A Grand Vision: Violet Oakley and the American Renaissance

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Date: 
Saturday, 30 September 2017 to Sunday, 21 January 2018
Opening: 
Saturday, 7 October 2017 - 10:00am

Woodmere Art Museum will present a large-scale exhibition of the work of Violet Oakley (1874–1961), the first in over three decades. The exhibition will focus on the artist’s public commissions, which are rarely seen because of their fixed locations in civic buildings, churches, schools, and private residences. Studies for these commissions, including designs for stained glass windows and mural sketches, will provide an opportunity to see the range of Oakley’s fifty-year career. Curated by Dr. Patricia Likos Ricci, Associate Professor of the History of Art and Director of the Fine Arts Division at Elizabethtown College, the exhibition will document Oakley’s extensive contributions to Philadelphia institutions and the “American Renaissance” revival. The exhibition will highlight the network of artists, architects, designers, and patrons who played a role in bringing Oakley’s work to fruition. 

Oakley was renowned as a muralist, stained glass designer, and illustrator during the American Renaissance, a period of cultural renewal following the Civil War. She achieved international fame as the first woman to be awarded prestigious government commissions for the Pennsylvania State Capitol and the Cuyahoga County Courthouse. In the spirit of civic humanism, she painted murals and portraits, and designed stained glass, altarpieces, book and magazine illustrations, medallions, seals, posters, and pageants that contributed to the artistic life of Philadelphia and the nation. She became the second woman appointed to the faculty of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Later in life, she fashioned a diplomatic role for herself to promote international government and world peace at the League of Nations and the United Nations. 

The exhibition will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with an essay by Dr. Ricci. A series of lectures, gallery talks, and other programming in conjunction with the exhibition will be scheduled for the fall.

Artist ( Description ): 

Violet Oakley

Telephone: 
215-247-0476
Venue ( Address ): 

Woodmere Art Museum

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