Early Childhood Annual Student Exhibition

VMFA is pleased to present works of art selected from our Early Childhood Education programs. Each work on display was created in one of our many programs designed to reach children ages three months to five years. These works demonstrate the diverse experiences our youngest audiences gain through these exciting and popular programs.

VMFA’s Early Childhood Education programs connect early learning to the museum’s world-renowned collection. Students enjoy play, music, and movement activities, gallery walks, and multisensory art projects. While building self-awareness and social skills, diverse subjects are explored, including world cultures, science, literature, and mathematics.

Youth & Teen Studio Programs: Student Art Show 2020-21

The Golden Mask, Oct 2020
Let Them Eat Cake!, Feb 2021
Rainbow Flowers, Mar 2021
Untitled, Sep 2020

VMFA is pleased to present artworks by participants in our Youth & Teen Studio classes for ages five through seventeen. Each work was selected by the instructors based on the student’s enthusiasm, creativity, and artistic process. Not limited to only art, our professional artists and educators also integrate learning about bath, science, history, and technology, as they correlate with the Virginia Standards of Learning.

Though classes looked a little different this past year, VMFA was committed to maintaining an exceptional hands-on learning environment for our students. The Youth & Family Studio staff was grateful to be able to provide a space for children and teens to socialize and learn together safely in-person, as they discovered new cultures, histories, artists, and a range of art mediums and techniques. This environment fostered a unique sense of camaraderie as students could develop new passions and forge friendships in ways not possible during in this era of virtual learning. Access to quality art supplies, dedicated and talented instructors, and proximity to a world-class art collection set these programs apart from any other.

We hope you enjoy this showcase of the accomplishments and talent of VMFA’s skilled students!

Fall/spring programs will resume in September at the conclusion of summer camps. Check out our workshops and class offerings on our website: www.vmfa.museum/youth-studio.

The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse

Valerie Cassel Oliver stands before Caspera, the 2019 inkjet print mounted on dibond by RaMell Ross (American, born 1982). Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, National Endowment for the Arts Fund for American Art. Photo by Sandra Sellars © 2021 Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse, organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, investigates the aesthetic impulses of early 20th-century Black culture that have proved ubiquitous to the southern region of the United States. The exhibition chronicles the pervasive sonic and visual parallels that have served to shape the contemporary landscape, and looks deeply into the frameworks of landscape, religion, and the Black body—deep meditative repositories of thought and expression. Within the visual expression, assemblage, collage, appropriation, and sonic transference are explored as deeply connected to music tradition. The visual expression of the African American South along with the Black sonic culture are overlooked tributaries to the development of art in the United States and serve as interlocutors of American modernism. This exhibition looks to the contributions of artists, academically trained as well as those who were relegated to the margins as “outsiders,” to uncover the foundational aesthetics that gave rise to the shaping of our contemporary expression.

Curated by Valerie Cassel Oliver, VMFA’s Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, the groundbreaking exhibition explores the legacies of traditional southern aesthetics in contemporary culture and features multiple generations of artists working in a variety of genres. Among those featured in the exhibition are Thornton Dial, Allison Janae Hamilton, Arthur Jafa, Jason Moran, Sister Gertrude Morgan, Kara Walker, William Edmondson, and many others. Inherent to this discourse is the rise of southern hip-hop. The exhibition’s presentation of visual and sonic culture looks to contemporary southern hip-hop as a portal into the roots and aesthetic legacies that have long been acknowledged as “Southern” in culture, philosophical thought, and expression.

In addition to the music, the exhibition features the contemporary material culture that emerges in its wake, such as “grillz” worn as body adornment and bodily extensions such as SLAB(s) (an acronym for slow, low and banging). In highlighting the significance of car culture, the museum has commissioned a SLAB by Richard “Fiend” Jones. At its essence, southern car culture, showcases the trajectory of contemporary assemblage often highlighted in southern musical expression. Other such aspects are explored across genres over the course of a century. Beginning in the 1920s with jazz and blues, the exhibition interweaves parallels of visual and sonic culture and highlights each movement with the work of contemporary artists, creating a bridge between what has long been divided between “high” and “low” cultures. The exhibition features commercial videos and personal effects of some of the music industry’s most iconic artists—from Bo Diddley to Cee Lo Green.

See a List of Artists Featured in the Exhibition

At VMFA, a visitor experiences Asterisks in Dockery (Blues for Smoke). Created in 2012, the installation of  vinyl, thread, wood, paint, and lightbulb is by Rodney McMillian (American, born 1969. Loan from Susanne Vielmetter Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo by Sandra Sellars @ 2021 Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

At VMFA, a visitor experiences Asterisks in Dockery (Blues for Smoke). Created in 2012, the installation of vinyl, thread, wood, paint, and lightbulb is by Rodney McMillian (American, born 1969. Loan from Susanne Vielmetter Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo by Sandra Sellars @ 2021 Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Ultimately, The Dirty South creates a meta-understanding of southern expression—as personified in the visual arts, material culture, and music—as an extension of America’s first conceptual artists, those of African descent. The exhibition traces across time and history, the indelible imprint of this legacy as seen through the visual and sonic culture of today.

