Editor's note: The Huntsville Museum of Art provided source material to Resource Library Magazine for the following article. If you have questions or comments regarding the source material, please contact the Huntsville Museum of Art directly through either this phone number or web address:
Becoming a Nation: Americana from the Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State
May 22-July 18, 2004
(above: Possibly by John Haley Bellamy (1836-1914), Eagle wall plaque, Portsmouth, N.H., ca. 1860-1880, painted and gilt pine)
The grand splendor of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms in Washington, DC, is usually reserved for high-ranking State Department personnel and foreign dignitaries. However, the public now has a unique opportunity to see the decorative and fine arts that fill these magnificent rooms.
This exhibition consists of approximately 120 objects including furniture, silver, porcelain, paintings, rugs, clocks, looking glasses, sconces and candlesticks from the Diplomatic Reception Rooms of the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C.
(above: Archibald Willard (1836-1918), The Spirit of '76, 1875, oil on canvas Attributed to the shop of Duncan Phyfe [1768-1854[)
The collection includes some of the finest examples ever produced of American fine and decorative art. Representing the "best and the brightest" of American achievements in the arts between circa 1740 and 1825, there are many masterpieces that visitors are sure to enjoy, including a Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington; a silver bowl made by Paul Revere; the Portrait of Thomas Jefferson attributed to Charles Wilson Peale; the View of Boston Harbor by Fitz Hugh Lane and many more.
"This is an exhibition not to be missed," Chief Curator Peter J. Baldaia said. "All of the objects on view are beautiful to behold. But more importantly, they tell a story -- one that chronicles how our nation progressed from Colonial status to the first great modern democracy, expanded across the vast interior to the Pacific Coast, and consolidated our ideals to emerge as a world power."
The works featured in Becoming a Nation tell the story of our young country and its developing culture and aesthetics. These icons of United States history also document the beginnings of the Department of State and the origins of American foreign policy. More than impressive decorations, these works highlight an important aspect of our nation's early years -- the fact that America shared in the elegance and grandeur of the age of enlightenment.
"There is great enthusiasm in Huntsville as we prepare to share the city's many cultural attractions with visitors and our local audiences," President and CEO Clayton Bass said.
(above: Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828), George Washington, ca. 1803-1805, oil on canvas)
The Huntsville Museum of Art is one of eight Museums selected to host Becoming a Nation: Americana from the Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State. The exhibition is organized by The Trust for Museum Exhibitions in Washington, D.C.
The itinerary for Becoming a Nation is:
Opening Presentation and Members' Reception with Jonathan Fairbanks, Guest Curator of Becoming a Nation, and Gail Serfaty, Director and Curator for the Diplomatic Reception Rooms
Film Series: Founding Fathers: The Men Who Shaped Our Nation and Changed the World
Actors James Woods, Brian Dennehy, Burt Reynolds, Michael York, and others become the voices of our founding fathers in this special film series, which helps us understand the men who forged our nation. From the first events of discontent to the fight for independence and the ratification of the Constitution, Founding Fathers reveals the personalities behind the legends and offers an intimate take on the pivotal events in the creation of the nation. The four episodes in this special collection are listed below. All videos are 50 minutes in length and free to all.
The Women's Guild Visiting Lecturer Series: Mount Vernon: A True Reflection of George Washington, Lecture by James C. Rees, Executive Director, Historic Mount Vernon
Patriot's Festival Day
Summer 2004 Camps: Becoming a Nation: Passport Through Time
Join the Museum and some of Huntsville's attractions this summer for a journey through history, art, nature, science, and space to celebrate our nation's heritage in conjunction with the Museum's exhibition Becoming a Nation: Americana from the Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State .
The Brass Band of Huntsville in Concert
Additional Museum Programs
(above: Benjamin Frothingham, Jr. (1734-1809), Bombé desk and bookcase, Charlestown, Mass., 1753, mahogany, white pine, Eastern red cedar, Spanish cedar)
(above: Attributed to the shop of Duncan Phyfe (1768-1854), Sofa, New York, ca. 1810-1820, mahogany, mahogany veneer; cherry, soft maple)
Editor's note: RLM readers may also enjoy these articles:
Please Note: TFAOI and RLM do not endorse sites behind external links.
Read more articles and essays concerning this institutional source by visiting the sub-index page for the Huntsville Museum of Art in Resource Library Magazine
Visit the Table of Contents for Resource Library Magazine for thousands of articles and essays on American art, calendars, and much more.
Copyright 2003, 2004 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.