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A Dazzling Array of American Art Masters

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Chicago Tribune


What better place to show off two centuries' of American art than the United States' oldest arts institution?

Philadelphia's Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year with "In Private Hands," a mammoth, just-opened, once-in-a-lifetime exhibition of works - famous and otherwise - by what can simply be called American's greatest collection of artists, representing virtually every school, genre and movement in the history of the country's art.

Among the early canvases is Thomas Cole's iconic landscape "The Falls at Kaaterskill" (1826).

There are Thomas Sully's twin portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Biddle (he of the bank wars with Andrew Jackson).

We find a breathtaking maritime view of Boston harbor by the great maritime painter Fitz Hugh Lane, an Albert Bierstadt landscape of a Wyoming mountain and river, and another of a breaking wave, a James McNeill Whistler portrait of a pensive young girl, a Winslow Homer of a brooding New England mountain and stream, and a Frederic Church of an Indian war party returning to camp on a snowy night.

John Singer Sargent and Celia Beaux shine in this show. Childe Hassam is a highlight, as are American Impressionist works by Theodore Robinson, William Merritt Chase and William Glackens.

The Ash Can School's John Sloan is here, as is colleague George Bellows and George Luks.

Modernists Georgia O'Keeffe, Marsden Hartley and John Marin are represented.

More contemporaneously, it includes Andy Warhol, Andrew Wyeth, Jasper Johns, Richard Diebenkorn and Roy Lichtenstein.

It runs through Jan. 8 at the academy, just north of City Hall at 118 N. Broad St.; telephone 215-972-7600;


On view through Nov. 12 at the L.A. Louver Gallery in Venice, Calif., are two mind-expanding concurrent shows: the human body-part sculptures of Brazilian artist Edgard de Souza and the comic-like landscape drawings of Ken Price.

The gallery is at 45 N. Venice Blvd.; telephone 310-822-4955;


(c) 2005, Chicago Tribune. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service.

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