Imogene Cunningham, (1883-1976) "Magnolia Blossom," 1925.

Napa Valley Museum Yountville is opening three new exhibitions, running through Jan. 19: “Modern Women — Modern Vision: Works from the Bank of America Collection,” “Explore the Female Form” and “The Artist’s Studio.”

“Modern Women — Modern Vision” presents more than 100 photographic images in celebration of the ways women have contributed to the development and evolution of photography. This world-premiere exhibition features works by leading artists of the 20th and early 21st centuries, including Imogen Cunningham, Diane Arbus, Berenice Abbott, Margaret Bourke-White, Eva Besnyö and Barbara Morgan. It includes an original audio tour written and narrated by Mary Street Alinder, the Ansel Adams biographer and authority on 20th-century photography.

This exhibition has been loaned through the Bank of America Art in our Communities program.

“(The show) is a perfect follow-up to our recent exhibitions of legendary artists from Picasso to Frida Kahlo, our landmark Juanita Guccione exhibition, and our Making HERstory conference on rewriting women back into the history of art,” said Laura Rafaty, executive director of the Napa Valley Museum Yountville. “This exhibition once again showcases artists at the very top of their fields, and places them in their appropriate context at the forefront of the history of photography.”

“At the turn of the 20th century, photography had just begun to alter forever the way we perceive, engage and understand the world,” Rafaty said. “Histories of photography long ignored or underrepresented women’s contributions to the medium’s development as both fine and applied art. In truth, women embraced photography from its introduction in 1839. A new invention, photography had fewer barriers for participation than painting or sculpture, for which women had long been denied professional training equal to that of their male peers.”

“From 1900 onward, women negotiated waves of social, political and economic change, increasingly leveraging the camera as a means of creativity, financial independence and personal freedom. Disrupting longstanding constraints placed on women’s behavior and roles, these early trailblazers helped establish photography as a vital form of artistic expression. They also laid the groundwork and served as role models for subsequent generations.”

In the Spotlight and History Galleries, “Explore the Female Form” features the work with Mexican-born, Napa Valley painter and sculptor Oscar Aguilar Olea. Olea is an expressionist figurative painter, sculptor, and print maker from Guanajuato, Mexico. His signature techniques include using different types of egg tempera paints, painting on oversized burlap canvas, and using paints and charcoals made by the artist from organic materials grown here in the Napa Valley. Learn more at oscareggtempera.com.

“The Artist’s Studio”

A companion exhibition “The Artist’s Studio,” recreates an artist’s studio to learn the techniques and materials used in the artistic process. Art instruction including life drawing and painting classes will be available. More information about the exhibitions and related programs is available at napavalleymuseum.org.

Tickets are available on the website. The Napa Valley Museum Yountville is located at 55 Presidents Circle in Yountville and is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Museum admission includes the audio tour. It’s $5 for members, $15 for non-member adults, ages 18-65; $10 for seniors 65 and older; and $5 for youth 6-17; and free for children 5 and under. Admission is free for residents of the California Veterans Home and active duty military (audio tour is $5).

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