Savannah's Bonaventure Cemetery (2017)
The allure of Savannah's Bonaventure Cemetery has captured the imagination of artists for generations. This exhibition, drawn largely from the Telfair's collection, explores more than 250 years of art ranging from photographs of Civil War photography George Barnard to Jack Leigh's iconic 20th century photograph of the Bird Girl statue, made famous on the cover of the Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
STICK MEN: SAVANNAH FOLK ART CANES AND WOOD SCULPTURE (2016)
Since the early 20th century, woodcarvings and carved walking sticks were noted in writings and photographs about the Savannah area. For example, walking sticks by African American woodcarvers in Savannah and Southeast Georgia were featured in the WPA-funded Georgia Writers Project publication Drums and Shadows in 1940. Sometimes discussed in terms of a lingering African aesthetic in the traditional arts of the American South, these works point to a strong tradition of carving and creating “personal sculpture” — a tradition still alive in Savannah today. Largely drawn from Telfair’s permanent collection of folk art, Stick Men celebrates this rich artistic heritage in a focused exhibition.
Ray Ellis (2014)
When celebrated artist Ray Ellis passed away at the age of 92, he left behind a legacy of artistic achievement that spanned nearly eight decades. Beloved for his iconic images of Martha’s Vineyard and the Lowcountry of Georgia and South Carolina, Ellis combined his grounding in art history with his personal sensitivity to landscape and marine scenes. Telfair Museums celebrates the life and career of this accomplished artist through this presentation of the four fine examples of his work found in the museum’s permanent collection.
Port City: The Savannah Riverfront through Artists’ Eyes (2014)
Since the founding of Savannah in 1733, artists have gravitated toward the city’s waterfront. Drawn from local collections, the Library of Congress, and Telfair's own collection, Port City told the story of the Savannah riverfront as depicted by artists in prints, drawings, paintings, and photographs from the 1730s to the present. The exhibition began with the best-known early image of Savannah, a 1734 engraving that shows General James Oglethorpe’s famous plan for the city taking shape on the bluff above the river, and offered viewers glimpses of Civil War river activity in drawings by William Waud and photographs by George N. Barnard. Eliot Clark’s moody, nocturnal paintings of River Street capture the industrial waterfront of the early twentieth century, and vessels plying the river in the twentieth century were documented by self-taught artist and sailor William O. Golding.
Women Artists in Savannah, 1920–1960 (2014)
The period of 1920 through 1960 saw the development of a vibrant artistic community in Savannah, with the creation of artist groups working in tandem with the Telfair to organize exhibitions, provide art instruction, and bring visiting artists to Savannah. This exhibition showcases approximately twenty works that celebrate the crucial role that female artists played in the artistic life of Savannah during this period.
The Paintings of Anne Taylor Nash (2014)
Over the course of her artistic career, Anne Taylor Nash (1884–1968) produced an admirable body of work, mainly portraits, demonstrating her keen eye for color and composition in both her formal, commissioned portraits and her more relaxed likenesses of family and friends. Nash and her family moved to Savannah in 1937, where she spent the remainder of her life as an active participant in Savannah’s art scene. She exhibited her work at the Telfair Academy with the Savannah Art Club on at least ten different occasions from 1931 to 1958. Given her long association with the museum, Telfair was delighted to present the first solo museum exhibition of her work since her 1933 show at the Gibbes Museum in Charleston.
A Native Son: Paintings by West Fraser (2012)
Despite coming of age at a time when modernism and abstraction had achieved a firm hold on the prevailing modes of art instruction throughout the country, West Fraser has remained a traditionalist, earning a place among the region’s leading practitioners of traditional realism. Fraser was born in Savannah, Georgia, in 1955 and has spent most of the past three decades methodically chronicling lives and landscapes in the South Carolina Low Country and coastal Georgia. He is particularly well known for his luminous landscapes (many of which are painted en plein air) and engaging city scenes. A Native Son: Paintings by West Fraser is the artist’s first solo exhibition at Telfair Museums; it considers the landscapes, marine views, and city scenes for which Fraser is best known, as well as travel paintings created around the world and figure-based compositions depicting family, friends, and the artist himself.