Developed in collaboration with the Terra Foundation for American Art and curated by Terra’s Katherine Bourguignon and the Ashmolean’s director Xa Sturgis, the exhibition will focus for the first time on a specific set of aesthetic characteristics and theoretical questions related to absence, removal, uneasiness, or loneliness in American art during the “roaring” 1920s and the “depression-era” 1930s.

Showcasing significant examples of American art from the early 20th century, some for the very first time in the UK, these works share a smooth, crisp, clean appearance, a cool, impersonal treatment, an apparent detachment; and the evocation of a world in which human beings are superfluous, evacuated, or substituted.

The paintings, prints and photographs range from the early experiments in abstraction by artists like Georgia O’Keeffe, Arthur Dove and Paul Strand to the strict, clean precisionist paintings of Charles Sheeler and Charles Demuth. 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has agreed to support the exhibition with major loans in addition to works from the Terra Collection.

The John Sainsbury Temporary Exhibition Galleries (58, 59, 60, 61)

This event is ticketed. Free entry to members of the Friends and Patrons. 


With the generous support of the Terra Foundation for American Art
Additional support by Mr Barrie & Mrs Deedee Wigmore and Marica & Jan Vilcek