Because "For America" contains an emphasis on portraits, the Putnam decided to pull together 50 examples of faces from the past. These include a late 1800s theater mask of idealized feminine beauty from Japan and a carved stone pharaoh head from Egypt dating to 1400 B.C.
The pieces are a reflection of "how people envision themselves," Christina Kastell, curator of history and anthropology, said.
One of her favorites is a carved wood head from New Guinea made around 1900 by the people of the upper Sepik River. New Guinea is the world's second largest island, located in the southwest Pacific Ocean.
All the faces — representing 20 countries and 35 cultures — were culled from the Putnam's Cultures of the World exhibit, arranged by intern Samantha Lack.
"The Putnam believes in strong community collaboration, and we're proud to be partnering with the Figge Art Museum on its 'For America' exhibit, Rachael Mullins, Putnam president and CEO, said in a written news release. "When we learned of the portraiture by American masters which will be featured, we thought it would be a great opportunity to compare and contrast portraits from cultures around the world. We hope visitors will get a chance to see both exhibits."