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Reynolda House Fall Season to Celebrate the American Farm, Debut Exclusive Exhibition featuring American Artist Grant Wood

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (July 11, 2016) –  A new exhibition opening this fall at Reynolda House Museum of American Art will celebrate Americans’ renewed interest in knowing where their food comes from, while tracing how the family farm has shaped Americans’ identities for centuries.

“Grant Wood and the American Farm” will open at Reynolda House Sept. 9 and will be on view through Dec. 31. Reynolda House’s Wood masterpiece, “Spring Turning,” will feature prominently alongside 35 works of art on loan from 17 museums from around the country. The exhibition will also include historic North Carolina farm equipment. “Grant Wood and the American Farm” is curated especially for Reynolda House—its only venue—by the museum’s curator, Allison Slaby.

“The family farm occupies a central place in American identity,” Slaby says. “Even as we have transitioned from a rural society to a more industrialized one, the ideals of the farm and farmer—independence, humility and diligence—have remained.”

“Grant Wood and the American Farm” will trace the evolution of this notion over a period of 100 years, from 1850 to 1950. It will give particular attention to the Regionalist artist Grant Wood, exploring his agrarian landscapes and situating the artist as someone both responding to the tradition of the agrarian ideal and creating new pictorial representations of that ideal.

Slaby asked some of the nation’s most prestigious museums to loan works for the show, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Gallery of Art. She also turned to a private collection, the collection of Ernest Fackelman and Cynthia Skaar, for nine stunning Grant Wood lithographs.  

“Everyone has a farm somewhere in their past; everyone has a farm story,” says Cynthia Skaar, who is loaning the Wood lithographs to the museum.

Reynolda House plans to tap into the idea that visitors to the exhibition will find personal connections to it. The museum will encourage visitors to share images and stories via a hashtag on social media, #reynoldafarm, throughout the exhibition season.

Reynolda has its own farm story that will be shared in a complementary exhibition on view starting October 29, “Reynolda at 100: Reynolda Farm.” Drawn largely from the historic photographs and manuscript collections from the Reynolda House Archives, many on display for the first time, the exhibition will illustrate the impact of the Reynolda farm on local agriculture and the context and conditions of life at Reynolda.

Described in 1917 as an “experiment station,” Reynolda Farm was a model farm and dairy where local farmers could learn the newest techniques in scientific agriculture, dairying, livestock raising and horticulture.

“At that time, Piedmont farmers were reliant upon growing tobacco as the regional cash crop,” says Bari Helms, Reynolda House’s director of archives and library, and the archival exhibition’s curator. “But Katharine Smith Reynolds intended her farm to demonstrate that diversified agriculture could be both healthful and profitable.”

Both exhibitions will be included in the price of admission to Reynolda House. Admission is $14 for adults, and free for children, students, and members of the museum. Tickets for the fall season will go on sale late summer, following the close of the museum’s record-breaking exhibition “Ansel Adams: Eloquent Light,” which closes July 17.

Reynolda House is grateful for the support of “Grant Wood and the American Farm” from Major Sponsor Cynthia Skaar, in loving remembrance of Ernest J. Fackelman—an ardent collector; Lead Sponsors Keith and Ruth Kooken; Contributing Sponsors Bruce and Anne Babcock, and Lynette Matthews-Murphy and Lynn Murphy, honoring their parents, Dorothy & William Chandler and Mary & Tom Murphy; and Exhibition Partner North Carolina Farm Bureau. Sponsorships are still available for the exhibition. For information on sponsoring the exhibition, contact Stephan Dragisic, Director of Development, at 336.758.5595 or dragissm@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 collection.  Affiliated with Wake Forest University, Reynolda House features changing exhibitions, concerts, lectures, classes, film screenings, and other events. The museum is located at 2250 Reynolda Rd. 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. Connect at @CurateReynolda or Facebook.com/rhmaa.