Coinciding with the arrival from Paris in Roxbury, Connecticut, of sculptor Alexander Calder and his wife Louisa in 1933 and the political climate in Europe, transplanted Parisian artists transformed the state into a Surrealist capital-in-exile. Soon painter Yves Tanguy and his wife, painter Kay Sage, settled in Woodbury, sculptor David Hare lived near the Calders in Roxbury, and Rose and André Masson moved to New Preston.

Significant artists of the Magic Realist mode also lived and worked in Connecticut, including Peter Blume, Pavel Tchelithchew, and Paul Cadmus. French sculptor Louise Bourgeois bought a place in Easton in 1941 and the great painter Arshile Gorky lived in Roxbury. Pioneering Bauhaus architect Marcel Breuer, as well as Philip Johnson and Elliot Noyes, all built innovative houses in New Canaan in the late 1940s. Indeed, for three decades after Calder’s arrival, Connecticut was the beating heart of the modern movement in America. Connecticut Modern: Art, Design and the Avant-Garde, 1930–1960 celebrates this notable period and shines a light on Connecticut’s critical role in 20th-century art and design.

The exhibition is curated by Kenneth E. Silver, Professor of Art History, New York University, who notes, “Connecticut Modern features an extraordinary selection of modern works of art and design by many of the greatest talents of the 20th century, as well as offering what we believe is a surprising and compelling context for their creation.”

Since opening its transformational new building in April 2023, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut, has mounted exceptional exhibitions, including the acclaimed Lois Dodd: Natural Order, the first comprehensive survey of the contemporary artist’s body of work. Connecticut Modern: Art, Design and the Avant-Garde, 1930–1960 intends to continue this trend and includes formative works, some rarely exhibited, from 20th-century greats, including Alexander Calder, Anni and Josef Albers, Helen Frankenthaler, Barbara Chase-Riboud, David Hare, and Walker Evans, among others.

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Connecticut Modern: Art, Design and the Avant-Garde, 1930–1960 is sponsored by Bank of America, Lead Sponsor of the new Bruce, and Lugano Diamonds. Additional support is provided by Hollis Taggart Galleries, New York.