Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Past Exhibitions

< >

Big Picture: Art After 1945

Jul 23 2016 – Apr 26 2021

Seattle Art Museum

Plestcheeff Auditorium

This July, SAM is pleased to showcase Big Picture: Art After 1945. This exhibition focuses on several influential and parallel artistic developments in the decades following World War II. In the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, abstraction established itself in many guises as a dominant force to be reckoned with. From abstract expressionism, to gorgeous fields of color, to minimal manipulation of surface and texture, painting and sculpture was the arena where these ideas found their most varied expression.

Within the folds of these developments came rumblings of a different nature—other artists began examining the mundane, and elements of chance—and from the castoffs of curbside detritus and the images and materials from newspapers and magazines came a new engagement with the world in its many material forms.

Big Picture celebrates the tremendous gift of Seattle collectors Virginia and Bagley Wright. This exhibition will feature many of these works, which have transformed SAM’s modern and contemporary art collection.

In addition, the exhibition will feature several key loans from local collections, which provide a glimpse of the depth and commitment of other private collectors in Seattle. A few artists whose works will be on view include: Franz Kline, Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko, David Smith, Agnes Martin, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, and Eva Hesse.

This installation is included in general admission.

Major Sponsor

Exhibition generously supported by Sotheby’s.

Image: No Title, 1964, Eva Hesse, American (born in Germany), 1936–1970, oil on canvas, 61 x 41 1/2 in., Gift of the Virginia and Bagley Wright Collection, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum, 2014.25.30, © Estate of Eva Hesse.

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

Learn more about Equity at SAM