ICONIC paintings from the United States will go on display in the UK for the first time at Oxford's Ashmolean Museum.

America's Cool Modernism: O'Keeffe to Hopper will run at the Beaumont Street attraction in the spring.

More than 80 paintings, prints and photographs will go on show, including cityscapes by renowned artist Edward Hopper (1882-1967).

Eighteen key loans for the exhibition, which will run from March 23 until July 22, will come from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and a further 27 pieces are being loaned by the Terra Foundation for American Art in Illinois, with whom the exhibition is organised.

Dr Xa Sturgis, director of the Ashmolean Museum, said: "It is an extraordinary privilege to borrow some of the greatest works ever made by American artists for this landmark exhibition.

"The Ashmolean is indebted to the Terra Foundation, the Metropolitan, and other lenders for parting with so many of their treasures.

"We are bringing together an exceptional collection of paintings, photographs and prints – iconic pieces that have never been to the UK before and deserve to be better-known in this country.

"We will reveal a fascinating aspect of American interwar art that is yet to be explored in a major exhibition."

Thirty-five paintings have never been to the UK and 17 of these have never left the United States.

Cool Modernism examines famous painters and photographers of the 1920s and 1930s with early works by Georgia O’Keeffe; photographs by Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand and Edward Weston.

It also displays the pioneers of modern American art whose work is less well-known in the UK, particularly Charles Demuth (1883–1935) and Charles Sheeler (1883–1965).

On show will be major pieces, including Demuth’s I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold (1928, from the Met), the painting Robert Hughes described as the ‘one picture so famous that practically every American who looks at art knows it.’

Made in 1928 and dedicated to the poet William Carlos Williams, the Figure 5, was one of a series of symbolist ‘poster-portraits’ which Demuth made of friends and fellow artists.

Consisting of an enormous, stylized ‘5’ the painting evokes new styles of advertising that were multiplying in American cities in the 1920s – which pre-empted Pop Art later in the century.

Dr Katherine Bourguignon, Terra Foundation for American Art and exhibition curator, said: "In addition to the artists who are well-known in the UK, this exhibition is an opportunity to introduce a European audience to important figures like Patrick Henry Bruce, Helen Torr and Charles Sheeler; and photographers of the interwar period including Imogen Cunningham and Berenice Abbott.

"These artists were actively seeking to create art that could be seen as authentically ‘American’."

At the same time the Ashmolean has loaned the Metropolitan museum 26 Michelangelos from its collection of 57 by the Renaissance master.

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