American Folk Art Exhibition A Shared Legacy includes rare works by Edward Hicks, Ammi Philips, John Brewster Jr. and more
CHARLESTON, S.C., November 28, 2017 — Today the Gibbes Museum of Art announced the newest exhibition coming to the museum’s third floor galleries January 19—April 25, 2018. A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America is drawn from the private collection of Barbara L. Gordon and tells the story of the extraordinary American folk art made in New England, the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and the South between 1800 and 1925. Created by innovative, self-taught artists, the exhibition showcases more than 60 works that exemplify the breadth of American creative expression during a period of revolutionary political, social and cultural change in the United States. Highlights include rare paintings by Edward Hicks, Ammi Phillips, and John Brewster, Jr., among others.
“In the years immediately following the Revolutionary War, Americans left the places where their families had been rooted and moved to new lands being settled. In Eastern cities, the well-to-do patronized trained artists who had studied at home or abroad. However, to meet the demand of customers or for their own pleasure,” said Barbara Gordon, exhibition leader. “A need for art in outlying areas fostered the emergence of several generations of artists who were responsible for a pivotal development in the history of American art.”
The paintings, sculpture, furniture and household items on view are significant because they provide a tangible connection to our American ancestors. The works offer insight into how ideas were shared and regional trends developed. The furniture, in particular, provides a striking comparison to works on view at the Gibbes from The Rivers Collection of Southern Decorative Art, featured throughout Gallery 4. Viewing both collections offers a full picture of American decorative expression during the 18th and 19th centuries.
To highlight the thematic organization of the exhibition, the works are grouped into three main sections:
- The Fine Art of Folk Art: As the middle class became able to afford art and decorative objects, they commissioned portraits and works to document specific places, events and biblical subjects.
- Sculpture: Demand for personal and commercial sculptures flourished during this period and included figureheads for sailing vessels, signage, carousel figures, tobacconist figures and more.
- German Art with an American Accent: German-American art made in the 18th and 19th centuries employs iconography brought from Europe and illustrates the creative traditions of a cohesive, comparatively isolated ethnic group.
“With every exhibition, the Gibbes strives to engage people of every background and experience with art and artists of enduring quality, so we are thrilled to introduce our visitors to this superb collection of American paintings, sculpture, furniture and decorative art of the highest quality,” said Angela Mack, executive director of the Gibbes Museum of Art. “Every area of the rich folk-art tradition is represented in this exhibition, and we hope the experience broadens and enhances visitors’ understanding of American art.”
This exhibition is drawn from the Barbara L. Gordon Collection and is organized and circulated by Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia.
Editor’s Note: For a sampling of images from this exhibition, please contact Hannah Nuccio at Lou Hammond Group.
About the Gibbes Museum of Art
Home to the Carolina Art Association, established in 1858, the Gibbes Museum of Art is recognized among the oldest arts organizations in the United States. Housing one of the foremost collections of American Art from the 18th century to the present, the museum’s mission is to enhance lives through art by engaging people of every background and experience with art and artists of enduring quality and by providing opportunities to learn, to discover, to enjoy and to be inspired by the creative process. For more information, visit www.gibbesmuseum.org .
Lou Hammond Group
Top Image: The Peaceable Kingdom with the Leopard of Serenity, 18351840, attributed to Edward Hicks (American, 17801849); oil on canvas; 34 x 40 ½ inches. Courtesy of the Barbara L. Gordon Collection.