Archive for July, 2010

Sharing a Love of Art History with the Next Generation

Katie Gephart, summer intern, working with camper Parker Weeks.

Katie Gephart, summer intern, with camper Parker Weeks.

My name is Katie Gephart, and this summer I interned in the museum’s Education and Outreach department. In the fall, I’ll start my senior year at Washington and Lee University where I am majoring in art history and museum studies. My university professors continue to encourage my love of art history, and now—through my internship—I’ve had the opportunity to teach other students about art. My primary responsibility was assisting with the Summer Art Camp. Over the summer, I worked with elementary school students to expand the scope of their art awareness by exposing them to new media, techniques, and sources of inspiration within the Gibbes Museum. The summer camp themes included In the Forest, Go Global, and ArtStory, and each week we created special projects that both reflected these themes and introduced the campers to important artists and artistic traditions. Sharing art history with the children and helping them translate the concepts and ideas into their own work was immeasurably rewarding.

<em>April (The Green Gown)</em>, 1920, By Childe Hassam (American, 1859 – 1935). Oil on canvas; 56 x 82 1/4 in. Gibbes Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Archer Huntington (1936.09.01).

April (The Green Gown), 1920, By Childe Hassam (American, 1859 – 1935). Oil on canvas; 56 x 82 1/4 in. Gibbes Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Archer Huntington (1936.09.01).

Once a week, the campers went into the galleries to explore the museum’s collection and incorporated what they saw into their art projects. Last week, ArtStory focused on an artist’s ability to tell stories without words, using only form, line, and color. We looked at the large oil painting, April: (The Green Gown) by Childe Hassam—one of my favorite paintings in the collection—and asked how the woman’s story might be different if she wore a red gown instead. The group really seemed to connect to this idea and shared how different colors make them feel. Watching the kids process this important principle of art theory and apply it to their own art work was so exciting for me to observe. The Gibbes offers its campers such a special opportunity by sharing the collection, and I’ve been so grateful to share my knowledge of art with the kids and see how their techniques improve and enthusiasm for art grows.

Katie Gephardt, summer intern, Education and Outreach Department, Gibbes Museum of Art

Sally Collins, art educator, works with campers to create their own works of art.

Sally Collins, art educator, works with campers to create their own works of art.

Learn more about public programs, classes, and camp at the Gibbes Museum of Art.

Up Close and Personal with the Gibbes’ Collection

Sarah West, a summer intern in the Curatorial and Collections Departments, handles a woodblock print by Hokusai in the Gibbes collection.

Sarah West, a summer intern in the Curatorial and Collections Departments, handles a woodblock print by Hokusai in the Gibbes collection.

I have spent the past four years staring at slide after slide of art: Jasper Johns, John Singleton Copley, Jan van Eyck … and the Johns go on. As an undergraduate at the University of Virginia, I was exposed to the cultural and social implications behind these artists and their work. I memorized myriad names and dates, and I made more flashcards than I care to count. My first-year art history class was held in a massive auditorium, and the floor to ceiling projection made each piece look more and more foreboding. Over the next three years, classes moved into smaller lecture halls, and I found myself seated at a crowded conference table, discussing the monumentality of Giotto’s use of internal modeling in the Arena Chapel. As my studies became more specific, I would occasionally find the time to visit with these works face to face in museums. I would tell anyone who would listen (so usually I was talking to myself) what I knew about the work in front of me, closing my eyes and reciting the dates aloud to see if I could remember them. It would often turn out that I could only remember half of what my teacher had so eloquently lectured, and my dates were at least five years off every time.

Limehouse, 1859, by James McNeill Whistler (American, 1834 – 1903). Etching on paper. Gibbes Museum of Art, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Anton Vreede (2004.004.0003)

Limehouse, 1859, by James McNeill Whistler (American, 1834 – 1903). Etching on paper. Gibbes Museum of Art, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Anton Vreede (2004.004.0003)

After graduating from U.Va in May, I returned home to Charleston to begin my summer internship with the Gibbes. I knew that I would be working with Zinnia Willits, Director of Collections Administration, and Sara Arnold, Curator of Collections, but I was not quite sure what “collections” entailed. My academic bubble of names, faces, and dates had left me completely oblivious to what goes on behind the scenes in the museum world. I understood that each work of art the traveling exhibitions at the U.Va Art Museum had come from somewhere else, but I never put any thought into who had organized the exhibit, or the hard work that was required to actually prepare and transport these works from one museum to the next. In my time with the Gibbes, I have touched (with gloves) etchings by James McNeill Whistler, drawn up a condition report on a William Merritt Chase painting, and witnessed the last minute conservation of a work by Picasso. The godlike artists of my college years have become more like aged celebrities – I still revere them, but I now know how much work has gone into keeping up their glossy façades, and just how many people it takes to get them from one venue to the next.

