Many herald the 1913 Armory Show in New York as the dawn of Modernism in America. In fact, American artists—Cleveland artists being no exception—were traveling to Europe and witnessing the modernist movements in person years before this work reached the United States. Cleveland Modernist masters like William Sommer and William Zorach not only both traveled to Europe to study art, but spent time there with each other and other artists, conversing and debating about the new movements they encountered. Culled from numerous private collections, galleries, and institutions, this exhibition will feature a sizeable amassing of some of the most significant Modern paintings by Cleveland artists before 1915, making a significant statement on the vision and virtuosity of the region’s painters and sculptors.
Setting the stage with Cleveland's "Old Bohemians" like F.C. Gottwald, John Semon, and Adam Lehr, the exhibition will then feature work by William Sommer, William Zorach, Marguerite Zorach, August F. Biehle, Jr., Max Kalish, Herman Matzen, Abel Warshawksy, Alexander Warshawsky, Hugo Robus, Henry Keller, and Clara Deike. The exhibition will also include examples of commercial art in Cleveland in the form of lithographic entertainment posters that also followed the modernist trend. Larry Waldman, who curated a Kokoon Club exhibition at the Cleveland Public Library, curated Post-Impressionism in Cleveland and Henry Adams contributed the catalog essay.