In conjunction with the blockbuster Norman Rockwell’s America, the Museum presents The Golden Age: American Illustration from the Collection. Illustration experienced unprecedented popularity in the United States during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The print industry saw numerous technical developments that enabled popular magazines to drop their cover prices, while at the same time, the size of the middle class rapidly increased and their leisure time and income increased. The American public demanded entertainment, and the print industry supplied it in the form of colorfully illustrated literary magazines, periodicals, and novels. As readership grew, the need for illustrators surged. However, like most other industries, publishing suffered during the Great Depression, and photography came to replace illustrations, thus drawing to a close the Golden Age of American illustration.
Featuring twenty illustrations from the Museum’s works on paper collection and a selection of volumes from the Clarence B. Hanson, Jr. Library’s rare books collection, The Golden Age examines the role of American illustration during this period through the works of well-known artists such as George Henry Bellows, Thomas Hart Benton, and Frederic Remington.