Cassel Oliver is also the editor of the companion publication, which will function as an essential reader on Black material and sonic culture and demonstrate its impact on contemporary art from the 1950s to the present. Featuring an anthology of critical essays by scholars such as Fred Moten, Anthony Pinn, Regina Bradley, Rhea Combs, and Guthrie Ramsey, the illustrated catalogue will document works in the exhibition as well as artists’ biographies and a chronology of iconic moments that have shaped the Black presence in the South.

VMFA has also commissioned an LP by Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky aka That Subliminal Kid for the exhibition.

Presented by

The Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Exhibition Endowment
The Julia Louise Reynolds Fund

Fabergé Ball Endowment

Joan P. Brock
Wayne and Nancy Chasen Family Fund at the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas F. Garner, Jr.
Dr. and Mrs. William V. Garner
James W. Klaus
Mr. Hubert G. Phipps
Don and Mary Shockey
Troutman Pepper

Melody Barnes and Marland Buckner
Carol Ann Bischoff and Mike Regan
Liz and Bob Blue
Kristen Cavallo
The Council of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
David and Susan Goode
Goode Family Foundation, Christina Goode and Martha Goode Mielnik
Mr. Paul W. and Dr. Fredrika Jacobs
Teri Craig Miles
Jacquelyn H. Pogue in memory of Robert E. Pogue
Radio One
Richmond (VA) Chapter, The Links, Incorporated
Pamela K. Royall
The Sotheby’s Prize

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Marketing support for this exhibition is provided by the Charles G. Thalhimer Fund.

VMFA is also grateful to the following Sponsors:

Alpha Beta Boule Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity | Van Baskins and Marc Purintun | Cathy and Howard Bos | Ms. Caprice Bragg and Mr. Larry Thomas | Noelle J. Coates | John W. Collier III and True Harrigan | Kate and Matt Cooper | Drs. Ronald A. and Betty Neal Crutcher | Philip and Kay Davidson | Molly Dodge | Dr. J. Mark Evans and Dr. Tanise Edwards | BK Fulton and Jacquelyn E. Stone |The Doris Glisson Memorial Fund | Paige and Philip Goodpasture | Jim and Millie Green | Doctors Jill and Monroe Harris | Barbara Noble and Dr. Chris Howard | Nancy and Peter Huber | Steve and Wendy Humble | Mike and Sally Hunnicutt | Eucharia Jackson and Richard Jackson, M.D. | Ivan Jecklin and Allison Weinstein | The Honorable C. N. Jenkins, Jr. and Dr. Pamela Royal | Jershon Jones | Wes and Jennifer Kaufman | Denise Keane, Leonard Mandl, and Graham Mandl | Karen and Pat Kelly | Diane Leopold and Tom Wohlfarth | Paul and Sara Monroe | Gift in memory of Judy B. Witcher Motley, beloved wife | Jay and Marsha Olander | Suzy Szasz Palmer and Larry I. Palmer | Angel and Tom Papa | Dr. and Mrs. Carl Patow | Leigh and Jim Purcell | Andrew and Robin Schirrmeister | Irvin and Linda Seeman | Tracy and Tom Stallings | Mr. and Mrs. John Stark | Andrea Gray Stillman | Sahil and Rupa Tak | Dr. Michael R. Taylor and Dr. Sarah G. Powers | Marcia and Harry Thalhimer | Maggi Tinsley | Randy and Lelia Graham Webb | West Cary Group | Ms. Kimberly J. Wilson

This list represents sponsors as of July 28, 2021.

Romantic Bronzes

This exhibition showcases more than thirty extraordinary works by the 19th-century French sculptor Antoine-Louis Barye that Mrs. Nelson L. St. Clair Jr. generously donated to VMFA over the past 20 years. Each of the works in the St. Clair collection of Barye bronzes has been meticulously selected with an admirable degree of expert connoisseurship. These works are not only among the finest that the artist produced but also illustrate distinctive aspects of the medium, style, and historical period in which they were realized. Romantic Bronzes, curated by Dr. Sylvain Cordier, Paul Mellon Curator and Head of the Department of European Art, is both a celebration of this special donation and an invitation to learn about the various motivations and techniques involved in the art of bronze casting in the age of Romanticism.

Tsherin Sherpa: Spirits

Explore the captivating and sublime paintings and sculpture of Nepalese-born Tibetan American contemporary artist Tsherin Sherpa. VMFA presents the global artist’s first museum exhibition as a focused retrospective, tracing his groundbreaking career. In this thought-provoking, participatory art experience, the works on view form a narrative arc of both autobiography and social commentary, addressing loss, struggle, and re-empowerment. Collected and shown worldwide, Sherpa’s artwork has garnered international acclaim and was featured in VMFA’s 2019 exhibition Awaken. Tsherin Sherpa: Spirits is curated by John Henry Rice, VMFA’s E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Curator of South Asian and Islamic Art.

Tsherin Sherpa: Spirits is organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

The exhibition program at VMFA is supported by the Julia Louise Reynolds Fund.

