Modern & Contemporary

Signs and Configurations, 1936
Joan Miro (Spanish, 18931983), Signs and Configurations, 1936, oil, sand, and tar on board. Bequest of Miss May E. Walters, 1994.024.015

The twentieth century was marked by enormous advancements in science, technology, and philosophy all of which manifest themselves in the styles and movements that arose during this tumultuous period. Paintings by Joan Miró, Georgia O'Keeffe, Milton Avery, Phillip Pearlstein, and Sean Scully along with sculptures by Ernst Barlarch, William Zorach, Joseph Cornell,  and George Rickey signal radical shifts in society.

The Snite Museum of Art has a special collection of the sculptures, maquettes and writings of Croatian-American sculptor Ivan Mestrovic who taught at Notre Dame from 1955 until his death in 1962. His sculptures can be seen in various buildings on campus, including the Snite, the Eck Visitor Center, and the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.  

Download the IVAN MEŠTROVIĆ AT NOTRE DAME: Selected Campus Sculptures catalog (8.5MB PDF)

The Red Cloud, 1911Gabriele Münter (German, 1877–1962), The Red Cloud, 1911, oil on canvas. Bequest of Edith and Dr. Paul J. Vignos Jr. '41, 2011.024.006

Gabriele Münter, The Red Cloud, 1911

Chief among the thirty-two European and American works that comprise the generous gift from the Estate of Dr. Paul J. Vignos Jr. is a painting by the German expressionist artist Gabriele Münter.  The Red Cloud, signed and dated 1911, was featured in many of the early exhibitions mounted by The Blue Rider, an avant-garde art movement she co-founded with Franz Marc (1880–1916) and then fiancé Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944). The vibrant colors, abstracted form, bold and simplified composition, and broad application of paint characterize the style that gave expressionism its name. 

The painting is currently on view in the Twentieth-Century Gallery on the second floor.

John Bisbee (American, born 1965), Spool, welded 4-inch brads, 1992John Bisbee (American, b. 1965), Spool, 1992, welded 4-inch brads, 56 x 55 x 29 inches. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert S. Nanovic '54, 2011.005

John Bisbee, Spool, 1992

What at first appears to be an airy wheel made up of small twigs, upon closer inspection yields a gasp-worthy surprise. 

The network of short, sketchy lines is actually made up of thousands of small nails welded together.

Artist John Bisbee has spent his entire career exploring the seemingly limitless potential of this most common item.  Sometimes welding them, sometimes simply stacking them, Bisbee elevates the nail from an often invisible and overlooked object to one worthy of deeper consideration.

"I don't even think of them as nails anymore, they are my marks. The nail is just emblematic of potential. It could be anything."
—John Bisbee