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posted: 1/17/2014 2:16 PM

Join group's lecture series on art, artists in Wayne

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Submitted by Fox Valley Community Associates of the Art Institute of Chicago

The Fox Valley Community Associates of the Art Institute of Chicago will present its annual February Study Series lectures Wednesdays Feb. 5, 12 and 26. The first two lectures are at the Dunham Woods Riding Club, Army Trail Road and Dunham Road, Wayne. The series culminates with a day trip to the Art Institute of Chicago and the Palmer House Hilton. Each lecture can be taken individually and must be registered for separately. The registration deadlines are Jan. 19, Feb. 5 and 19 respectively.

The theme of the study series is "Art of the American Scene."

The first lecture on Feb. 5 is titled "Cultivating a Taste for Scenery: American Landscape Painting, Tourism, and National Identity." The lecturer is Patricia Smith Scanlan; she has degrees from the Universities of Notre Dame and Indiana including a Ph.D. in art history with a specialization in 19th and 20th centuries' visual culture. Patricia is an adjunct lecturer at the Art Institute and Terra Foundation, and an art education consultant and a lecturer at the Newberry Library. In the first half of the 19th century, landscape painting assumed a role of tremendous significance in the fabric if American culture. Practitioners of the Hudson River School celebrated the bounty of the national environment just as industrialization threatened its integrity. In this first lecture of the study series, we examine the artists' writings about nature, their working methods and aesthetic strategies, their paintings, understanding the ways in which they drew from, and reacted to, European landscape traditions. Further, we take a look at the ways in which these images shaped and informed ideas about nature, the practice of landscape tourism and the national identity.

The second lecture on Feb. 12 is "Urban Impressions: The Ashcan School" with one of our regular lecturers, Jeff Nigro, an art historian and adjunct lecturer at the Art Institute. In the early 20th century, a group of American artists began to explore the modern urban experience. Later dubbed the "Ashcan School', this informally organized group included artists such as Robert Henri, George Luks, John Sloan, William Gluckens and Everett Shinn among others. Although their styles were very diverse, they shared some common goals: rebelling against traditional academic notions of beauty, celebrating new social opportunities for women, enjoying popular urban entertainments, and probing the excitement and complexity of life in the modern city.

The cost of each lecture is $16 for members and $31 for nonmembers. The cost for lecture and lunch is $36 or $51 for members or nonmembers respectively. Coffee will be served at 10 a.m., the lecture is at 10:30 a.m. and lunch at noon. The reservation deadline for the first lecture is Jan. 29; call Lorna at (847) 741-4925. For the second lecture call Kelly at (630) 208-8019 before Feb. 5.

The series will conclude with a trip to the Art Institute and the Palmer House Hilton on Feb. 26. The title is "The Terra Foundation Collection and the Historic Palmer House Hilton". Together, the collections of the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Art Institute of Chicago make up one of the most extensive presentations of American Art in the country. Since 2005, the Terra Foundation has contributed numerous works of art to the Art Institute's galleries, exhibiting up to 50 paintings at a time for the study and enjoyment of visitors. This lecture takes a close look at the Terra Foundation works at the Art Institute, considering their visual characteristics, historical, and contemporary significance, and the many stories they convey. Then we examine Hudson River School and Ashcan paintings, among others, in the galleries. Our lecturer and tour-guide is Margaret Farr, a lecturer in the Museum Education Department with 25 years experience in art education.

Lunch is at the Lockwood Restaurant in the Palmer House Hilton. After lunch, the resident historian, Ken Price, will lecture on the role of the Palmers with Chicago and the Art Institute. He will then guide a tour of the Palmer House Hilton, including the pastry kitchen where we will sample Bertha Palmer's famous brownies. Ken Price has been the resident historian for 28 years.

The bus departs Batavia at 9 a.m. and will depart for Fox Valley at 3:30 p.m. The cost for the day is $78 for members and $93 for nonmembers. For information and reservations call Audre at (815) 756-2915 before Feb. 19.