For Immediate Release

Media Contacts: Melanie Mathos / Hannah Nuccio
Lou Hammond & Associates /
(843) 371-1363 / (843) 410-5306


Large Scale Photographs of Charleston’s Aiken-Rhett House on View at the Gibbes Museum of Art

Exhibition celebrates historic preservation

(Charleston, SC) – Large scale photographs invite reflection on the past and questions about the future of Charleston’s historic structures in the exhibition Grandeur Saved: Photographs of the Aiken-Rhett House by Michael Eastman. On view January 12-May 13, 2007, Grandeur Saved coincides with the 2007 Antiques Week in Charleston and is presented in conjunction with the 2007 Art and Antiques Forum benefiting the Gibbes Museum of Art. Grandeur Saved is sponsored by the Historic Charleston Foundation and media support is provided by Charleston Home Magazine.

Built in 1818, the Aiken-Rhett house stands alone as the most intact townhouse complex showcasing urban life in antebellum Charleston. The Aiken-Rhett house showcases three distinct periods of architectural design. Its original Adam style features were modified in 1836 in the Greek Revival style. An art gallery addition in 1858 added a Victorian influence. The property includes an extensive collection of outbuildings including the original carriage house, stable, kitchen building, slave quarters and privy.

Under the ownership of William Aiken in 1833, the Aiken-Rhett house was one of the most impressive residences in Charleston. One hundred and seventy-two years later, the house piqued the interest of Michael Eastman, a photographer renowned for his striking use of color. Eastman captured the structure’s rich hues and textures in epic proportions, with some of the prints measuring as large as seven by nine feet. Owned by the Historic Charleston Foundation since 1995, the Aiken-Rhett House and outbuildings are being preserved and interpreted as a museum site for visitors to enjoy. Eastman’s photographs celebrate the Foundation’s work while emphasizing the importance of historic preservation. Grandeur Saved at the Gibbes is the first public showing of this exhibition.


Michael Eastman is a self taught photographer who has spent thirty years capturing the essential nature of his subject. He draws inspiration from photographers Eugene Atget and Walker Evans. Like these great documentary photographers before him, Eastman holds the authenticity of the image as his highest goal. He shuns the use of artificial light and uses long exposure times instead, waiting as long as it takes for the natural illumination of the room to expose his film properly.

Eastman has been featured in Time (four covers) and Life magazines as well as many other print media. His photographs are in the collections of Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, Los Angeles County Museum, San Francisco Museum of Art, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, The High Museum, Kemper Museum, New Orleans Museum of Art, Nelson-Atkins Museum, St. Louis Museum of Art, Amon Carter Museum, San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art and the International Center for Photography, New York.


Grandeur Saved 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 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