Colonial Williamsburg Is Presenting Early Southern Painters & Paintings

Charles Willson Peale, “George Washington (1732–1799),” 1772, oil on canvas; loaned by Washington-Custis-Lee Collection, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Va.

WILLIAMSBURG, VA. — The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg presents a groundbreaking new exhibition of choice paintings associated with the early American South, on view through September 2014 in the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum.

“Painters and Paintings in the Early American South” is the first exhibition of its kind that explores the scope of this region of early American art while bringing new vitality, excitement and scholarship to the forefront.

Carolyn Weekley, Colonial Williamsburg’s Juli Grainger curator, has assembled these objects through years of painstaking research and collaboration to produce a striking exhibition of portraits, landscapes, seascapes and other artworks pertinent to the Atlantic coast states from Maryland southward and the upper coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

“Nothing like this has been done before, having all these wonderful examples in one place at the same time,” Weekley said. “Most importantly, the exhibition will illustrate the myriad connections between art centers of the early South, New England, the Middle Atlantic and Europe.”

“Particularly striking about this exhibition are the truly international aspects of these magnificent materials,” said Ronald L. Hurst, Colonial Williamsburg’s vice president for collections, conservation and museums and the Carlisle H. Humelsine chief curator.

The exhibition of more than 80 works created in or for the South between 1735 and 1800 features 40 objects on loan from many other well-known and respected museums and a number of generous private collectors. 

A second and similar exhibition featuring works dated prior to 1735 is planned for a 2015 opening  in Colonial Williamsburg’s DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum.

An eponymnously titled catalog for this exhibition was co-published by The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and Yale University Press.

The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg are at the intersection of Francis and South Henry Streets. For information, www.history.org or 757-220-7724.

Charles Willson Peale, “George Washington (1732–1799),” 1772, oil on canvas; loaned by Washington-Custis-Lee Collection, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Va.

Henry Benbridge, “Charlotte Pepper Gignilliat (Mrs James Gignilliat, 1748–1803),” circa 1775, oil on canvas, Colonial Williamsburg, museum purchase and partial gift of Thomas McCutchen Gignilliat.

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