The Good Earth
Julian Dupré’s In the Pasture takes center stage in this exhibition that looks at the power of the land—as a source of nourishment as well as a marker of place and history. Typically this popular painting, made in France in 1883, would be contextualized by other genre scenes or examples of realism, but here we have installed it near Ben Shahn’s gouache, Farmers, in which three contemplative men seem stuck in comparison with the capable young woman attempting to pull a cow across a field.
Tony Matelli’s Weed #294 invades the gallery, seemingly having grown up and into the Museum from the outside. This trompe l’oeil sculpture asks us to consider which plants we cherish and how to manage the ones we don’t. Various soil samples collected by Louis Zoellar Bickett at Civil War battlefields and graveyards capture the diverse colors, textures, and emotional charge of historic sites.
Julien Dupré, In the Pasture, 1883, oil on canvas. Collection of the UK Art Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Henry H. Knight, 1958; transferred from the Carnahan Conference Center.
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