IMAGE Tara Gaga, 2016, Tsherin Sherpa (Nepalese, born 1968), gold leaf, acrylic, and ink on cotton, Tsherin Sherpa (born 1968), Private Collection, Dubai

Whistler to Cassatt: American Painters in France

Rediscover painters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries who left the United States as expatriates and returned as some of the greatest influencers to shape the course of American art. Whistler to Cassatt: American Painters in France examines the rich variety and complexity of American painting in the advent of modernism, as French avant-garde philosophies and techniques melded with American individualism. The exhibition showcases paintings by James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Mary Cassatt, and John Singer Sargent, and includes works by Childe Hassam, Theodore Robinson, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Elizabeth Nourse, Cecilia Beaux, and many others. Curated by Dr. Susan J. Rawles, VMFA’s Elizabeth Locke Associate Curator of American Decorative Arts, Whistler to Cassatt features more than 100 works of art in a range of media.

Whistler to Cassatt: American Painters in France is organized by the Denver Art Museum.

The exhibition program at VMFA is supported by the Julia Louise Reynolds Fund.

Exhibition Sponsors

National Tour Sponsor

Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Exhibition Endowment
Julia Louise Reynolds Fund

Elisabeth Shelton Gottwald Fund
Wyeth Foundation

IMAGE Young Girl at a Window, ca. 1883–84, oil on canvas, Mary Cassatt (American, 1844–1926), Corcoran Collection (Museum Purchase, Gallery Fund), 2014.79.90, image courtesy National Gallery of Art/Open Access

Virginia Arcadia: The Natural Bridge in American Art

VMFA presents Virginia Arcadia: The Natural Bridge in American Art. Explore the artistic legacy of an iconic natural wonder. Depicted and celebrated for centuries, the Natural Bridge is the Shenandoah Valley’s breathtaking centerpiece—a towering, primeval witness to human history and timeless muse. The free exhibition examines its image in paintings, prints, decorative arts, photography and more. Featured artists include Frederic Church, David Johnson, Edward Hicks, and many others.

Virginia Arcadia: The Natural Bridge in American Art examines one of the most frequently depicted sites in American 19th-century landscape painting. It was one of the most frequently depicted and described American natural attractions of the 19th century, likely only surpassed by Niagara Falls. Natural Bridge prompts both aesthetic and scientific contemplation and has figured prominently in discussions of western expansion, slavery, tourism, and ecological conservation. While the rock formation is more than 400 million years old, the earliest published references to the natural wonder involve historical figures such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. The Natural Bridge is a site for mythmaking—the creation of American foundational lore that continues to this day. Its historical importance notwithstanding, the Natural Bridge has escaped serious scholarly contemplation and art historical examination.

Situated in the Shenandoah Valley, within the evocatively named Rockbridge County, the Natural Bridge formed gradually as the waters of Cedar Creek caused erosion, resulting in an arched formation measuring 215 feet high and 90 feet wide. In 1774 Thomas Jefferson purchased the site from King George III as part of a 150-acre tract of land. The land remained in the Jefferson family for seven years after his death in 1826. The arch quickly became one of the most reproduced and easily recognizable natural wonders.

Artist-explorers such as Joshua Shaw (1776–1860) and Jacob Caleb Ward (1809–1891), whose works are featured in this exhibition, found in the formation a scene of picturesque beauty. For artists and authors, it became a recurring device with which to underscore the beauty of the American landscape. Influenced by British theories of the sublime and the picturesque, painters Frederic Church (1826–1900), and David Johnson (1827–1908) repeatedly sought out the landmark, which they also positioned as an icon in natural history. Self-taught artists such as Edward Hicks (1780–1849) and Caleb Boyle (fl. 1800–22) claimed the Bridge to be a uniquely American icon with mythic foundation and divine inspiration. Along with landmark paintings by Church and Johnson, Virginia Arcadia contains important depictions of the Bridge by Hicks, Boyle, and unidentified decorative artists.

Even after tourism to the site soared in popularity beginning in the 1840s, depictions retain a pastoral sensibility and harmonious meeting of nature and civilization. After the Civil War, a demand for even grander wilderness found in the western landscapes of Yellowstone and Yosemite led to a steep decline in the Bridges depictions and cultural currency. The 21st century has seen rekindled interest in the subject. In September of 2016, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that a 1,500-acre tract of land surrounding the Natural Bridge in Rockbridge County would be designated as the Commonwealth’s newest state park. Citing that the “historical and geographical significance of Natural Bridge is beyond question,” the creation of a Natural Bridge State Park is the realization of Jefferson’s long-delayed vision.

Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Exhibition Endowment

Birch Douglass

The VMFA Council Exhibition Fund

Richard and Jean Hofheimer

Helen Rouss Buck

M. L. Coolidge

This exhibition is made possible through support from the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Marketing support for Evans Court exhibitions is provided by the Charles G. Thalhimer Fund.

Ansel Adams: Compositions in Nature

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts invites you to behold the drama and splendor of the American landscape as seen through the lens of photographer Ansel Adams. In Ansel Adams: Compositions in Nature, more than 70 photographs spanning over five decades showcase the breathtaking vistas, beguiling details, and inimitable style that define this most beloved and influential photographer. Considering Adams as artist, environmentalist, and musician, the exhibition includes iconic images, rarely seen early photographs, and musical recordings that also take you behind the camera.

Ansel Adams: Compositions in Nature presents photographs from every period of the artist’s celebrated career. Included are many of Adams’s most-famous and best-loved photographs as well as lesser-known works. Visitors will delight in elegant details of nature, architectural studies, portraits, and the breathtaking landscapes for which Adams is most revered. In addition to a selection of his most highly regarded works that Adams printed at the end of his career—“the Museum set”—the exhibition features donated photographs recently added to VMFA’s permanent collection.

