June 5, 2021 – January 9, 2022
Eclipse of the Sun is a masterpiece of political art and one of the most significant paintings in a public collection on Long Island. As signaled by the dollar sign darkening the sun, a symbol of life, the artwork critiques the greed and violence of Germany’s military, politicians, and industrialists. The tilted perspective, dissonant color, and ambiguous sense of space underscore the instability of the period following World War I.
Grosz depicts mindless bureaucrats in a grim setting surrounding the decorated general Paul von Hindenburg, who was Field Marshall during World War I, served as second president of the Weimar Republic, and later named Adolf Hitler chancellor in 1933. An industrialist carrying weapons whispers in Hindenburg’s ear. A donkey representing the German people stands near a bloody sword and listens with big ears, yet wears blinders of ignorance. Confined and stepped on, the fearful face of a youth juxtaposed with a skeleton warns of the fate of future generations.
In the 1920s, Grosz was a leader of the politically outspoken Berlin Dada movement, which criticized authority through art. Considered a “degenerate” artist by the Nazis, he fled to the United States in 1933 in advance of World War II. Grosz lived and worked in Huntington, New York, from 1947 until shortly before his death in 1959.
*Eclipse of the Sun is currently on view in the exhibition The Heckscher Museum Celebrates 100: Tracing History, Inspiring the Future.
The Heckscher Museum of Art opened to the public 100 years ago. This expansive exhibition traces our history and points to our future by celebrating the people, events, and art that have indelibly shaped the Museum. Unfolding chronologically, the exhibition explores the development of the permanent collection from 185 paintings and sculptures in 1920, to 2,300 works in many media today. Each gallery focuses on a defining chapter in the Museum’s story: our founding in 1920 by civic leaders August and Anna Atkins Heckscher, the transformational tenure of Museum Director Eva Gatling, our pivotal role in preserving the legacies of American modernists Arthur Dove and Helen Torr, and the acquisition of hundreds of artworks from the Baker/Pisano Collection in 2001.
The exhibition weaves together masterworks, rarely exhibited objects, and archival material to illuminate the Museum’s history and to engage our audiences. Spanning the 16th century to the 21st, the checklist includes work by more than 75 artists including: Berenice Abbott, Romare Bearden, William Merritt Chase, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Jean-Léon Gérôme, George Grosz, Marsden Hartley, Winslow Homer, Man Ray, Thomas Moran, Georgia O’Keeffe, Howardena Pindell, and Florine Stettheimer. Reporting on the new Museum in 1921, a newspaper noted that “people come and come again to this treasure house of theirs.” We invite you to do the same as we embark together on the next 100 years.
January 20, 2022 – April 24, 2022
Born in Amityville, NY, in 1924, Richard Mayhew grew up on Long Island, where he formed a deep connection to the natural world. Featuring vibrant landscape paintings created over the last six decades, this exhibition places Mayhew’s paintings in the context of Long Island’s diverse cultural history. The show explores how the artist reinvented the genre of landscape painting to express his African American and Native American heritage. Mayhew uses evocative color and diffused form to convey emotion. He explains: “desire, ambition, love, hate, fear—that’s my paintings.”
January 20, 2022 – September 18, 2022
Drawn from the Museum’s Collection, this exhibition features a broad range of artwork inspired by the moon and moonlight. From the nineteenth century to the present, artists have gravitated to the moon for reasons scientific, mythic, and symbolic. The celestial artworks on view explore our enduring fascination with the moon in all its phases.