The Swope Art Museum Celebrates

Its 75th Anniversary!

Realities of Life: Works on Paper from the Founding Collection

December 16, 2016 – February 25, 2017

The Museum’s 75th birthday celebration begins with the exhibition Realities of Life: Works on Paper from the Founding Collection, which will be on display in the second-floor lobby gallery through February 25, 2017. In January 1941, the Swope Art Museum’s founding director, Terre Haute native John Rogers Cox (1915-1990), was given the rather daunting task of building a collection for the institution which would open on March 21, 1942. Cox, who had limited funds at his disposal, made the bold decision to focus his purchases on recent American art by living artists. In fact, with only a few exceptions, the paintings and prints included in the founding collection were created between 1939 and 1942. These acquisitions were highly publicized in the leading art journals of the day. Many of artists represented by these initial purchases—including work by Thomas Hart Benton, Charles Burchfield, John Steuart Curry, and Edward Hopper—remain the most celebrated in American art. The founding collection consists primarily of American Scene Painting, a naturalist style of art popular during the first half of the 20th century in the United States. The artists of the movement depicted scenes of typical American life and landscape—painted in a naturalistic, descriptive style.


Morning at the Route 6, Eastham House

Philip Koch (b. 1948), Morning at the Route 6, Eastham House, 2016. Oil on canvas, 30 x 60 in. Collection of the artist.

Light and Shadow: Paintings and Drawings by Philip Koch from Edward Hopper’s Studio

February 3 – March 25, 2017

Made possible by the Alliance of the Swope

As a graduate painting student at Indiana University, Philip Koch was working abstractly until he rediscovered the “glowing light and dramatic shadows” of Edward Hopper. The experience inspired the young artist to begin painting realistically. Since 1983, Philip Koch has completed 16 residencies in Hopper’s home and studio in Truro, Massachusetts on Cape Cod. Spending time in the spaces inhabited by Hopper, seeing the same views, and experiencing the play of light and shadow in the rooms has provided Koch with a unique understanding of Hopper’s work and process. The exhibition will provide new insight into Hopper’s 1941 painting of a house in Cape Cod titled Route 6, Eastham from the Swope’s founding permanent collection.