Philly Art Museum puts collection of 20th century art on display

The Philadelphia Museum of Art has a first-of-its-kind new exhibition. Modern Times is the museum's largest and most comprehensive showing of works from the early 20th century.

The exhibition highlights American Art from 1910-1950, an era of new and dynamic visuals.

"Modernism isn't just a stuffy fine arts style but it really influenced the way people lived their lives," exhibition curator Jessica Todd Smith says.

The show includes 160 works-prints, drawings, photographs, furniture, decorative arts, costume and textiles. All are from the museum's permanent collection but some are on view for the first time.

"Some highlights by Georgie O'Keeffe, Marsden Hartley, Arthur Dove," Todd Smith says, "More works by African American artists."

The works are categorized by themes like music, fashion, landscape and society.

"A crowd favorite is Florine Stettheimer's Spring Sale at Bendel's, which is modern painting meeting modern shopping," Todd Smith says.

Philadelphia-born artist Alexander Calder played a significant role in American modernism with his sculpture: The Water Lily.

"In addressing that issue of how do you capture movement in a traditionally static medium, he made sculpture that actually would move," Todd Smith explains.

The exhibition also showcases how life at the time influenced art-from the jitterbug to jazz, prohibition and even beach culture.

"It's a fun show," Todd promises. "This was really an exciting and dynamic the history of our country and I hope that people take away some of that spirit when they come and see the show."

Modern Times is on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through September 3. For tickets and museum hours, visit

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