Published: November 13, 2001
WILLIAMSBURG, VA. – Colonial Williamsburg will present a compelling display of scenic carvings created by the late itinerant Arkansas artist Rupert P. Kreider (1897-1983).
“Life in Perspective: The Woodcarvings of Rupert Kreider” will feature nine individual pieces – eight elaborate farmscapes and other rural scenes carved in relief and a lamp base made from a cypress knee carved in the round – on loan to the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum. The exhibition will be on display November 22 through mid-February 2003.
Kreider incorporated intricate detail into his woodcarvings. The largest and most complex scenes also reveal his knack for creating the illusion of spatial depth through the use of distant “vanishing points” and repetitive motifs that diminish in size and seem to disappear in the distance. Such illusory techniques have been used by artists for centuries, but more often in paintings and drawings than in relief carvings.
“People who knew Kreider have remarked on this ability to live according to his own terms, characterizing him as a ‘free spirit’ who honored personal inclinations, disdained material wealth and focused on the present moment,” said Barbara Luck, Colonial Williamsburg curator of paintings and sculpture.
“Perhaps the artist’s knack for creating the illusion of spatial depth in his carvings extended to his personal philosophy, enabling him to prioritize his needs, to take life’s twists and turns in stride, and to ‘put things in perspective.'”
Much remains unknown about Kreider’s life. He was born in Lancaster, Penn., the second son of Edwin and Nora P. Kreider. He told a friend that he left home at the age of 14 because he did not like farm life and that he set off “just walking and carving.” By the 1950s, he was leading a modified hobo existence, drifting from one place to another and sustaining himself through odd jobs and the sale of his carvings.
The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum is the oldest institution in the United States dedicated solely to the collection and preservation of American folk art. It also is one of the five world-class museums belonging to Colonial Williamsburg, the largest living history museum in the country.
Located on South England Street across from the Williamsburg Lodge, the museum is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is included in any Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket or be separate one-day or annual museums ticket. For program information, call 757-220-7698.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
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