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50 Years / 50 Artworks

  Stories in Art People and Places Art and Environment The Language of Art

The Language of Art


In many ways art is like a language because artists use paintings, sculptures, prints, and photographs to tell us their ideas and express their feelings.

The language of art consists of things like color, line, shape, space, value, and texture. These are called the elements of art. Just like poets combine words, or composers arrange musical notes, visual artists compose with the elements of art. Consciously or by instinct, artists organize the elements of art's language according to design principles, such as unity, harmony, contrast, rhythm, proportion, and balance.

When we want to tell someone something important, we might use words. When artists want to tell something important they use the Language of Art. More...

Anonymous Roman follower of Caravaggio, in the manner of Bartolemeo Manfredii
(Italian, c. 1587–162o/21)
The Scourging of St. Blaise
oil on canvas, 64 3/4" x 75 3/4"
Gift of Alice Tweed Tuohy
John Henry Twachtman
(American, 1853–1902)
Spring Landscape
n.d. (ca. 1890s)
oil on canvas, 17" x 22"
Gift of Mrs. E. L. Tuohy
Helen M. Turner
(American, 1858–1958)
The Footbath (The Toilet)
oil on canvas, 18" x 14 3/4"
Gift of Mrs. E. L. Tuohy
Frederick Childe Hassam
(American, 1859–1935)
Public Common, Woodstock, New York
n.d. (ca. 1891)
pastel on paper, 17 1/2" x 21 3/8"
Gift of Mrs. E. L. Tuohy
Richard Emil Miller
(American, 1875–1943)
Woman Sewing
(with Female Nude on opposite side of panel)
n.d. (ca. 1910 – 20)
oil on wood, 26" x 23"
Gift of Mrs. E. L. Tuohy
Shoji Hamada
(Japanese, Tokyo 1894–1978)
Square Dish
c. 1970
stoneware with trailed glaze decoration, 2 1/4" x 11" x 11"
Gift of Glenn C. Nelson
Morris Kantor
(American, 1896–1974)
Figures in Movement
oil on canvas, 53" x 56"
Patrons and Subscribers Purchase Fund
Charles Joseph Biederman
(American, b. 1906–2004)
#7, New York
wood, metal, Plexiglas, paint, 66 3/4" x 81 1/4" x 15 1/2"
Gift of Lydia E. and Raymond F. Hedin

Ralston Crawford
(American, 1906–1978)
Construction #4
oil on canvas, 24" x 36"
Sax Purchase Fund
Glenn C. Nelson
(American. b. 1913)
Large Floor Pot
c. 1974
stoneware.19 1/2" high x 16" diameter
Gift of the Estate of William G. Boyce
Robert Motherwell
(American, 1915–1991)
Untitled (Black and Orange), from The Basque Suite
silkscreen on paper, from suite of ten, AP, 40" x 28 1/2"
Gift of the Martin S. Ackerman Foundation; Saul Steinberg, Donor
Abe Ajay
(American, 1919–1998)
Polychrome Wood Relief No. 212
wood, found objects, paint, 31" x 72"
Patrons and Subscribers Purchase Fund
Rudy (Rudolf Arne) Autio
(American, b.1926)
stoneware with glazes, 34" x 24 1/2" x 24"
Special Purchase Fund; Donors: Martha Alworth, Kay Biga & Patrick Spott, Elizabeth Adams Brownlee, Florence & Roger Collins, Mary & John Dwan, Rhondi Erickson & Sandy Lewis, Beverly & Erwin Goldfine, Lilian & Manley Goldfine, Chuck House, Sharon & Joel Labovitz, Fran & Joe Leek, Robert & Pran Leff, Raija Matcheldt, Diane & Robert Meierhoff, Robin & Stuart Seiler, Alva & Mitch Sill. U.S. Bank–David Gaddie: President, Katherine Watters
Kay Kurt
(American, b. 1944)
Jordan Almonds
oil on canvas, 12" x 12"
Sax Brothers Purchase Fund
Kenneth Johansson
(Swedish, b. 1946)
dolomite (granite), 14 1/2" x 48" x 9"
Alice Tweed Tuohy Foundation Purchase
Hollis Sigler
(American, 1948–2001)
She Dreams of Escaping to Hope
intaglio on Rives BFK paper with custom mat in monotype and lithograph, with hand-painted wood frame
26" x 31 1/8" x 1 1/4"
Alice Tweed Tuohy Foundation Purchase
Tweed Museum of Art

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