Something to Wait For draws from the Berman Museum of Art’s extensive permanent collection to highlight a diverse selection of pieces that interpret the four seasons: winter, spring, summer, and autumn. The juxtaposition of Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblock prints, American Impressionist landscapes, and Modernist works reveal cross-cultural and period differences between works of art in the collection; however, these differences also highlight varying human experiences made interpretable through the universality of seasonal transience.
Naturalist and transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau saw the changing seasons as representative of endless cycles of betterment. On April 23, 1856 he wrote in his journal, “The moods and thoughts of man are revolving just as steadily and incessantly as nature’s.” Thoreau’s impulse to suggest the seasons as analogous with cycles of human experience is perhaps the very same impulse that motivated artists to interpret them as such. There is no one meaning assigned to each season, rather a variety of symbols exist in each—winter is death, purity; spring is rebirth, forgiveness; summer is euphoria, oppression; autumn is decay, harvest—in these contradictions lies a nuanced portrait of humanity.
The Berman Museum of Art would like to dedicate Something to Wait For to H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest (1930-2018), a generous benefactor to the Philadelphia community and beyond, as well as the namesake of the Berman’s Lenfest Gallery. We may remember Gerry for his immense generosity that, like the seasons, will forever persist, reflecting back positive experiences and promising change for the better.
-Teddi Caputo, Curator
All Berman exhibitions and programs are free and open to the public