Distilling the American Flavor: Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Juliana Force and the Making of the Whitney Museum

Now that the Whitney has opened downtown, revisit its original incarnation in the heart of the Village, and the lives and careers of two extraordinary women — Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875-1942) and Juliana Rieser Force (1876-1948) — who created the museum and transformed the history of American art. Their partnership not only brought about the formation of a great museum; they were also responsible for the support of hundreds of artists who had nowhere else to turn. Among those indebted to Juliana Force and Gertrude Whitney were Village artists John Sloan, Stuart Davis, Edward Hopper, Thomas Hart Benton, and Isamu Noguchi. In particular, Ms. Berman will detail the hitherto hidden personality of Juliana Force, who rose from poverty and obscurity to reinvent herself as a flamboyant Village bohemian, and became the Whitney’s first director and a standout in her profession.

Avis Berman is the author of Rebels on Eighth Street: Juliana Force and the Whitney Museum of American Art, as well as many other books, catalogues, reviews and essays on early twentieth-century American art.

Thursday, May 28, 2015
8:08 am

Hudson Park Library, 66 Leroy Street
between 7th Avenue South and Hudson Street