A Legacy for Iowa

The first display of art from the UIMA at the Figge Art Museum, A Legacy for Iowa features some of the most important paintings in the UIMA collection. The exhibition explores each painting's distinctive qualities, revealing each work as remarkable in its own right, while also suggesting how the objects and their makers interrelate to create a tapestry of complex and fascinating stories.

The scope of the exhibition spans seventy years of Modern Art, from Lyonel Feininger's 1909 A Street in Paris to Philip Guston's 1979 Ramp. Paintings by Feininger and Alexej von Jawlensky, among others, showcase hallmarks of European Modernism, while wartime works by Max Beckmann, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, Marsden Hartley, and Robert Motherwell tap into the intensely humanistic feelings and internationalism of the period.

Nearly all of the pieces in the exhibition were fully or partially donated to the UIMA, said UIMA Chief Curator Kathleen Edwards, who organized the show. "We chose the word 'legacy' for the exhibition title because it has to do with what the past provides for the future," Edwards said. "We explore both the significance of the individual paintings that are included in the show and how they came to the museum."

Artists continually break the rules—even if the rules were once revolutionary (as was the case with Pollock). Appropriately, one of the last innovations presented in A Legacy for Iowa is Ad Reinhardt's Abstract Painting (1960-1961). The canvas, with its subtle variations in color, represents the artist's reaction against the Abstract Expressionist movement and earlier painters' integration of autobiography in their work; Reinhardt aimed to negate expression and the presence of the artist with his art.

Each of the paintings in the exhibition is an iconic example of visual experimentation, innovation, reformation, and transformation—all themes that reside at the heart of the UIMA's remarkable collections.

This exhibition can be viewed through April, 2015

The UIMA@Figge is sponsored by MidWestOne Bank.