Modern Dialect is an exhibition created from the artwork of John and Susan Horseman’s collection of early American paintings. Their collection is focused on work from 1910-1960, and grew out of their love of American history and of viewing art. From the time their children were very young, visited the Saint Louis Art Museum as a family so the children could experience the artwork for themselves. Through their travels around the country, they discovered the high quality of artwork that exists across all regions of America.
The pieces they collect tend toward social, economic,and political themes, and to the Horsemans, finding pieces to add to their collection is like a treasure hunt – finding the social links to historical moments that resonate as relevantly today as they did when they were painted. In their own words:
“We are students of political, economic, and social history and we’ve learned the country goes through political and economic cycles similar to what is happening today. Art is a great teacher about how our country has responded to historical events, how the nation has dealt with challenges. This exhibition deals with a period of time that includes America’s rise during the teens and twenties, its fall during the Depression, and its transformation into a leader during the postwar era. The exhibition allows visitors, young and old, to see and appreciate history and the lessons that it continues to teach.”
If you were going to assemble a collection of artwork based on a moment in history, what era would you choose?