Sarah West, summer intern, Curatorial and Collections Departments, Gibbes Museum of Art

Still Life with Fish, 1903, by William Merritt Chase (American, 1849 – 1916). Oil on canvas. Gibbes Museum of Art, Gift of Anna Heyward Taylor 1947.011.0001

Still Life with Fish, 1903, by William Merritt Chase (American, 1849 – 1916). Oil on canvas. Gibbes Museum of Art, Gift of Anna Heyward Taylor (1947.011.0001).

<em>Femme dans un fauteuil</em>, 1956, by Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881 – 1973). Oil on canvas; 39 ½ x 31 ½ in. Courtesy of Esther and James Ferguson.

Femme dans un fauteuil, 1956, by Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881 – 1973). Oil on canvas; 39 ½ x 31 ½ in. Courtesy of Esther and James Ferguson.

Explore more of the Gibbes’ collection in our online database.

Download the Gibbes College Internship application (PDF).

Artist Spotlight: Edwin Harleston (American, 1882 – 1931)

Boone Hall Plantation, ca. 1925, by Edwin Harleston (American, 1882 – 1931). Oil on canvas. Gibbes Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. H. Harleston Fleming (1997.009).

Boone Hall Plantation, ca. 1925, by Edwin Harleston (American, 1882 – 1931). Oil on canvas. Gibbes Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. H. Harleston Fleming (1997.009).

This summer the spotlight is on Charleston’s early twentieth-century artist, Edwin Augustus Harleston (1882–1931). Six paintings by Harleston are now on view in Gallery H. The works represent both his acclaimed portraiture and his landscapes of the South Carolina Lowcountry. This spotlight exhibition was inspired by the recent loan of Edwin Harleston’s magnificent 1921 portrait of Reverend Ceasar Ledbetter, pastor of Chaleston’s Plymouth Congregational Church. Rarely exhibited, this painting has not been on public view since the 1980s and has been generously loaned to the Gibbes by the Ledbetter family. This striking portrait of Reverend Ledbetter is among Harleston’s finest work.

Gallery Installation View (left to right): The Nurse, 1917; Portrait of Reverend Caesar S. Ledbetter, 1921; and The Honey Man, ca. 1929, all by Edwin Harleston (American, 1882 – 1931).

Gallery Installation View (left to right): The Nurse, 1917; Portrait of Reverend Caesar S. Ledbetter, 1921; and The Honey Man, ca. 1929, all by Edwin Harleston (American, 1882 – 1931).

Harleston was a graduate of Avery Normal Institute in Charleston, Atlanta University, and received his art training at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Despite his artistic talent and prestigious training, as an African American, Harleston was banned from entering many of Charleston’s cultural sites and was shunned by the city’s white, art community. Nevertheless, his work received national attention and by the mid 1920s Harleston was offered exhibition opportunities and commissions from patrons in Atlanta, Boston, Washington D.C., and New York. The Gibbes currently owns six works by Harleston, including his renowned Portrait of Aaron Douglas, also on view.

Visit the Gibbes Museum of Art through August 29, 2010, to see this exhibition.

See the Gibbes Museum online database to view other works by Harleston in the museum’s collection.

On the Street with Summer Intern Laura Kovalsky

Laura Kovalsky, Gibbes Museum summer intern, en route to distribute museum rack cards.

Laura Kovalsky, Gibbes Museum summer intern, en route to distribute museum rack cards.

My name is Laura Kovalsky, and I am a summer communications intern at the Gibbes Museum of Art. I am a rising senior at the University of Alabama, but I’m enjoying living and working in Charleston for the summer. At the Gibbes—aside from my daily responsibilities of organizing press clippings, updating information for the communications department, and attending meetings—one of the most unique things that I have been able to do is a form of grassroots marketing. The museum distributes rack cards, which are flyers describing the year’s exhibitions, to local art galleries for them to display to promote current and upcoming exhibitions. For the Gibbes, rack cards are an important communication tool because they are an easily accessible way for visitors to get information about the museum.

While walking around town to different galleries, I had the opportunity to meet and talk with gallery owners and view a wide variety of artwork. I learned about the art community in Charleston and the connection many artists feel to the beautiful landscape and the people of this city. Because I am new to the Charleston area, I enjoyed finding some of the more hidden galleries and going to places that I probably would not have known about otherwise. It was a unique way to tour the city through its art. During this process of spreading the word about the Gibbes, I was actually able to learn about local artists and the city.

Download the Gibbes College Internship application (PDF).