The overview of the artist’s career explores changes in his aesthetics and technique, as well as his constant keen eye for composition. Visitors will experience Ansel Adams’s photographs that are some of the best-known images produced by any artist of the era, including Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, The Tetons and the Snake River, and Monolith, Face of Half Dome. In a study of Adams’s changing technique, the exhibition displays prints of the same photograph produced decades apart for visitors to compare and contrast.

Curated by Dr. Christopher Oliver, the Bev Perdue Jennings Assistant Curator of American Art, the exhibition explores the multifaceted artist who, in addition to photography, had a lifelong interest in both landscape conservation and classical music. Presentations within the gallery pay special attention to Adams’s tireless efforts to have wilderness and parks set aside for the public good. In a section of the exhibition that focuses on the artist’s affinity for certain pieces of music, visitors will hear selections from a 1945 recording of Adams playing several different classical compositions for piano.

The exhibition features some recent gifts to VMFA’s permanent collection, many of which have been rarely exhibited or published. Andrea Gray Stillman, a museum patron and former assistant to Ansel Adams, donated these works to VMFA beginning in 2018.

Adams profoundly influenced the course of 20th century photography not only through the example of his sumptuous and technically precise images, but also by means of his personal energy and devotion to advancing the cause of photography as an art form. As an artist, educator, innovator, and writer, he helped establish many of the institutions that have come to represent the highest aspirations of the medium of photography.

Ansel Adams: Compositions in Nature is organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in collaboration with the Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Redding, CA, and managed by Landau Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA.

VMFA is grateful to the following Sponsors:

Elisabeth Shelton Gottwald Fund

Birch Douglass
Mr. and Mrs. R. Augustus Edwards III
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas F. Garner, Jr.
Dr. and Mrs. William V. Garner
The Francena T. Harrison Foundation
Brian and Mary Ann Peppiatt
Patricia R. St. Clair
Tina and Lewis Stoneburner

Kelly and Tiff Armstrong
Mr. and Mrs. Wayne A. Chasen
Mrs. Page Edgerton
Margaret R. Freeman
Mrs. Carter D. McDowell
Mrs. Patsy K. Pettus
VMFA Council Exhibition Fund

Marketing support for this exhibition is provided by the Charles G. Thalhimer Fund

This list reflects sponsors as of July 1, 2021

IMAGE Mount Williamson, The Sierra Nevada, from Manzanar, California, 1944, printed 1973–75, Ansel Adams (American, 1902–1984), gelatin silver print. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund. Photograph by Ansel Adams © The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust.

Sir Frank Short: Out of the Shadows

This installation shines a spotlight on a printmaker whose lifetime achievements have been underappreciated in the years since his death. Born in the industrial heart of England, Short initially trained as a civil engineer. While working on a government inquiry into the pollution of the Thames River, he encountered a print by J. M. W. Turner, which proved transformative. Soon after, Short gave into “temptation,” as he called it, deciding to pursue a career in printmaking.

Absorbed into the burgeoning Etching Revival movement led in England by James Abbott McNeill Whistler and Sir Francis Seymour Haden, Short used his engineering mindset to experiment until he mastered every secret of etching. A reverence and desire to absorb the artistic lessons from the great artists of the past compelled Short to learn the historic traditions of mezzotint and aquatint. These techniques were made synonymous in the late 18th and early 19th centuries with the printed reproductions of oil paintings and watercolors.

Eager to provide quality alternatives to the anemic mass produced reproductions of the times, Short employed his formidable talents into creating magnificent and sympathetic interpretations of works by other artists—especially Turner. Compositional and iconographic lessons absorbed from these reproductions manifest in his original prints. However, unlike artists who were comfortable constructing compositions in the studio, Short went out into nature, seeking out vistas that inspired him.

Sir Frank Short: Out of the Shadows assembles over two dozen printmaking experiments, original compositions, and reproductive works that are drawn from the Frank Raysor collection, a generous ongoing gift to VMFA. This exhibition is curated by Dr. Colleen Yarger, Assistant Curator for European Art and the Mellon Collections, and supported by Ms. Anna Kay Chandler, Larry J. Kohmescher, and an anonymous donor.

A Wintry Blast on the Stourbridge Canal, 1890, Sir Frank Short (English, 1857–1945), drypoint printed in blank ink on laid paper. Promised gift of Frank Raysor, FR.1233
Dawn, Sir Frank Short (English, 1857–1945), Dawn, 1912, Aquatint printed in black ink on wove paper. Promised gift of Frank Raysor, FR.1169

The Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido Road: Japanese Landscape Prints by Hiroshige

The woodblock print series the Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido Road, designed by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858) and first published in 1833–34, contains fifty-five images among the most recognizable in all of Japanese art. Capturing iconic landmarks and areas, these prints continue to offer viewers a form of vicarious travel and souvenir. Included in this exhibition are twelve prints from the series, which VMFA acquired in full for its permanent collection in 1952.

Born in Edo (present-day Tokyo), Hiroshige transformed the world of Japanese printmaking with his popularization of the landscape print. This genre spoke to Japanese audiences’ newfound curiosity for Western aesthetics like linear perspective and shading, as well as their interest in travel literature detailing famous sites around the country. The Tokaido Road has since become one of the most commercially successful print series of all time.

