The James M. Cowan Collection
The Parthenon is pleased to announce a new exhibition featuring all 63 paintings donated by James M. Cowan in the late 1920s. Two-thirds of Cowan’s gift are always on exhibit, but limitations of space have prevented a permanent installation of the entire collection.
Collector James Cowan, who grew up in middle Tennessee, visited the Tennessee Centennial Exposition in 1897 and found himself re-connecting with his family’s roots. When, twenty years later, he learned that the city of Nashville planned to make the Exposition’s temporary Parthenon a permanent structure, he offered to give a selection of paintings to form the nucleus of a collection for the Parthenon. The conditions he set—construction of a fire-proof gallery and anonymity until his death—were eagerly assented to by the city’s mayor and board of Park Commissioners. In 1927 and 1929 three shipments of 21 paintings each, destined for the Parthenon’s new permanent galleries, arrived in Nashville from Grand Central Art Galleries in New York City.
The current exhibition features new text panels with expanded information on the painters represented in the collection. Viewers will note the many and varied connections among the painters: most of them knew each other; many shared studios and traveled together; several taught younger artists in the collection. The new text panels help visitors find the connections and see the influence of artists on one another’s work.
The collection contains work by such well-known artists as Frederic Edwin Church and Winslow Homer, as well as work by lesser-known painters: self-taught artist John Francis Murphy’s quiet, contemplative view of Lake Champlain and Cullen Yates vibrant rendition of the Maine coast, for instance. Two women painters of note, Lillian Genth and Pauline Lennards Palmer, are included, along with paintings by father and son, George Inness, Sr, and George Inness, Jr. The influences of France’s Barbizon School, the Hudson River School, and American Impressionism are clearly visible, especially with the entire collection on view.
The exhibition will remain on view through August 17, 2014.
Richard Hayley Lever, Across the Harbor – St. Ives Bay, No date, Oil on Canvas.
The Parthenon is open Tuesday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sundays 12:30-4:30 p.m. Closed Mondays.
Admission to the Parthenon is $6 for adults; $4 for seniors 62 and over; and $4 for children 4-17. Children under 4 are admitted free. Admission includes access to all exhibitions and the Parthenon’s upper level, graced by the colossal statue of the goddess Athena.
Members of The Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park, which supports the exhibitions and programming of the Parthenon, enjoy unlimited free access to the Parthenon. They also receive invitations to lectures, receptions, and other special events. Additional benefits include discounts at the museum store and free guest passes. To learn more about the Conservancy, please visit www.conservancyonline.com.
ABOUT THE PARTHENON
The Parthenon, owned and operated by the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County’s Parks and Recreation Department, is the city of Nashville’s longest-lived art museum. Opened as a museum in 1931, its galleries are the home of the distinguished Cowan Collection of American art and feature several temporary exhibitions per year. The galleries are housed on the lower level of the Parthenon, the world’s only full-scale replica of the fifth-century BCE temple in Athens, Greece. Beloved symbol of civic pride to Nashvillians since its original manifestation as the art building for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition in 1897, it welcomes hundreds of thousands of Nashvillians and visitors to the city per year. To learn more about the Parthenon, please visit www.parthenon.org.
THE METRO BOARD OF PARKS AND RECREATION
The Metro Board of Parks and Recreation does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, sex, color, national origin, or disability in admission, access to, or operations of its programs, services, or activities. For TTY (relay service), call 1-800-849-0299. For questions, concerns, or requests regarding the American Disabilities Act call 862-8400.