For Immediate Release

Contact: Amy Mercer
Marketing and Communications Manager
843-722-2706 ext. 38


The Charleston Story featuring the work of Alice Ravenel Huger Smith

The Rice Plantation series

The Gibbes Museum of Art is proud to feature the Rice Plantation series of watercolors paintings by Alice Ravenel Huger Smith. This exhibition from our permanent collection will hang through July 15, 2013.

Fifty years after the end of the Civil War, Charleston experienced an artistic rebirth that brought national attention to the "beautiful city that time had forgotten." This renaissance was largely the creation of a small community of artists that discovered in Charleston\'s time worn alleyways, weathered facades, and lowcountry landscape, a visual beauty that spoke of an extraordinary architectural and cultural past.

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.

Upon completion of the book, Smith donated all thirty original watercolors to the Gibbes Museum of Art. The Rice Plantation Series, as this group of objects is most commonly referred to today, is synonymous with the Gibbes and is one of its most treasured assets. Thanks to the generosity of Wilmer Welsh and Ralph Blakely, who established the Welsh-Blakely Fund, the Gibbes, working in cooperation with the Straus Center for Conservation, Harvard University Art Museums, completed conservation of the entire series in 2009.

Established as the Carolina Art Association in 1858, the Gibbes Museum of Art opened its doors to the public in 1905. 

Located in Charleston’s historic district, the Gibbes houses a premier collection of over 10,000 works of fine art, principally American works with a Charleston or Southern connection and presents special exhibitions annually. In addition, the museum offers an extensive complement of public programming and educational outreach initiatives.

As the aesthetic heart of the Lowcountry, the Gibbes serves the community by stimulating creative expression, increasing economic vitality through tourism, and improving the region’s superb quality of life.

135 Meeting Street * Charleston, SC * 29401