Erin Monroe, Wadsworth Atheneum
This ADAF Lecture will take place on Zoom, click here to register for the online event.
Hermonax Painter (Greek, 5th century BCE), Oil flask (Lekythos), made Attica, Greece c. 475–450 BCE. Terracotta. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT, Purchased through the gift of Henry and Walter Keney.
Paul Manship, Flight of Night, 1916. Bronze on a veined black marble base. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT, Gift of Philip L. Goodwin. © Estate of Paul Manship
Paul Manship, Centaur and Dryad, 1913, cast 1925. Bronze. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT, Bequest of Honora C. Robertson. © Estate of Paul Manship
Paul Manship, Centaur and Dryad (detail of base), 1913, cast 1925. Bronze. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT, Bequest of Honora C. Robertson. © Estate of Paul Manship
Paul Manship, Frieze Detail from Treasury of Siphnians, Delphi, 1912. Graphite on paper. Minnesota Museum of American Art, Saint Paul, Bequest of Paul H. Manship. © Estate of Paul Manship
Paul Manship, Fire (from The Four Elements for the AT & T Building, New York City), installed 1921. Parcel-gilt bronze relief. Courtesy of Gerald Peters Gallery. Private collection. © Estate of Paul Manship.
“Art of the past is an open book from which to study and learn the lessons.” –Paul Manship
The celebrated American sculptor Paul Manship (1885–1966) drew inspiration from diverse sources, creating sophisticated works for a modern-day audience. He became particularly known for his reinterpretations of allegorical and mythological subjects in a streamlined, Art Deco style. From tabletop bronzes to garden statuary and architectural elements, Manship infused drama and energy into his art by emphasizing pattern and ornament and a sense of movement. At age twenty-three he became the youngest recipient of the Rome Prize, a prestigious award accompanied by a fellowship at the American Academy in Rome. Between 1909 and 1912, Manship immersed himself in the art of Italy, the Mediterranean, and Egypt, seeding his interest in freely blending stylistic elements from different cultural traditions. Returning to New York City, he became an immediate sensation as critics praised the young artist’s “mixed style” as a sign of originality.
In conjunction with the exhibition Paul Manship: Ancient Made Modern, this lecture explores Manship’s early mastery of bronze, a medium that would define his career, and continue to his mid-career, when his attention turned to major public commissions. Monroe will examine signature works such as the captivating Centaur and Dryad (1913), the elegant Flight of Night (1916), as well as large-scale gilded architectural reliefs for the AT&T Building (installed in 1921) in Lower Manhattan and the iconic Prometheus in Rockefeller Center (1934). Manship’s imagery will be seen in conversation with ancient artifacts he studied firsthand and further contextualized by rarely seen sketches and travel photographs drawn from the artist’s personal archive.
Erin C. Monroe is the Robert H. Schutz Jr. Associate Curator of American Paintings and Sculpture at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut. She oversees an extensive collection whose highlights include colonial portraiture, Hudson River School painting, neoclassical sculpture, modern works on paper, and American surrealism. Her curatorial interests engage the artistic process as well as merging fine art with material culture to broaden and expand narratives about American experiences. Since arriving at the Wadsworth in 2007, she has curated major exhibitions and edited the corresponding catalogues on a range of topics including: Paul Manship: Ancient Made Modern (2021); Gorey’s Worlds (2018); Andrew Wyeth: Looking Beyond (2012) and Frederic Church: A Painter’s Pilgrimage (in-house curator, 2018). She also assisted with all aspects of two major exhibitions: Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861-2008 (2014) and Patti Smith: Camera Solo (2010). She previously served as an NEA research fellow at the Wadsworth for the major traveling exhibition American Moderns on Paper: Masterworks from the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, 1910–1960 (2010). Prior to her arrival, she was the curatorial assistant at the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University, preparing research and digital assets for the exhibition Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill (2010).
Monroe holds a B.A. in art history from Northwestern University and a Master’s degree from Hunter College (CUNY), with a concentration in modern American art. She lives in West Hartford with her husband and two children and their dog, Eyck.