Published: May 25, 2004
“Point of View: American Folk Art from the William and Ann Oppenhimer Collection,” an exhibition featuring more than 85 works of art by 50 artists – including Howard Finster, Bessie Harvey and Noah Kinney – collected over 30 years by William and Ann Oppenhimer of Richmond, Va., will be on view at the Morris Museum of Art, May 28-August 15.
The Oppenhimers began collecting folk art after a visit with Miles Carpenter in Waverly, Va. Ann Oppenhimer recalls, “I discovered a wonderful person creating wonderful art, and this was the beginning of many visits to meet other artists and to see the art we came to know as folk art.”
In 1982 the Oppenhimers met and befriended Howard Finster, perhaps the best-known American folk artist, at his home in Summerville, Ga. Ann Oppenhimer remarked, “With our car full of Finster’s small cutouts, scrap art, gourds and mirrored boxes, we drove away, and our lives have never been the same.” The Oppenhimers remained close friends with the artist until his death in 2001.
Founders of the Folk Art Society of American (and publisher and editor of its journal, Folk Art Messenger), the Oppenhimers attribute their decision to share their enthusiasm with other like-minded collectors to Finster. Their decision to start the Folk Art Society resulted from the success of a Howard Finster festival organized by Ann Oppenhimer at the University of Richmond in 1984. In 1987, the society was formed as a nationwide organization hosting annual conferences and publishing articles by fellow scholars and collectors in its journal.
Organized by the Marsh Art Gallery, University of Richmond Museums, Virginia, “Point of View” has toured continuously since 2002, appearing at the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts, Farmville, Va.; Terrace Gallery of the City of Orlando, Fla.; and the Art Museum of Western Virginia, Roanoke, Va., among other venues. A 72-page catalog published by University of Richmond Museums accompanies the exhibition.
Docent tours at 2 pm will be offered on Sunday, May 30 and August 15.
On Thursday, June 10, at 7 pm, the lecture “Good, Better, Best: Connoisseurship in Self-Taught Art” will be presented by Brooke Davis Anderson, director and curator, Contemporary Center, Museum of American Folk Art, New York City.
On Thursday, August 12, “Folk Art: A Collector’s Perspective will be discussed by Dr Everette James.
On Saturday, August 21 the museum will offer a trip to Atlanta’s Folk Fest 2004 where 90 galleries and dealers will sell self-taught art, outsider art, antique and contemporary folk art and Southern folk pottery.
For trip information, contact 706-724-7501.
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