Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center / DeWitt Wallace Gallery

Colonial Williamsburg / Williamsburg, VA



The Kingdoms of Edward Hicks


The life and work of Edward Hicks, one of the best known and most beloved of American folk painters, is the subject of "The Kingdoms of Edward Hicks," on display at Colonial Williamsburg's Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center through Sept. 6, 1999.

Colonial Williamsburg's Hicks collection is the largest in the world. The exhibition - with more than 80 objects from the foundation's collection and on loan - including 30 of the Peaceable Kingdom paintings - will be the most important and comprehensive display of Hicks' works ever. The Peaceable Kingdom series, painted between 1816 and Hicks' death in 1849, includes his best known creations and their strong moral appeal has spanned several generations.

Carolyn J. Weekley, director of museums for Colonial Williamsburg and curator of the exhibition, has written a comprehensive book which examines Hicks' multifaceted career as well as his complex personality. "in his dual roles in life as a Quaker minister and as a painter, Hicks taught moral and religious values based on the Isaiah prophecy of peaceful coexistence," said Weekley. "His art and ministry together embraced universal concerns and the challenge of attempting to solve them peacefully."

The book accompanying the exhibition, also entitled "The Kingdoms of Edward Hicks," is co-published by Colonial Williamsburg and Harry N. Abrams, Inc. in New York. The publication was supported by a generous grant from Juli and David Grainger of Winnetka, IL, and the Grainger Foundation. Support for the exhibition came from additional grants from the Henry Luce Foundation in New York, N.Y., and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation of Miami, Fla.

Following its debut in Williamsburg, the exhibition will travel for two years within the United States to the following locations: The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Oct. 10, 1999 - Jan. 2, 2000; The Denver Art Museum, Feb. 12 - April 30, 2000; and The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (M.H. de Young Memorial Museum), Sept. 24, 2000- Jan. 7, 2001.

The award winning Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center is the oldest institution in the U.S. devoted exclusively to collecting, exhibiting and researching American folk art. The center is open daily (except Thursdays) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 4 through March 12, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 13 through Dec. 31. It is on South England Street across from the Williamsburg Lodge. Admission is by Colonial Williamsburg Good Neighbor Card, Patriot's Pass, Basic Ticket, Colonist's Pass or Museums Ticket. For program information, call (757) 220-7724.

Images from top to bottom: Peaceable Kingdom, 1822-25, oil on canvas. As one of several known early kingdom pictures, this example boasts a lettered border that paraphrases the Isaiah prophecy, the biblical theme that inspired the entire series. (1967.101.1); Peaceable Kingdom, 1832-34, oil on canvas. One of the artist's finest kingdom pictures, it typifies the sophisticated formats Hicks developed in mid career. The prominent and centrally placed seated lion has relinquished his self-will by eating grain instead of meat, his normal diet. (1932.101.1): Henry Van Hom Signboard, 1800-05, oil on board. Originally painted by Henry Van Horn, a carpenter in Bucks County, Pa. Its imagery of a coffin, chest of drawers and cradle signified items useful throughout one's lifetime--from cradle to grave. (1986.707.1); Penn's Treaty, 1840-45, oil on canvas. Hicks painted numerous versions of the Quaker William Penn famous peace treaty with the Lenape Indians in Pennsylvania. The event typified for Hicks and other Quakers mankind's ability to live in harmony. (1958.101.3); Residence of David Twining, 1845-47, oil on canvas. Hicks went to live with David and Elizabeth Twining in 1783. The scene is a "memory" picture, and recalls Hicks' young life among this prosperous Bucks County Quaker family. Painted for Charles Leedom, it depicted his parents Jesse and Mary Twining Leedom. (1933.101.1); Leedom Farm, 1849, oil on canvas. David Leedom, was the first owner of this magnificent farmscape by the artist. It was painted by Hicks at age 70, several months before his death. Its luminous sky; orderly arrangement of livestock and other features captures the quiet, harmonious life so important to Hicks and other Quakers. (1957.101.4). All images courtesy of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, Va.

Read more about the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center / DeWitt Wallace Gallery in Resource Library Magazine

For further biographical information on Edward Hicks please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 10/18/10

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