Chapman and Keeler Galleries

In 1965, Dr. Jan T. and Marica Vilcek immigrated to the USA. The Vilceks were asked what drew them to collect American art and Marica responded that the final stage of their immigration was embracing the art of the country that they feel has embraced them. This exhibition features 50 works by 15 artists. The Curator of the Vilcek Collection, Emily Schuchardt Navratil, states that the collection reflects the Vilcek’s love for American art and the impact immigrants have on it, with eight of the 28 artists in their collection born outside the USA.
Drawn to depictions of New York, they collected art of the place they have called home for over 50 years and thus images of the city represent an important aspect. George Ault’s View from Brooklyn, 1927, is a scene of deep snow in the foreground followed by a continuous row of dark windows of a factory with distant atmospheric views of the city. Similarly, seven works by Stuart Davis strike a chord between abstraction and realism, depicting the chaos and joy of everyday life in the city using color, shape and pattern to communicate complex space relationships in everyday things.
The Vilcek Collection includes multiple works by each artist as evidenced in Oscar Bluemner’s Sonnet Series, comprised of 11 incredible sketches based on 12 sonnets. Ralston Crawford’s Torn Sign group, images of peeling posters and billboards, is another example, and this subject held his interest for over 30 years. American artists Stanton MacDonald Wright and Morgan Russell in 1912 became the first American avant-garde artists to receive international attention by developing Synchromism, an approach to painting that compared color to music.
Another theme is of the Southwest. The art of Georgia O’Keeffe and Andrew Dasburg highlight the virtues of the Southwest in landscape details and architecture. Tone and form within these subjects are evident today in architecture, as noted in the Art Museum of South Texas building, designed by another master of American Modernism, architect Philip Johnson.