June 30, 2017
Lyman Allyn Art Museum
Press Contact: Rebecca Marsie, Communications Associate
860.443.2545 x112 / [email protected]


New London – The Lyman Allyn Art Museum is proud to present Urban Realism in American Art (1890-1940), an exhibition of paintings and works on paper exploring the vitality and vision of American art at the turn of the 20th century.

The exhibition features the impressive collection of Barbara Belgrade alongside objects from the Lyman Allyn’s collection, offering a selection of art that visualizes an era of sweeping change. Urban Realism in American Art (1890-1940) opens on July 8 and runs through September 10, 2017.

A group of realist artists known as the Ashcan school redefined the New York art world in the first decade of the 20th century, rebelling against existing artistic and academic conventions to create an unsentimental vision of modern life. They embraced gritty, working class subjects over the genteel subjects favored by the Impressionists. Fascinated by the influx of immigrants and the vibrant working-class neighborhoods of lower Manhattan, these artists and other contemporaries portrayed the varied and changing world around them.

While artists were interested in skyscrapers and subways, it was the city’s dynamic crowds and human interactions they found most compelling. Observing the dramas, large and small, that occurred around them, artists portrayed throngs of people on the street and at leisure, attending the theater and the circus. More focused narrative images show one or two individuals strolling, shopping, eating, relaxing, working, and interacting in public places. Some of these scenes integrate humor and flirtation, while others show more serious subjects, emphasizing the contrast between rich and poor in art with political and reform-minded goals.

Urban Realism in American Art includes Ashcan artists as well as others who shared an interest in urban realism. A majority of the art in the exhibition focuses on New York City, but several additions serve as reminders that artists elsewhere worked in a similar vein. Prominent artists featured in the show include Robert Henri, William Glackens, Everett Shinn, George Bellows, and John Sloan. The exhibition ends around 1940, reflecting the gradual decline in urban realist art as new and exciting currents in European modernism brought abstraction to the New York art world.

The opening reception will be on Friday, July 7 from 5:00 – 7:00pm. Museum members are free and non-members are $10.  Please RSVP to 860.443.2545 ext. 129.

Programming for the exhibition will include lectures by Barbara Belgrade on July 12 and August 23, 2017. Please RSVP to 860.443.2545 ext. 129.

Check the museum website at and the Museum’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for updates and additional programming.

Tours of the exhibition are available for groups. To schedule tours, call Director of Education, Caitlin Healy at 860.443.2545 ext. 110 or e-mail [email protected].

For more information or to request images, please contact Rebecca Marsie at 860.443.2545, ext. 112 or at [email protected].

About the Lyman Allyn Art Museum
The Lyman Allyn Art Museum welcomes visitors from New London, southeastern Connecticut and all over the world. Established in 1926 by a gift from Harriet Allyn in memory of her seafaring father, the Museum opened the doors of its beautiful neo-classical building surrounded by 12 acres of green space in 1932. Today it presents a number of changing exhibitions each year and houses a fascinating collection of over 17,000 objects from ancient times to the present; artworks from Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe, with particularly strong collections of American paintings, decorative arts and Victorian toys and doll houses.

The museum is located at 625 Williams Street, New London, Connecticut, exit 83 off I-95. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Sundays 1:00 – 5:00 pm; closed Mondays and major holidays. For more information call 860.443.2545, ext. 129 or visit us on Facebook or the web at:

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