Modern American Realism: The Sara Roby Foundation Collection
Championing realism was an assertive act at the moment when critics were celebrating abstract expressionism and promoting "action painting." Sara Roby refused to be bound by current trends, nor was she willing to be constrained by an orthodoxy of her own making. So, along with paintings by Edward Hopper, Paul Cadmus, and other contemporary realists, the Foundation purchased abstract work by Stuart Davis, Louise Nevelson, and Mark Tobey. Roby and her advisors recognized that the beauty and spirituality as well as the tensions of modern life allowed for many kinds of realism. In 1959, an exhibition of the Foundation's collection opened at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. It was the beginning of a twenty-five-year exhibition program that circulated the Foundation's collections to museums throughout the country.
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