The Tokaido was a well-known pedestrian highway that connected Edo to Japan’s former capital of Kyoto, stretching roughly 320 miles along the eastern coastline of its central island of Honshu. First established in the 8th century, the Tokaido became increasingly trafficked in the early 1600s. This was due to the shogun’s requirement that hundreds of regional lords (daimyo) from across Japan travel annually to Edo where their families resided year-round, in effect centralizing his political power.

Fifty-three stations were installed along the route, each containing inns, restaurants, and stables. Traveling the Tokaido on foot typically took about fifteen days from beginning to end, and travelers ranged in status to include merchants, farmers, monks, daimyo, and samurai. Hiroshige himself once traveled the Tokaido, where he experienced firsthand the social climate and sprawling landscapes that he would later reinterpret in his fantastical prints.

REQUIEMS: Reframing History through the Photographic Lens

In this installation, photographers Dawoud Bey, Marilyn Nance, and Carrie Mae Weems offer visual requiems marking some of the turbulent, socially defining moments of the mid-20th century. Through the astute and incisive frames of these three artists, we revisit the assassination of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Medgar Evers and the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, as well as King’s funeral. Requiems provides insight into the evolution of photographic practices by Black artists, from documentary to conceptual, and sets a foundation for understanding the shifts in the field at large.

The Assassination of Medgar, Malcolm and Martin, 2008, Carrie Mae Weems (American, born 1953), archival pigment print. © Carrie Mae Weems. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
The Birmingham Project: Betty Selvage and Faith Speights, 2012, printed 2014, Dawoud Bey (American, born 1953), two archival pigment prints mounted to Dibond. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund © Dawoud Bey
Audubon Ballroom (exterior), New York, NY, 1989, Marilyn Nance (American, born 1953). Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund, by exchange
© Marilyn Nance

Masterpieces From The VMFA Collection: The First Hundred Years of Photography, 1839-1939

“Most photographs, by their very nature, present us with a small illusion of reality. When we see only the photographic image—in books, in exhibitions, and on the web—it is easy to forget that, pre-digital age, photographs were physical objects made with metal, or glass, or paper, and chemicals. They were created using the technology of their time, and that technology informs what we see and how we interpret it. Over 40 years, I have learned to understand and appreciate not only the impact of an image, but also the physical object. I hope this exhibition will convey my love for both.”

– Denise Bethel

In 1974, Denise Bethel received a Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship that enabled her to complete a Master of Arts degree at London’s Courtauld Institute of Art. Five years after completing her degree, she moved to New York and started working in the auction business. “I was thrown headfirst into what was then the fledging market for rare photographs,” she recalls. “Photography was the bottom rung of the art world ladder in those days, and lack of experience didn’t count against me.” Bethel, who eventually rose to become chairman of Photographs America at Sotheby’s New York, notes that since she began her career, “the world of photography has exploded—in museums, in academia, in publishing, and in the marketplace.”

After leaving the auction world to start her own consulting business, Bethel was engaged by VMFA in 2016 to survey the museum’s photograph collection. “In the course of my examinations, I was thrilled to discover dozens of remarkable pictures in exceptional states of preservation,” she says. Bethel has selected 19 works from the collection for this exhibition. Many of these photographs by artists such as Eugène Atget, Imogen Cunningham, Louis Émile Durandelle, Timothy O’Sullivan, and August Sander have not been displayed in the museum before.

Jainism’s Spiritual Victors

The Indian religion of Jainism takes its name from the Jinas, or Victors: revered teachers who periodically appear to reveal and transmit the tradition’s wisdom. These perfected human beings, who serve as role models for the faithful, have crossed over life’s stream of rebirths. Thus, they are also known as Tirthankaras, or Forders, and twenty-four are born into each age of time’s cyclical course.

Image of a page
Page from a Manuscript of the Kalpasutra, 18th Century, Artist Unknown, Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper.

On view for the first time is VMFA’s set of two dozen paintings illustrating these spiritual victors of the current age. While each Jina sits in the same meditative posture, these paintings otherwise teem with variation. The Tirthankaras’ complexions and characteristic emblems are distinctions dictated by standard Jain iconography. However, other differences—especially the colorfully dizzying array of architectural and botanical settings—are purely products of the artist’s lively imagination.

Parshva: Twenty-Third Tirthankara of the Present Age, 18th Century, Artist Unknown, Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper.
Chandraprabha: Eighth Tirthankara of the Present Age, 18th Century, Artist Unknown, Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper.
Nemi: Twenty-Second Tirthankara of the Present Age, 18th Century, Artist Unknown, Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper.
Mahavira: Twenty-Fourth Tirthankara of the Present Age, 18th Century, Artist Unknown, Opaque watercolor, ink and gold on paper.
Jina, 1160, Artist Unknown, White marble with slight traces of pigment.

In addition to highlighting these newly acquired works, this installation draws attention to the depth of VMFA’s Jain holdings. A sublime white marble sculpture of a seated Jina moves from its usual placement to join the paintings in the South Asian collection’s Pavilion gallery, and Jain paintings from western India are featured in an adjacent gallery.

Treasures of Ancient Egypt: Sunken Cities

Limited capacity. Advance reservations strongly recommended.

