For Immediate Release

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


Private Collection of Charleston Decorative Arts Premieres at the Gibbes Museum of Art

Southern Masterpieces: Charleston Before 1835 on view February 9 – April 29, 2007, features selections from The Rivers Collection

(Charleston, SC) – Southern Masterpieces speaks to the growing national interest in fine and decorative art of the South. Featuring The Rivers Collection of significant Lowcountry furniture and silver arranged within the context of paintings and sculpture from the Gibbes permanent collection and select objects from public and private collections, Southern Masterpieces offers a comprehensive exploration of Charleston's taste and refinement from the eighteenth through the early nineteenth century through its material culture. Southern Masterpieces is sponsored by Charleston Magazine.

Recognizing that significant pieces of Charleston furniture and silver were dispersing outside the Charleston area, John M. Rivers, Jr. whose family has been in Charleston continuously since 1670, began forming The Rivers Collection in 1988. Instilled with the same spirit possessed by E. Milby Burton, former director of the Charleston Museum and author of the groundbreaking publication entitled Charleston Furniture: 1700-1825, Mr. Rivers has effectively supplemented the work of public museums in an effort to preserve the rich heritage of Charleston and the surrounding region. Southern Masterpieces will offer the first public showing of objects from this collection.


Southern Masterpieces is presented in conjunction with the 2007 Charleston Art and Antiques Forum, March 14 through 18. The Forum opens March 14 with the Keynote Address by Wendell D. Garrett, Editor-at-Large of The Magazine Antiques and Senior Vice President at Sotheby’s New York. The schedule continues with a fascinating series of lectures by prominent experts from major museums, historic properties and private collections; the opportunity to view extraordinary paintings, furniture, silver, porcelain, and memorabilia; beautiful receptions in landmark buildings; and, to conclude on March 18, a special tour of the Lowcountry and brunch in a historic home.

Ticket packages are now available. To receive the 2007 program brochure, write The Charleston Art & Antiques Forum; c/o Gibbes Museum of Art; 135 Meeting Street; Charleston, SC 29401; call (843) 722-2706, extension 25; or visit

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