Impressions of Youth
Susan Soriente, Curator
September 11, 2014 – January 6, 2015
Impressions of Youth
An Exhibition of prints of children
An Exhibition from the Gladys M. Lux Print Collection
For centuries children were seldom portrayed in artwork and when they were the poses and expressions mirrored adults. The notion of portraying the child as a small severe adult finally gave way in the 19th century to the concept that a child is born innocent of adult faults and social evils. The changing view of children inspired artists across Europe and the United States, and images of children proliferated, resulting in the “child portrait” becoming a distinct genre in Western art. Children now were seen as different from adults and became idealized and subject to romanticization.
Often in the 20th century, artists’ portrayal of a child became social commentary, depicting a wistful nostalgia, society’s hopes and aspirations or a harsh indictment of culture and society. Artists also realized that they could use the portrayal of children to comment on adulthood by presenting images of children engaging in adult behavior. The portrayals of children became complicated by the viewer’s changing attitudes towards childhood, be it their own childhood, their idealized memory of their childhood, or their desire to create a particular type of childhood for their own children.
But sometimes the images of children express simpler concepts; a child in artwork can symbolize innocence, freedom and joy. Childhood is the time when life is beginning to open like a flower and there are unlimited possibilities. Mary Cassatt’s three etchings, Winslow Homer’s wood engraving, See Saw and Lawrence Beall Smith’s lithographs in Impressions of Youth exemplify light hearted moods of innocent carefree childhood. Prints with more serious themes in the exhibition include Manet’s Boy Blowing a Bubble, Stephen Csoka’s Fatherless, Martin Fletcher’s Arab Children and Raphael Soyer’s Boy and Girl.
These and other prints by artists such as Renoir, Jean Charlot and Joseph Hirsch will be exhibited for the first time in Impressions of Youth in the second floor Historical Gallery at the LUX Center for the Arts from September 11, 2014 to January 6, 2015. Workshops with teachers from the Lincoln Public Schools will be held in June and September to study the artwork and prepare a lesson plan for use in conjunction with the exhibition for K-12 teachers.
Susan Soriente, Curator of the Gladys M. Lux Print Collection