Dive into one of the most astonishing underwater discoveries of all time. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts presents Treasures of Ancient Egypt: Sunken Cities. The exhibition is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see treasures recovered from two powerful ancient Egyptian cities that sank into the Mediterranean more than a thousand years ago. Destroyed by natural catastrophes in the 8th century AD, Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus were once mighty centers of trade, where Egyptian and Greek cultures merged in art, worship, and everyday life.

In the centuries since their demise, these two cities were known only by scattered mentions in ancient writings. No physical trace of their splendor and magnificence was found, and even their true names grew obscured. Today, maritime archaeologist Franck Goddio and his European Institute for Underwater Archaeology (IEASM) have given new life to these sunken cities. Presenting nearly 300 objects from IEASM’s discoveries from the Mediterranean waters of Aboukir Bay and some of Egypt’s most important museums, VMFA invites you to reconnect with these once-lost civilizations.

IEASM’s ongoing underwater excavations have fundamentally changed our understanding of the cultures, faiths, and history of Egypt’s Mediterranean region. This exhibition features a staggering array of objects from these excavations, supplemented by treasures from museums across Egypt. The objects on view piece together the economic and cultural significance of these destroyed city centers and showcase the artistry, religious practices, and traditions of their people. Thonis-Heracleion was once Egypt’s premiere center for trade with the Greek world, while the nearby city of Canopus drew pilgrims from across the Mediterranean, particularly for rites dedicated to the god Osiris. Artifacts from these cities attest to the range of human experience in this ancient land. Visitors will gain insight into Egypt’s powerful Ptolemaic Kingdom, the Graeco-Egyptian blending of cultures, and the god Osiris, who figured prominently in everyday life.

VMFA is the only East Coast venue and the last stop before the objects return to Egypt. The works of art on display include everything from jewelry and coins to utilitarian and ritual objects and from coffins and steles to the colossal statue of the fertility god Hapy, the largest discovered representation of an Egyptian god.

Treasures of Ancient Egypt: Sunken Cities offers a rare opportunity to experience firsthand the material culture of Ptolemaic Egypt, a golden age of human creativity in science as well as the visual and literary arts. Exciting film footage and photographs illustrate underwater expeditions and dramatic rediscoveries, as deep-sea divers solve a thousand-year-old mystery through archaeological research and innovation. Visitors will encounter these findings firsthand and witness a story that continues to unfold through ongoing excavations. Treasures of Ancient Egypt: Sunken Cities tells a riveting human saga of grandeur, complexity, wealth, and power, reminding us of the potentially devastating effects of natural disasters and the vulnerability of even the mightiest of human civilizations.

Treasures of Ancient Egypt: Sunken Cities is organized by the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology with the generous support of the Hilti Foundation and in collaboration with the Ministry of Antiquities of the Arab Republic of Egypt.

Hilti Foundation Logo

Presented By

Dominion Energy Logo

The Reverend Doctor Vienna Cobb Anderson
The Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Exhibition Endowment
The Julia Louise Reynolds Fund

Mr. and Mrs. Robert W. Cabaniss, Jr.
Sharon Merwin

Capital One Bank
Mrs. Frances Massey Dulaney
Mary Ann and Jack Frable
Virginia H. Spratley Charitable Fund II

Elizabeth and Tom Allen
Lilli and William Beyer
Dr. Donald S. and Ms. Beejay Brown Endowment
Wayne and Nancy Chasen Family Fund of the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond
The Christian Family Foundation
The VMFA Council Exhibition Fund
Birch Douglass
Jeanann Gray Dunlap Foundation
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas F. Garner, Jr.
Dr. and Mrs. William V. Garner
Hamilton Beach Brands, Inc.
Francena T. Harrison Foundation Trust
Peter and Nancy Huber
The Manuel and Carol Loupassi Foundation
Margaret and Thomas Mackell
Deanna M. Maneker
Alexandria Rogers McGrath
McGue Millhiser Family Trust
Norfolk Southern Corporation
Richard S. Reynolds Foundation
The Anne Carter and Walter R. Robins, Jr. Foundation
Joanne B. Robinson
Anne Marie Whittemore
YHB | CPAs & Consultants
Two Anonymous Donors

Ms. Anna K. Chandler
Timothy and Tonya Finton
Mr. and Mrs. David A. Harrison IV
Harrison Foundation
Celia Rafalko and Rick Sample
Mr. and Mrs. Andrew G. Spitzer
Ellen Bayard Weedon Foundation
Mr. and Mrs. Charles N. Whitaker
Tom Williamson and Janet Brown

Patsy and John Barr
E. B. Duff Charitable Lead Annuity Trust
Dr. J. Roy Hopkins
Cynthia Marsteller
Patient First
Peachtree House Foundation

This list is complete as of May 15, 2020.

Fine Arts and Flowers 2021

Fine Arts and Flowers is a spectacular museum-wide exhibition of floral designs inspired by works in the VMFA collection.

Presented by The Council of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, with floral designs by The Garden Club of Virginia, Virginia Federation of Garden Clubs, Ikebana of Richmond, and Garden Clubs of Virginia.

Special events for Fine Arts and Flowers 2021 will kick off with a dazzling Gala celebrating the reinstallation of the acclaimed Mellon Collections and the preview of more than eighty floral interpretations. Other special events include renowned guest speakers, luncheons, a fashion show-luncheon featuring designs by students from Virginia Commonwealth University, floral design workshops, exhibition tours, curator talks, and a variety of family activities.

