Roberto Matta, Abstraction, 1959–60.

Panel Discussion: Museums and Modernism at Midcentury

March 19, 2015
6p reception, Kemper Art Museum; 6:30p program, Steinberg Auditorium

In 1965 Esquire magazine identified William N. Eisendrath, Jr., then curator at the Washington University Gallery of Art (now the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum), as a tastemaker in the field of contemporary art. This was due, in part, to the vibrant exhibition program he crafted as curator and then director of the Museum from 1960 to 1968. Eisendrath brought a series of vanguard exhibitions of early modernism and post-World War II art to St. Louis and facilitated a number of significant gifts of postwar European and American abstraction to the Museum, greatly advancing the strength of the its permanent collection. This panel will position Eisendrath’s achievements within a broader context, focusing on the history of collecting and exhibiting international modernism at the Museum and two other leading institutions at midcentury, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and The Arts Club of Chicago.


Tracey Bashkoff, senior curator, collections and exhibitions, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Karen K. Butler, associate curator, Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum

Elizabeth C. Childs, Etta and Mark Steinberg Professor of Art History and chair, Department of Art History & Archaeology in Arts & Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis

Paul Durica, Programs Coordinator, The Arts Club of Chicago

Image credit

Roberto Matta, Abstraction, 1959–60. Oil on canvas, 58 x 80". Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis. Gift of Mrs. Mark C. Steinberg, 1967.