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Gibbes Museum of Art Announces New Acquisition - Kicks Off 150 Year Anniversary of the Gibbes’ Permanent Collection

Dr. and Mrs. Anton Vreede donate Mary Whyte painting entitled Artist

(Charleston, SC) – In 2008, the Gibbes Museum of Art will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Carolina Art Association and the beginning of what is now the Gibbes’ permanent collection. In recognition of the upcoming anniversary, Dr. and Mrs. Anton Vreede have gifted the museum with Artist, a watercolor painting from Charleston artist Mary Whyte. In 2004, the Vreedes gave the museum 27 James McNeill Whistler prints and in 2001, they contributed funds toward the purchase of Bombardment of Fort Sumter by William Aiken Walker. “On the eve of the anniversary, we are pleased to receive this wonderful addition to our collection and wish to acknowledge Dr. and Mrs. Vreede for their ongoing support of the museum. 95% of our collection comes from gifts and all of Charleston benefits from the generosity of donors like the Vreedes” says Gibbes Executive Director Todd Smith.

Dr. Vreede, a retired physician who has resided in the Charleston area for 13 years, serves on the Board of Directors for the Gibbes. “We saw the painting at a recent CFADA (Charleston Fine Art Dealers Association) event and we were struck by it. My wife and I wanted to give it to the Gibbes so that many others could also enjoy Ms. Whyte’s work. We are fortunate to live in a community with such a vibrant arts community,” explains Dr. Vreede.

According to Whyte, "Artist is a simple statement about graffiti and its arguable relevance as art. In this painting I have posed Lilly, one of my favorite young models, standing in front of a wall that has been tagged by several "artists." The graffiti makes an abstract, menacing foil around the innocent figure dressed in white, and creates a lively contrast to her diminutive crayon drawing." The painting is now on view on the second floor of the Gibbes as part of the ongoing exhibition The Charleston Story.

Angela Mack, Gibbes Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs, notes “Artist demonstrates an interesting shift toward abstraction that is not evident in prior works by Mary. The tension is palpable.” The museum’s collection also includes a portrait of Charleston treasure Philip Simmons painted by Mary Whyte in 2000.

An Ohio native, Mary Whyte graduated from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. She has been active as a teacher, artist and writer for over twenty-five years, exhibiting and conducting workshops across the country. While Whyte paints a variety of subjects from languid Lowcountry scenes to still-lifes, it is her distinctive portraits for which she is best known.

Established as the Carolina Art Association in 1858, the Gibbes Museum of Art opened its doors to the public in 1905 in historic Charleston, S.C. The Gibbes houses one of the foremost collections of American Art from the 18th century to the present. The Gibbes is currently undergoing major renovations and will reopen in the spring of 2016. The renovated museum will properly showcase its extensive collections and will feature an admission-free ground floor, providing a place to watch artists at work in studios and stroll through a world-class garden.

135 Meeting Street | Charleston, SC | 29401