When the Gibbes Museum opened in 1905, the nation celebrated what Charleston has always understood: the power of art – to inspire our imagination, heal our hurt, and nourish our souls.

Still Life with Watermelon, ca. 1840s, by Thomas Wightman

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Still Life with Watermelon, ca. 1840s, by Thomas Wightman (American, 1811 - 1888)

Still Life with Watermelon, ca. 1840s
Thomas Wightman (American, 1811 – 1888)
Oil on canvas, 25 1/4 x 30 5/8 inches
Gibbes Museum of Art, Bequest of Ms. May Longstreet Wightman (1954.008.0008)

Born in Charleston, Wightman studied under American artist Henry Inman and lived in New York from 1841 until the outbreak of the Civil War. In addition to portraits he painted numerous still life compositions at a time when they were not very much in vogue. However, the brilliant colors and close attention to minute detail as well as the luminosity of the various fruits, contributes to their wide appeal today.

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