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Demuth, Hartley, Sexuality, and American Modernism

Online / On-Site / Art in Context

Tuesdays, September 21 – October 12, 4 – 6:10pm


Charles Demuth. In Vaudeville: Acrobatic Male Dancer with Top Hat (detail), 1920. BF1199. Public Domain.

$220; members $198
(4 classes; on-site or online)
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Art in Context courses connect works of art to history: What was happening politically, socially, and culturally at the time a piece was made? How did these circumstances shape the artist’s formal choices?

About the Class

Thom Collins, Neubauer Family Executive Director and President of the Barnes, teaches this course on two major figures in American art. Charles Demuth and Marsden Hartley were central to the first wave of American modernism, and members of the circle of artists around photographer and gallerist Alfred Stieglitz. Widely regarded for their compelling formal experimentation, they have been little credited for their efforts to make visible the emergent homosexual subculture of the interwar period. This course explores their careers and art—including important examples from the Barnes collection—against the backdrop of gay and lesbian history and visual culture.

This course takes place at the Barnes in the Comcast NBCUniversal Auditorium, but is also available for online enrollment. All students, whether on-site or remote, will have the opportunity to participate in class discussions.

On-site capacity: 100


Thom Collins

Collins is the Neubauer Family Executive Director and President of the Barnes Foundation. Prior to joining the Barnes, he worked at some of America’s top arts institutions, including the Pérez Art Museum Miami; the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, New York; the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore; and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. A Philadelphia native, Collins studied art history and the history of religion at Swarthmore College and earned an MA in art history at Northwestern University.