Opening April 17
In 1942, as anxiety intensified over the world war, the US government hoped Americans would find inspiration in a farmer. They did. Our Good Earth . . . keep it ours. Buy War Bonds featured a chiseled man standing tall in a wheat field, watchful over the nation’s bounty. Among the most memorable images produced to support the war effort, John Steuart Curry’s picture could be found in American homes as a collectible print—testament to the power of the agrarian idol in the national psyche.
American identity has long been tied to the rural ideal, and the mythic figure of the humble yeoman farmer, credited with taming an unruly nature, was a national icon. Even as the daily lives of most Americans re-centered to the city from the farms, country ways remained a persistent fascination. Rural life represented respite, not the ever-increasing professionalization and industrialization of agriculture. If rural life once symbolized opportunity for Americans of the nineteenth century, it represented a wholesome return to American values in the twentieth.
Through prints, drawings, and photographs drawn from the High’s collection, this exhibition explores the many ways Americans engaged with life beyond the city limits. Works by artists ranging from Winslow Homer to Andrew Wyeth offer varied views of a complex story at times reassuring and at others revealing of the sometimes hard realities of rural life.
THURSDAY, APRIL 29, 6 P.M., ZOOM
Inside the Collection: Stephanie Heydt on Our Good Earth
Explore the High’s exhibition Our Good Earth: Rural Life and American Art with Stephanie Heydt, Margaret and Terry Stent Curator of American Art. The exhibition features a selection of prints, drawings, and photographs from the High’s collection and explores the many ways in which, over the course of a century, Americans imagined and engaged with life beyond the city limits. Heydt will take you through the exhibition, share installation shots, and discuss highlights of the exhibition.
Free for Museum members. Preregistration required for all programs. Please go to high.org for details.