Fine Arts & Flowers is presented by The Council of VMFA to provide critical resources that support ongoing research, development and installation of exceptional exhibitions.


See more photos from the 2018 event!

Free admission. Open to the public.
Oct 21–24 | Thu & Fri, 10 am–9 pm | Sat & Sun, 10 am–5 pm

Get Tickets for a Guided Tour



Kiana UnderwoodFloral artist Kiana Underwood is the celebrated founder of Tulipina, an internationally renowned floral design studio specializing in customized floral experiences for luxury weddings and events
worldwide. Her unique color combinations and floral varieties draw admirers and floral designers from all over the globe to her sold-out workshops in exotic locations including Chile, China, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, and Singapore. She has been named one of the top wedding floral designers in the US by Harper’s Bazaar. Underwood is better known by many as @tulipinadesign, making her the most followed floral designer on Instagram, with over 370,000 followers. Publications such as Brides, Country Living, Elle Decor, Flower magazine, the New York Times, and Town & Country have featured her signature designs. Her debut book, Color Me Floral, is a work of love, covering the secrets to designing show-stopping monochromatic arrangements for each season.


Susan McLearySusan McLeary of Passionflower Sue is a floral designer, artist, and instructor who creates imaginative arrangements with exciting dimension and an artist’s awareness of color and texture. Her unexpected, boundary-pushing floral art includes elaborate headpieces, signature floral jewelry and wearables, as well as traditional floral designs. She says, “I believe floral design is an art, and florists are artists.” Her expressive, seasonally inspired creations have been described as exquisite living artwork. She studied with numerous internationally recognized instructors, collaborated with artists around the world, and is now passionate about teaching others how to evoke wonder and curiosity through the fine art of floral design. McLeary’s new book, The Art of Wearable Flowers, provides how-to instructions for a stunning collection of flower and plant-based designs. Find Susan on Instagram @passionflowersue.

Gala Preview

Guest Speakers

Edible Flowers Brunch

Fashion Luncheons


Family Events

Guided Tours

Special Event Tickets on Sale May 1
www.vmfa.museum/FAF or 804.340.1405
For Group Sales, email groupsales@VMFA.museum

Fine Arts & Flowers 2021 Corporate Sponsors

Official supplier of flowers and plant material since 1987

Presenting Sponsors

Logo for Stauer

Platinum Sponsors

Logo for Gumenick Properties

Logo for Heritage Wealth Advisors

Gold Sponsors

McGuireWoods Logo

Richmond Marriott Downtown Logo
Richmond Nephrology Associates logo
Saks Fifth Avenue logo

Silver Sponsors

Anthology of Tuckahoe
Brunk Auctions
Costen Floors
Equity Concepts
Greystar Real Estate Partners
HCA Virginia
Margaret Wade/Long & Foster Real Estate
Patient First
Stoever & Palmore Investment Group
Virginia Eye Institute
Worth Higgins & Associates

Bronze Sponsors

BetterMed Urgent Care
Nadia P. Blanchet, M.D., Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Crossroads Art Center
CSC Leasing
The London Company
MannKidwell Interior Window Treatments
M. Turner Landscapes
The Tuckahoe Woman’s Club

Media Partner

Select Fine Arts & Flowers events feature wines from Barboursville Vineyards.

Annabeth Rosen: Fables

For over two decades, Annabeth Rosen has interrogated the medium of ceramics. Formally trained in ceramics, yet heavily influenced by painterly gesture, Rosen expanded her practice to include conceptually driven sculptural forms early in her career. She has continually explored the temporal nature of the medium, melding a performative dimension into both material and process. Composed through laborious, additive processes, Rosen’s monumental sculptures push the medium beyond spectacle and into conversations about contemporary painting, feminist theory, endurance-based performance, and conceptual art.

Rosen’s artistic approach—grounded in resourcefulness, endurance, and a strong work ethic—can be traced back to her working class, east coast upbringing. Drawing from the ethos that everything can always be fixed, re-used, or refashioned, the artist embraces the impulse to accrue and bind as well as resurrect fragments with both ceramic sculpture and works on paper. Embracing chance as an essential element in the formation of her works, Rosen sees both the studio and the kiln as spaces of invention. The artist rarely attempts to obscure her hand as a primary instrument and often “binds” multitudes of discrete, smaller pieces to create singular, large-scale sculptures. While her earlier works engaged first with traditional forms, such as the plate, bowl, or cylinder, she later became inspired by landscape and nature, following her move to Northern California, with forms that evoke earth strata, ecosystems, and life cycles. More recent works push past the physical realm and into landscape of literature. An avid reader, Rosen meditates on the precarious balance between fantasy and realism that is presented in fables. Four monumental sculptures that rise in towering formation or cascade toward the floor underscore playfulness and humor—elegantly balanced on steel armatures that gird them from underneath.

This installation marks the debut presentation of this series of works that are accompanied by Rosen’s works on paper, providing for the viewer an immersive experience of entering the artist’s studio. Her drawings and collage work often serve to reverberate her sculptural works and are often done in tandem.

