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Red, White, and Blue: American Patriotic Images
July 4 October 26, 2003
A new exhibition showcasing patriotic themes in American fine, folk, and decorative arts from the late 18th through early 20th centuries is on view July 4 October 26, 2003 at Shelburne Museum. Red, White, and Blue: American Patriotic Images is installed in the recently renovated Stagecoach Inn Gallery and combines 50 examples of distinctly patriotic imagery from the museum's holdings of paintings, decorative arts, textiles, folk art sculpture, trade signs, toys, and utilitarian objects. (right: Fish with Flag, Trade sign fragment, Maker unknown, Found in upstate New York, Mid-19th century, Painted wood and sheet iron, H: 34"; W: 61"; D: 1" - The fish and flag were likely part of a trade sign for an inn or tavern)
Shelburne Museum's collections of art, architecture, and Americana are in and of themselves documents of evolving American aesthetics from the settlement era to the mid 20th-century, but some pieces are more pointedly celebratory of national pride than others. Potent symbols such as eagles, American flags, the "liberty" icon, and leaders including George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are consistently present in artistic mediums as disparate as scrimshaw (carved whale's tooth), oil paintings, and porcelain. In addition to works of fine and decorative art, Red, White, and Blue also includes a charming array of artifacts originally created with strictly utilitarian purposes in mind: coins, razors, flasks, hatboxes, and penny banks for example. Common to each piece in the exhibition, whether a complete artistic expression or the embellishment of an everyday object, is imagery celebrating American identity and patriotism.
Highlights of Red, White, and Blue include:
Red, White, and Blue is installed in the Stagecoach Inn Gallery, a 1782 house renovated in 2001 - 2002. The exhibition is one of four new exhibitions at Shelburne in 2003, and is organized by Henry Joyce, chief curator at the museum.
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