Childe Hassam: Paintings/Prints (2019)
Childe Hassam was a well-established artist of the age of 56 when he diverted his attention to printmaking, making his public debut as an etcher in late 1915. Over the ensuing years, Hassam would go on to produce an astonishing 380 known etchings and drypoints and 45 known lithographs, sometimes working directly from nature and other times revisiting his own paintings from earlier in his career for his subject matter. After his death, Hassam’s widow donated large numbers of his prints to 40 different museums around the country (including Telfair) to ensure that his graphic legacy would be safeguarded in the collections of America’s foremost museums and would be available for study and examination to future generations of scholars of American art.
This traveling exhibition (2019-2020) and publication will be the first major scholarly study of the profound connections between Hassam’s paintings and his prints. Produced by Telfair Museums, the exhibition will pair 20 paintings with 40 prints in order to provide a thorough examination of these connections.
Sargent to Picasso: Portraits of Artists and Patrons (2018)
This exhibition, drawn largely from the Telfair's permanent collection, reverses the traditional narrative of portraiture by placing the artist or patron in the role of subject. These portraits are often bolder in technique and style, allowing for more experimentation than commissioned portraits. Spotlighting paintings by John Singer Sargent and Pablo Picasso, the exhibition reveals the abiding interest in portraits of artists and patrons from the Gilded Age in the late nineteenth century through Cubism in the early twentieth century.
Scenic Impressions: Southern Interpretations from the Johnson Collection (2017)
In its presentation of some forty paintings created between 1880 and 1940—including landscapes and genre scenes—Scenic Impressions traces an international aesthetic’s journey to and germination in the American South. Featured artists include Wayman Adams, Colin Campbell Cooper, Elliott Daingerfield, G. Ruger Donoho, James Herring, Alfred Hutty, John Ross Key, Blondelle Malone, Lawrence Mazzanovich, Paul Plaschke, Hattie Saussy, Alice Ravenel Huger Smith, Anthony Thieme, Helen Turner, and Ellsworth Woodward, artists who explored local color to produce, in the words of the popular and prolific American Impressionist Childe Hassam, “some things that are charming.”
One Hundred Years of Harmony: Paintings by Gari Melchers (2016)
Telfair commemorates the 100th anniversary of the acquisition of one of its most beloved paintings, The Unpretentious Garden by Gari Melchers, with an exhibition celebrating the artist's virtuosic ability to capture blissful, domestic scenes. The painting, now one of the most beloved in the museum's collection, was acquired to commemorate the end of Melchers' tenure as the Telfair's fine arts advisor from 1906 to 1916. During that crucial decade, Melchers facilitated the purchase of many of the museum's best-known works, including iconic canvases by George Bellows, Childe Hassam, and Robert Henri.
Face to Face: American Portraits (2016)
Spanning the period from the American Revolution to World War II, the paintings in this exhibition demonstrate the broad range of American portraiture found in Telfair’s permanent collection. The exhibition begins with work by important early American portraitists Rembrandt Peale, Jeremiah Theus, and Henry Benbridge, and also includes iconic portraitists John Singer Sargent and Samuel F. B. Morse. The exhibition also features the very special “lost study” of a portrait of Teddy Roosevelt by Gari Melchers (the full-size work is in the collection of the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art), on loan from a private New York collection.
Monet and American Impressionism (2015)
Monet and American Impressionism highlighted the work of more than 20 American artists who launched a new way of painting in response to the influence of French Impressionism. The exhibition presented four paintings by Claude Monet alongside roughly 50 paintings and 20 prints by many of the leading figures of American Impressionism, such as Mary Cassatt, William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, Willard Metcalf, Theodore Robinson, John Henry Twachtman, and J. Alden Weir. These artists adapted the innovations of French Impressionism and ultimately paved the way to a uniquely American style of painting in the late nineteenth century. The exhibition included six major American Impressionist paintings from Telfair’s own collection, providing visitors with the opportunity to view these beloved and familiar works in a new context. Exhibition was co-organized with the Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida and the Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN.
Romantic Spirits: Nineteenth-Century Paintings from the Johnson Collection (2013)
Spanning the years 1810–1896, this exhibition examined the core concepts of the romantic movement as it unfolded in fine art of the American South. The same ideals found in the canvases of the Hudson River School also colored the art of painters who found their inspiration and audience in the South. In this study of thirty-two artists—including William Dickinson Washington, William Thompson Russell Smith, Gustave Henry Mosler, Thomas Addison Richards, Joseph Rusling Meeker, Robert Walter Weir, and Thomas Sully—the exhibition delineated the historical, social, and cultural forces that profoundly influenced their aesthetic sensibilities. The works in this exhibition were drawn from the Johnson Collection in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
African American Artists and the Great Migration from the Telfair Museums and Walter O. Evans Collections (2013)
This exhibition, drawn from the collections of Telfair Museums and Savannah native Walter O. Evans, focused on African American artists who were participants in the Great Migration or who told the story of this important part of American history. Between 1910 and the beginning of World War II, more than one and one half million African Americans left the south in search of greater opportunity and freedom from the discrimination and Jim Crow laws of the segregated south. This Great Migration directly affected African American artists in many ways, from southerners who relocated during this period, to artists who were already living in the North observing history in the making. Artists included Romare Bearden, Augusta Savage, Dox Thrash and Jacob Lawrence. Together these examples represent a small sampling of work by artists whose lives intertwined with this landmark event in U.S. history.
Spanish Sojourns: Robert Henri and the Spirit of Spain (2013)
Spanish Sojourns: Robert Henri and the Spirit of Spain was the first museum exhibition dedicated to the Spanish paintings of Robert Henri, one of the most influential American artists of the early 20th century. Henri traveled to Spain seven times between 1900 and 1926 and produced a substantial body of work inspired by that country’s citizens and culture. His portraits present a dazzling cross-section of Spanish society—famous dancers, dashing bullfighters, spirited gypsies, blind street singers and weathered old peasants—as he masterfully captures the spirit of unique individuals. Henri’s Spanish canvases were well received during his lifetime; many quickly found homes in prominent museum collections around the country.
The exhibition, organized by Telfair Museums, featured more than forty of Henri’s Spanish works, including Spanish Gypsy on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, its first acquisition by an Ashcan School artist. Together, the paintings revealed Henri’s ongoing commitment to portraying the essence of Spanish tradition. Spanish Sojourns toured nationally and was accompanied by a fully illustrated hardcover catalogue that presents new scholarship on Henri and places his work in the context of the other American artists, architects and writers who were inspired by Spain in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
This exhibition was made possible by the generous support from the Terra Foundation for American Art, the Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.