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February–July 14, 2013

The Rice Plantation Series

Watercolors by Alice Ravenel Huger Smith


Alice Ravenel Huger Smith (1876–1958) was a leading artist of the cultural and economic renaissance that occurred in Charleston between the two world wars. Smith disseminated the history and mythology of her beloved lowcountry to a national audience through her evocative images, numerous writings, and civic activities. Produced in mid-career, A Carolina Rice Plantation of the Fifties was the most ambitious of her publications. The series of watercolors and the accompanying text, which includes an essay on rice cultivation by historian Herbert Ravenel Sass and the boyhood memoirs of her father Daniel Elliott Huger Smith, are meant to preserve a "first-hand knowledge" of life on a rice plantation in the 1850s. Through a series of skillful and compelling watercolors, Smith offers a romantic vision of plantation life from a planter's perspective.

Read about the conservation efforts taken by the Gibbes Museum to preserve this collection of watercolors.

A Lagoon by the Sea, from the series A Carolina Rice Plantation of the Fifties, ca. 1935, by Alice Ravenel Huger Smith (American, 1876 – 1958). Watercolor on paperboard. Gibbes Museum of Art, Gift of the artist (1937.009.0030)