Wider Horizons: Artistic Travel in the Johnson Collection

TJC Gallery
October 14, 2020 – December 23, 2020

For women artists with connections in the American South, the art capitals of the world beckoned with the promise of opportunity. From New York to Paris, cities filled with museums and galleries, educational prospects, and vibrant creative culture allowed both aspiring and established artists to hone their practice. The works in this exhibition, spanning from the 1800s to modern day and representing an array of locales and artistic movements, are connected by the allure and lasting influence of an artist’s journey.

Many of the artists on view felt the pull of wanderlust throughout their lives and careers, leading to experiences that informed both their techniques and subject matter. Travel was also a way to study with and receive valuable criticism from leading arts professionals of the day. A young South Carolinian of gumption, Blondelle Malone visited the aging painter Claude Monet in 1904 at his home in Giverny, France, bringing with her a wheelbarrow full of her own canvases. Though initially hesitant to welcome Malone, Monet bluntly responded to her meeting request—he quickly warmed to his Southern guest, offering her a critique and welcoming her back to his famous gardens on several occasions.

For women artists of color, pursuing a career overseas offered an escape from discrimination in the United States––both in the North and in the South. Following her graduation from Howard University, Florida-born artist Mildred Thompson was turned down by New York gallerists, advised that she would have more success if a white friend solicited her work. Undeterred, Thompson remained dedicated to her practice, applying for grants to study and teach abroad. Through earned opportunities in Nigeria, Italy, and Germany, Thompson found both academic and commercial support in an environment that encouraged artistic experimentation.

Featuring works by Emma Amos, Beverly Buchanan, Margaret BurroughsAdèle Clark, Josephine Couper, Ida Crawley, Jeanet Dreskin, Colette Heldner, Ella Hergesheimer, Nora Houston, Marie Hull, Anna HuntingtonLoïs Mailou Jones, Gina Knee, Dorothy Kohlhepp, Ida Kohlmeyer, Glenna Latimer, Margaret Law, Blanche Lazzell, Adele Lemm, Blondelle Malone, Anne Nash, Elizabeth Nourse, Clara Parrish, Hattie Saussy, Gladys Smith, Anna Taylor, Mildred Thompson, and Eola WillisWider Horizons is the final presentation of TJC Gallery’s Year of the Woman, an initiative honoring the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage through exhibitions of works by women artists. The exhibition celebrates the tenacity of female trailblazers who inspired generations of future artists and art appreciators to forge their own paths of discovery.

The Johnson Collection would like to thank Converse College student Sarah Murphy, who served as TJC’s fall 2020 intern, for her research and assistance in the development of this exhibition.