October 11, 2013–January 5, 2014
American painter Thomas Sully (1783–1872) had a lifelong connection to and love of the theatre and literature. This exhibition reveals these as critical components of his artistic imagination, celebrating the artist’s unique contribution to the nation’s artistic and cultural life. Through the lens of theater and literature, Sully’s portraits and numerous subject pictures take on a striking coherence, complementing each other and revealing not only the breadth but also the unity of the artist’s career. Organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum, Thomas Sully: Painted Performance brings together approximately eighty works from public and private collections to provide a fresh and more nuanced understanding of one of America’s most accomplished and innovative early painters.
Thomas Sully. Cinderella at the Kitchen Fire. 1843. Oil on canvas. Dallas Museum of Art, gift of the Pauline Allen Gill Foundation, 2005.1