Celebrated as an artist’s artist, Rosen is a pioneer in the field of contemporary ceramics, who brings fluidity to the practice and its discourse with contemporary art. Within the genre’s trajectory, Rosen functions as an important link between such artists as Peter Voulkos, Jun Kaneko, Mary Heilmann, Lynda Benglis, and a new generation of artists working in the medium.

Annabeth Rosen: Fables is organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts on the occasion of the 54th Annual NCECA Conference titled MULTIVALENT: Clay, Mindfulness, and Memory, being held in Richmond, March 25–28, 2020.

Fellowship Exhibitions

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship Program is a vital source of funding for the visual arts and art history in Virginia. VMFA is committed to supporting professional artists as well as art students who demonstrate exceptional creative ability in their chosen discipline. Since its establishment in 1940 by the late John Lee Pratt of Fredericksburg, the Fellowship Program has awarded nearly $5.5 million in fellowships to Virginians. 2015 marked the 75th anniversary of VMFA’s Fellowship Program.

As part of our commitment to Virginians, the Pauley Center Galleries, Amuse Restaurant, the Claiborne Robertson Room, and select spaces at the Richmond International Airport are dedicated to showcasing the work of VMFA Visual Arts Fellowship recipients.



By Sterling Clinton Hundley
Jul 1, 2021 to Jan 31, 2022 | Pauley Center Galleries

Aggregate is a survey of work from American painter and graphic artist, Sterling Clinton Hundley ranging from 2009- 2021. Throughout Hundley’s work, time is an indelible theme explored through drawing, collage, painting and sculpture that collects life in motion into a series of compressed images that blur the line between traditional cell animation and painting

Hundley is a VMFA 2020-21 Professional Fellow and his work is held in private collections internationally, from Russia, Norway, England, Germany and throughout the United States and can be found in the permanent collections of Amazon, the Museum of American Illustration, Capital One Bank, Rolling Stone Magazine, as well as on display in the US Senate Building.

His book can be found in the Museum Store.

IMAGES: The Good Steward, Sterling Clinton Hundley | Big Cartel, Fruitless Endeavor, Sterling Clinton Hundley | Another Sunday, Sterling Clinton Hundley


Something Similar

By Claire Stankus
Jul 9, 2021 to Jan 23, 2022 | VMFA Amuse Restaurant & Claiborne Robertson Room

I make paintings to simplify immediate visual surroundings. They are inspired by familiar indoor scenes of cast shadows from house plants, patterns coincidentally matching, the grid of window frames, to shapes of flowers, oranges, or birthday sprinkles. I believe many people are attracted to these overlooked moments and my paintings provide an opportunity to revisit them. Beginning with a photo reference or memory, I create casual marks, flattened fields of color, and invented light and shadow to break down the recognizable into something ambiguous yet familiar. When these paintings are not recognized by their initial inspiration they can be admired purely by their patterns, subtle color shifts, and illusions of light and flatness. The remaining abstraction is where we may find unexpected curiosity or joy.

My newest paintings are heavily inspired by my experiences from two recent artist residencies: The Sam & Adele Golden Foundation in New Berlin, NY, and the Studios at MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA. In both settings, one during winter, and one during summer, I was struck by each location’s architecture and sunlight. I used these simple themes to play with striking color combinations, balance speed and personality of brush marks, and create the possibility of space within a fairly shallow depth of field. Displayed as a large grouping or in pairs, my paintings are made to reference and complement each other’s visual components while honoring the location they were created in.

I want to share the value of contemporary abstract painting; that a particular balance of line and form can create compelling compositions, or how a minimal shape of paint can feel sweet, stubborn, playful, or funny.

Claire Stankus is a 2020 Emergency Relief Fellowship Recipient.

IMAGES: Sunrise Silhouette, Claire Stankus | Paint Stickers, Claire Stankus | Night Jade, Claire Stankus | Light Stream, Claire Stankus | Fruit Fade, Claire Stankus


Minyatür: A Journey from the Classical to the Contemporary

By Sermin Ciddi
Jun 21, 2021 to Jan 10, 2022 | Richmond International Airport

Sermin Ciddi is a renowned Turkish artist skilled in modern miniature (minyatür) painting, one of the highly specialized visual arts of Ottoman and Turkish culture along with calligraphy (hat) and marbling paper (ebru). Born in Istanbul, Ms. Ciddi takes inspiration from a variety of sources: places she has lived and traveled to, the architectural salience of each location, and finally, their interaction with surrounding nature. Depictions of environmental themes and imagery through symbolism are recent additions to her existing portfolio. Scenes including Alexandria, Virginia, Ottoman and Turkish architecture, and the enduring relationship between dragons and phoenixes come to life on her canvases.

Sermin Ciddi is a 2020 Emergency Relief Fellowship Recipient.

IMAGES: Kızkulesi, Sermin Ciddi | Great Falls, Sermin Ciddi | Anatolian Fortress, Sermin Ciddi

It’s Egypt! Interactive Gallery Exhibition

Ancient Egyptians believed that everything they knew and experienced was part of a cycle, from the annual flood of the Nile River that nourished their land to the daily rising and setting of the sun. Even their own lives were a cycle, which moved from birth to death to rebirth. Explore more about Egyptian life in this hands-on exhibition for all ages!

VMFA is grateful to the following Sponsors:

Jeanann Gray Dunlap Foundation

Maggie Georgiadis

Mr. and Mrs. J. Gray Ferguson