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Lancaster’s Demuth Museum reimagined: Discover fresh insights into an American modernist

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Demuth Museum
Courtesy of Demuth Museum Courtesy of Demuth Museum

A brand new museum experience has opened just in time for summer at the Demuth Museum in downtown Lancaster, PA. A master watercolorist and pioneer of the Precisionist style, Charles Demuth (1883-1935) was an early American Modern artist and native of Lancaster. The Demuth Museum is located in the artist’s former home and studio, where he created many artworks inspired by the people, places, and things he encountered in his hometown.

Charles Demuth, Self Portrait, 1907, oil on canvas, collection of the Demuth Museum, gift of Margaret Lestz
Charles Demuth, Self Portrait, 1907, oil on canvas, collection of the Demuth Museum, gift of Margaret Lestz

While Lancaster served as his most consistent inspiration, Demuth’s art was also energized by his extensive travels to Philadelphia, New York City, Paris, Provincetown, Massachusetts, and more. As an artist and a gay man in the early 20th century, Demuth’s social and professional circles included the avant-garde art and queer communities. His relationships with fellow artists, writers, art critics, and collectors inspired him to create some of his most famous works like I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold (collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art). Other pieces were influenced more by Lancaster’s urban landscape, such as My Egypt (collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art) and Lancaster (In the Province No. 2) (collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art).

To more fully tell Demuth’s story and demonstrate the impact of his work, the Demuth Museum has been reinterpreted to offer engaging new exhibits that explore the life, artwork, and legacy of Charles Demuth. 

“We are very excited to unveil a new museum experience for visitors. Our renovated galleries include multimedia elements, archival objects, and hands-on activities to deepen understanding and appreciation of Charles Demuth’s artwork. The studio is also partially recreated as it was during Demuth’s lifetime,” said Abby Baer, Executive Director of the Demuth Foundation.

Picture of exhibit at Demuth Museum
Courtesy of Demuth Museum

The Demuth Museum holds more than 60 works by Charles Demuth in its permanent collection, many of which are the artist’s masterful watercolor paintings and works on paper. To preserve these delicate artworks, the museum features a selection of pieces that rotate several times throughout the year. This summer, a selection of works inspired by Demuth’s summer travels, featuring watercolors and drawings of Bermuda and the coastal town of Provincetown, Massachusetts, will be on view through July 21, 2024. 

In addition to the selections from the museum’s permanent collection, a special exhibition of Demuth-inspired still-life artworks by 50 local artists will also be on view. From August 2 through October 20, a selection of portraiture from the Demuth Museum’s permanent collection will be highlighted, as well as a showcase of Demuth’s fruit and vegetable still-life watercolors through a special exhibition.

For more information, visit