While the history of the Cos Cob art colony has become well known to scholars of American Impressionism, its role in the development of American Modernism is less familiar. In December 1911 Elmer MacRae was among the group who founded the Association of American Painters and Sculptors in New York. To represent their slogan, “the new spirit,” the newly formed Association of American Painters and Sculptors selected the Massachusetts Tree of Liberty as their symbol. Originally established with the goal of finding suitable exhibition space for young American artists, the Association’s major accomplishment was planning the International Exhibition of Modern Art, also known as the Armory Show. Held in New York during the winter of 1913, the exhibition introduced modern European artist such as Paul Cezanne, Wassily Kandinsky, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso to the art-viewing public.
Although not listed in the catalogue for the exhibition, this painting of Constant, one of the MacRae twins, feeding the ducks was added in both MacRae’s and Kuhn’s catalogues. On the back of the painting is a label for the International Exhibition of Modern Art.