Distinguished Speakers Add Meaning to "Virtue, Vice, Wisdom & Folly" at Reynolda House Museum of American Art
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Contact: Sharyn Turner 336.758.5580 firstname.lastname@example.org or
Sarah R. Smith 336.758.5524 email@example.com
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (September 21, 2010) Reynolda House Museum of American Art has invited three noted art scholars to discuss aspects of the art and artists represented in the exhibition, "Virtue, Vice, Wisdom & Folly: The Moralizing Tradition in American Art."
The Distinguished Speaker Series will begin on Tuesday, Sept. 28 at 5:30 p.m. with a talk by Chief Curator of the Hunter Museum of American Art Ellen Simak in a presentation titled, "Lilly Martin Spencer: Women's Work." British-born Lilly Martin (18221902) settled with her family in Marietta, Ohio, where her talent for art was discovered and encouraged from an early age. She studied with local artists before later moving to Cincinnati, where she quickly became a leading local artist herself. Following her marriage to Benjamin R. Spencer in 1844, the couple moved to New York City in 1848, where her work had already been exhibited at the National Academy of Design and the American Art-Union.
Although often in some financial distress, she continued to work, whether in oil on canvas, illustration for books and magazines, or in portraits on commission until her death. Lilly Martin Spencer is recognized as an unusually successful and independent female artist, the sole bread-winner of her own family.
Referencing Spencer's painting, "The Young Husband: First Marketing," on view in the exhibition, Ellen Simak will discuss the artist's treatment of the conventions of domestic life in the mid-19th century, her humorous scenes of family life, and the longevity of her career.
On Tuesday, Oct. 12 at 5:30 p.m. University of Pennsylvania Professor of Art History Michael Leja, winner of a 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship, will discuss "Winslow Homer and the Composite Image." Leja will concentrate on Homer's composite works produced for "Harper's Weekly" and other publications in the context of industrialized picture production. He is especially interested in the ways "pictures" changed during this period, the social relations associated with this industrialization, and the formation of a mass market for images in the mid-19th century.
The final distinguished speaker in the series will be Brian Allen, the Mary Stripp & R. Crosby Kemper Director of the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy, on Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 5:30 p.m. His talk, titled "Eastman Johnson: Abolition and Patriotism" will reference the artist whose work, "The Storyteller of the Camp (Maple Sugar Camp)," circa 1861, is an important component of the "Virtue, Vice, Wisdom & Folly" exhibition and one of Reynolda House's best-loved paintings.
Eastman Johnson (18241906), a prominent painter of genre scenes and portraits, produced a series of "sugaring off" scenes which celebrate the boiling of the first maple sap, a community event in the mid-19th century and part of the New England culture today. Johnson's paintings are full of nostalgia for traditional values and those characteristics of ingenuity, ruggedness, independence, and community spirit. Painted during the early 1860s, they offer an important message about the ideals of freedom during the tumult of the Civil War.
Allen is the former curator of American painting at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, and he organized and wrote the catalogue for the exhibition "Sugaring Off: The Maple Sugar Paintings of Eastman Johnson."
Admission to each lecture is $5 for non-members, free to members and students. For information, please call 336.758.5150 or visit reynoldahouse.org.
Reynolda House Museum of American Art is one of the nation's premier American art museums, with masterpieces by Mary Cassatt, Frederic Church, Jacob Lawrence, Georgia O'Keeffe and Gilbert Stuart among its permanent collection. Affiliated with Wake Forest University, Reynolda House features traveling and original exhibitions, concerts, lectures, classes, film screenings and other events. The museum is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in the historic 1917 estate of Katharine Smith Reynolds and her husband, Richard Joshua Reynolds, founder of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Reynolda House and adjacent Reynolda Gardens and Reynolda Village feature a spectacular public garden, dining, shopping and walking trails. For more information, please visit reynoldahouse.org or call 336.758.5150. ##