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Lasting Impressions of Pedro de Lemos: The Centennial Exhibition

October 3, 2017 to December 3, 2017


Celebrating the centennial anniversary of the Stanford Art Gallery, the Department of Art & Art History presents Lasting Impressions of Pedro de Lemos: The Centennial Exhibition, on view October 3-December 3, 2017 with a reception on Thursday, October 5, 5-7pm.

Pedro Joseph de Lemos (1882-1954) was the last nationally recognized leader of the American Arts & Crafts Movement.  In 1917 he resigned the directorship of the San Francisco Art Institute to become head of the Stanford University Museum (today’s Cantor Center for Visual Arts) and the Thomas Welton Stanford Art Gallery, positions that he held for almost three decades.  During his tenure he transformed the Art Gallery into one of the most important artistic venues in California by co-hosting major traveling exhibitions from the East Coast and by serving as the curator for over 190 displays of regional artists, forty percent of whom were women painters, printmakers or photographers.  Between 1919-1950 he served as Editor-in-Chief of the School Arts Magazine and in over 250 publications he became a leading figure in art education, design and applied arts.  His simplified methods for printmaking were the accepted curriculum in art classes across North America and Great Britain.  In addition to designing the façades of numerous buildings (including the Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park), sponsoring several art organizations, and reviving American Indian arts through new indigenous schools and popular exhibitions, he displayed his own prints and pastels across the United States, where they received great public acclaim.

With over seventy framed works on paper and a selection of artifacts from a distinguished career this Centennial Exhibition offers a retrospective of one of America’s preeminent artists.  As a devotee of the English Romantic Movement and a student of Arthur Wesley Dow, de Lemos believed that the primary force in “art creation” was Nature, which provided countless examples of line harmony, space composition, and unencumbered design.  In his etchings, aquatints, and color block prints he often abandoned contemporary aesthetics for semi-abstract compositions that were shaped by his theories on the “psychology of color.”  De Lemos’ curious perspectives and juxtaposed forms were partially influenced by Japanese art.  With their haunting tonalities and velvety silhouettes his many night scenes in pastel, which are remarkably similar to works by Odilon Redon, become both mystical and autobiographical poems.  Although most of the works in this exhibition can be dated between 1910 and 1945, they reveal no evidence of a linear stylistic development, but rather a relentless experimentation - Robert W. Edwards. 

This exhibition first opened at the Monterey Museum of Art, April 2015, under the curatorial leadership of Julianne Burton-Carvajal and Robert W. Edwards with the goal of traveling to the Stanford Art Gallery for its centennial exhibition. Image: The Path to the Sea. Courtesy of the Paula and Terry Trotter Collection.

VISITOR INFORMATION: The Stanford Art Gallery is located on Stanford’s campus, off Palm Drive at 419 Lasuen Mall. Visitor parking is free all day on the weekend and after 4pm on weekdays, except by the oval. Alternatively, take the Caltrain to Palo Alto Transit Center and hop on the free Stanford Marguerite Shuttle.

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