a keystone in the Museum collection—Daniel Garber’s A Wooded Watershed (1926).

This special installation builds on new scholarship that has emerged from the Michener in recent years through cross-institutional relationships designed to widen the lens and perspectives of artists working in the Delaware Valley by placing them in context with key innovators from around the country. Creating an immersive mural installation with compelling contrasts, the Michener aims to provide visitors with a unique cultural learning opportunity that sheds new light on two major, rare, large-scale works by distinct, significant American artists.

Bridging Two American Muralists allows visitors to see how artists engaged with their environment to present their own viewpoints—Garber’s work, representing the idealized depiction of the Delaware River with its native plantings and geography, is juxtaposed with Steichen’s work, a symbolic painting utilizing nature and flowers that he cultivated as the basis and inspiration for its composition. Nature has informed these two artists in their own unique ways; yet, while they each employ a distinct vision, they are grounded in the American art tradition of using natural elements as inspirations in their work.

An accompanying school-based initiative and standardized curriculum, A River Runs Through Art: A Catalyst for Change, will engage 300 youth in mural-making projects and Museum field trips that encapsulate the theme of nature throughout the exhibition.

The Michener is delighted to partner with Art Bridges for this special installation. Established in 2017 by arts patron and philanthropist Alice Walton, Arts Bridges, Inc., aims to facilitate new thinking within the museum world, by enabling the development of collaborative exhibitions and collection sharing initiatives—across institutions of all sizes and geographic regions—that create dynamic new scholarship and exciting visitor experiences of American art.

This installation is made possible through Art Bridges, Inc.

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