Joseph Stella, photography exhibitions planned for the Norton Museum

The Norton Museum of Art will host the October debut of a major new exhibition devoted to the nature-themed works of 20th-century American modernist Joseph Stella, the museum announced earlier this month.

Also scheduled for October is an exhibition of fashion and street photography from the collections of Swiss collector Nicola Erni, who opened a private museum in Steinhausen, Switzerland, in 2013 to showcase the diverse works she amassed over the of the last two decades.

A personal point of view on haute couture and street style: photographs from the Nicola Erni collection, from the 1930s to today, opens October 8 and closes February 12. Joseph Stella: Visionary Natureopens October 15 and runs until January 15.

Two pink water lilies (1943), by Joseph Stella.

Norton CEO Ghislain d’Humières said in a prepared statement that the two fall exhibitions “provide insight into the major art movements of the 20th century and demonstrate Norton’s commitment to delivering important and major exhibitions spanning diverse genres in Palm Beach and the region”.

Stella (1877-1946), who emigrated from southern Italy to the United States as a teenager in 1896, is best known for his canvases of New York, inspired by the Futurist movement in his native Italy. This intellectual movement glorified the vigor, power, and violence of the modern industrial age, and Stella’s colorful and dramatically lit paintings of Coney Island and the Brooklyn Bridge became visual icons of modernism.

Swans (Night) (c. 1924-1930), by Joseph Stella.

But Stella was also deeply interested in plant and animal life, and visionary nature features 90 paintings and works on paper, including renderings of water lilies, tropical flowers and swans, as well as religiously themed works such as Purissima (1927), a painting of the Virgin Mary that echoes early Christian art.

“The Stella exhibition is the first in-depth exploration of the artist’s fascination with the natural world,” said d’Humières. Organized by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, the exhibition will travel to both museums after its Norton debut.

Flip Family (1987), by Amy Arbus.

The Erni exhibition will feature nearly 300 works by over 100 different artists, including major photographers such as Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Cindy Sherman and Bill Cunningham. The exhibition traces the history of fashion photography from the early 20th century to the 1980s, when photographers looked beyond traditional boundaries to explore changes in street fashion style. Erni began assembling his collection in the 1990s, initially focusing on photographs from the 1960s and 1970s that documented jet-set celebrity culture of that era.

Some of the works in the exhibition will be presented through thematic content, as the exhibition examines how the photos represent ideas of “fantasy, romance and provocation”, Norton officials said.

The intrepid Lola walking with the Lion King, Miami (1999), by Esther Haase.

“The Nicola Erni Collection is a globally acclaimed collection that brings together the divergent worlds of fashion and street photography, exploring glamor and style through the lens of some of the greatest photographers of the last century,” said d ‘Humieres.

Also on view this fall is an exhibition of the work of Moroccan photographer Lalla Essaydi. his show, Unveiled, features portraits of Arab women adorned by the artist with henna calligraphy. (July 23-Nov 6). At the same time, the African-American artist Henry Ossawa Tanner is the subject of Intimate photos (August 20-March 12), an exhibition of four works including Christ at the house of Mary (1937), recently acquired by the Nortons.

Romance: Christian Lacroix Haute Couture Atelier in Paris, for House & Garden (1988), by Arthur Elgort.

On view from September 10 to January 15 is aAutumn Mountains and Harvest Moon Light, four paintings by Chinese artists offering their interpretations of the landscape tradition in Chinese art. The exhibit includes two contemporary artists as well as 18th-century artist Zhang Yuan and 19th-century painter Zhou Kai.

The Norton Museum of Art, 1450 S. Dixie Highway in West Palm Beach, is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday; from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The museum is closed on Wednesdays and public holidays. General admission is $18, $15 for seniors and $5 for students with valid ID.

Call 561-832-5196 or visit www.norton.org for more information.

Julia P. Cluff