Group '55 and Midcentury Modernism in Philadelphia

09/26/2020
01/24/2021

In 1955, a group of Philadelphia painters, architects, musicians, and dancers organized a series of exhibitions and public forums across the city, presenting their work as a catalyst for vigorous public dialogue about the role of art and science in the postwar era. Group ’55, as they came to be known, included architect Louis Kahn, composer George Rochberg, and artists Quita Brodhead, Michael Ciliberti, Sam Feinstein, Sam Fried, Sanford Greenberg, Raymond Hendler, Jane Piper, and Doris Staffel.

Group ’55 and Midcentury Modernism in Philadelphia will include professionally recorded sessions and historical materials never before made public. Patricia Stark Feinstein, who has overseen the important archive of the group’s work, is organizing the exhibition in collaboration with the Museum. Barbara Wolanin, a distinguished art historian whose specialization is American modernism, will contribute the main essay for the accompanying catalogue. A concurrent installation will feature Sam Feinstein’s large-scale, immersive paintings of the 1970s.

Anyone with information about Group ’55 is invited to contact Assistant Curator Rachel Hruszkewycz at rhruszkewycz@woodmereartmuseum.org.

In partnership with Group ’55 and Midcentury Modernism in Philadelphia, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (SCH) is curating Sam Feinstein: The Early Years, an exhibition that also opens on September 26, 2020, in the Barbara Crawford Gallery at the school. Considered a first-generation abstract expressionist artist, Feinstein was well known in art circles. A respected painter, illustrator, filmmaker, and writer Sam Feinstein taught at Chestnut Hill Academy from 1938 to 1942. 

The exhibition will feature his watercolors, oil paintings, and illustrations from 1930 to the mid-1950s depicting his journey towards abstract expressionism. Also in the exhibition will be Feinstein’s film on his friend and artist Hans Hofmann. This short documentary, One World or None, offers a rare and intimate view of this important artist’s philosophy and practice. The SCH exhibition is made possible through the Samuel L. Feinstein Trust.