A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America


Opening Reception: Saturday, July 9, 2016 from 6:30pm-8:00pm

Drawn from the private collection of Barbara L. Gordon, this exhibition tells the story of the extraordinary work created by self-taught or minimally trained artists in New England, the Midwest, the Mid-Atlantic, and the South between 1800 and 1925. Made by artists in rural areas, these works did not always adhere to the academic models that established artistic taste in urban centers of the East Coast. Yet, because of the large number of professional and amateur artists who created folk art in the years following the Nation’s founding — and the sheer quantity of art they produced — folk art was the prevalent art form in the United States for more than a century.

The exhibition features more than 60 works by some of the most admired nineteenth century American artists, including rare and very fine portraits by such artists as Ammi Phillips and John Brewster, Jr.; vivid still lifes, allegorical scenes and landscapes, including a mature Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks; whimsical trade signs and figure and animal sculptures; unique household objects and distinctive examples of furniture from the German American community. In total, they exemplify the breadth of American creative expression during a period of enormous political, social, and cultural change in the United States. The exhibition is drawn from the Barbara L. Gordon Collection and is organized and circulated by Art Services International, Alexandria, VA.

A Shared Legacy is supported by the Hillman Exhibition Fund of The Westmoreland Museum of American Art.