The American tradition of art made by “self-taught “or “folk” artists is a rich byproduct of our country’s two centuries of multi-cultural experiences and expressions. Present in a myriad of forms and styles, and produced in many locales, these works are increasingly being seen as important elements in the larger scope of American art history.
A Shared Legacy showcases more than 60 works by some of the most admired 19th-century American artists in this genre, which dominated artistic production in the early years of the American republic. Included are rare and very fine portraits by such artists as Ammi Phillips (1788–1865) and John Brewster, Jr. (1766–1864); vivid still lifes, allegorical scenes, and landscapes; whimsical trade signs, and figure and animal sculpture; 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 works are drawn from the collection of Barbara L. Gordon. Over the past 20 years, Gordon has assembled a broad-reaching collection of American paintings, sculpture, furniture, and related decorative arts of the highest quality. The appreciation of this superb collection provides a path to seeing the importance of folk traditions and their significant conversation with academic art in the United States.
Above: Photograph of the 2016 installation of the exhibition at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.
These pieces exemplify the breadth of American creative expression during a period of enormous political, social, and cultural change in the United States.
This exhibition is drawn from the Barbara L. Gordon Collection and is organized and circulated by Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia.
Support for this exhibition was provided by Sandra and Joe Mcinnes, ARONOV, Doug Lowe, and the 2015 Junior Executive Board. Additional support was provided by Harmon Dennis Bradshaw; River Bank; Aldridge, Borden, and Company; and Carolyn and Dr. Alfred Newman, Jr.