The EUROPEAN VISION OF AMERICA was the title given to an art exhibition sponsored jointly by the CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART, the Natl. Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, and the Reunion des Musees Nationaux France in celebration of the U.S. bicentennial in 1976. First proposed in 1973 by Wai Kam Ho, curator of Chinese art at the Cleveland Museum of Art, the exhibition traced the way European nations had viewed the Americas from the time of Columbus's landing to the 19th century. English art historian Hugh Honour was invited to be guest curator and to write the catalog for the exhibition, which featured over 350 objects spanning 400 years. Included were sculptures, paintings, drawings, prints, books, furniture, tapestries, maps, porcelains, and silverwork from 12 countries and over 50 museums and private collections. The exhibition opened in Dec. 1975 for a 10-week showing at the Natl. Gallery in Washington, DC, prior to traveling to Cleveland for the 13-week period encompassing the 4th of July bicentennial celebrations. A final showing was held at the Grand Palais in Paris. While in Cleveland, the exhibition was the subject of a 1-hour television special, hosted by actor Peter Ustinov, shown nationwide on Public Broadcasting stations. When the exhibition closed in Cleveland on 8 Aug. 1976, it had been seen here by an estimated 108,000 people from 30 states and 20 foreign countries. TIME magazine described it as the "most entertaining [bicentennial] exhibition in America."

Honour, Hugh. The European Vision of America (1975).

Article Categories