The Cincinnati Art Museum is one of the premiere venues for the study and enjoyment of American painting, sculpture, drawings and portrait miniatures, reflecting the city’s eminence as an art center in the nineteenth- and early twentieth-centuries. The museum is the institution of record for the masters associated with Cincinnati, including Hiram Powers, Robert S. Duncanson, Frank Duveneck, Henry Mosler, Elizabeth Nourse, John H. Twachtman, Henry Farny, Edward Henry Potthast and Robert Frederick Blum.
The inception of the American Art collection dates from the Cincinnati Art Museum’s founding in 1881. In 1893, the museum instituted its Annual Exhibition of American Art, from which several works were purchased each year. First-rate examples of American Impressionism by Childe Hassam, William Merritt Chase, John Singer Sargent and others thereby entered the collection. With the addition of paintings by such important figures as John Trumbull, Thomas Cole, Winslow Homer, George Inness, Thomas Eakins, Mary Cassatt, Grant Wood and Jacob Lawrence, the museum presents a strong survey of American creativity in painting. The watercolors and drawings collection features a wide range of artists from Duveneck, Nourse and Sargent to John Marin and Charles Burchfield. Excellent in quality, although not as comprehensive, is the representation of American sculpture. The museum is an essential stop for those interested in the art of Hiram Powers and Moses Jacob Ezekiel, in addition to Thomas Ball, Randolph Rodgers, John Quincy Adams Ward and Harriet Whitney Frishmuth.
Cincinnati is fortunate to have one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of portrait miniatures in the United States alongside extensive library holdings to support the study of the art form. America’s most famous practitioners such as William Birch, Edward Greene Malbone, Sarah Goodrich and the Peale family, are accompanied by numerous works by painters rarely found elsewhere.
Dr. Julie Aronson has served as Curator of American Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings at the Cincinnati Art Museum since 1999. Dr. Aronson earned her B.A. in art history from Brandeis University, M.A. from Williams College, and Ph.D. from the University of Delaware. She is the recognized authority on the sculpture of Bessie Potter Vonnoh, the subject of her doctoral dissertation and her touring exhibition and catalogue Bessie Potter Vonnoh: Sculptor of Women (2008). Dr. Aronson’s professional experience includes a position as the assistant curator of American art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, and research posts at the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She has published and lectured on topics ranging from New England folk portraiture to painters and sculptors of the Cincinnati region. Her research on the Cincinnati Impressionist Edward Henry Potthast culminated with the exhibition and publication Eternal Summer: The Art of Edward Henry Potthast (2013). Dr. Aronson has contributed essays to American Naïve Paintings from the National Gallery of Art, The Oxford Dictionary of American Art and other compendia. At the Cincinnati Art Museum, she collaborated with Marjorie E. Wieseman to curate the exhibition Perfect Likeness: European and American Portrait Miniatures from the Cincinnati Art Museum (2006) with its landmark catalogue. Dr. Aronson was on the curatorial team that produced the permanent collection display The Cincinnati Wing: The Story of Art in the Queen City, and edited and co-authored the companion publication.