What’s it Worth: Researching your Collection

Join Mrs. Emilia Penney, professional appraiser and estate specialist, as she discusses the resources and processes used in evaluating objects and collections. In this workshop, participants will discover tips for identifying heirlooms and investigating family treasures through online research venues. This will be a fun and informative event as Mrs. Penney shares her tales from…

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Impressionable Youth

Themes of childhood and family recur in nineteenth-century French Impressionist painting, from Berthe Morisot’s experimental self-portraits with her daughter Julie Manet, to Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s everyday scenes of his three sons and their nanny. Drawing primarily upon works from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, this lecture will closely…

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VMFA’s Little Giant Controversy: Stuart Davis, Modernism, and Cold War Politics

In 1950, Stuart Davis’ Little Giant Still Life went on view at VMFA as part of an avant-garde American painting exhibition.  When the cubist-inflected canvas entered the permanent collection, the museum found itself in the midst of a highly publicized debate between leading New York critics and Virginia traditionalists.  This lecture relates the unfolding scandal…

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A Tale of Two Sofas: Belter at VMFA

Following several years of new research and an extensive conservation campaign, a magnificent pair of sofas in the VMFA collection have emerged with a captivating history and a distinctive look.  Produced by the celebrated furniture maker John Henry Belter over 160 years ago, the near-identical sofas graced the homes of powerful American businessmen and socialites…

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From Pot Latch to Pow Wow: Clothing as Cultural Identifier

Although Native American clothing has never been altered specifically for a tourist market, several indigenous groups have incorporated outside materials and aesthetics into the long-standing tradition of using clothing as a cultural identifier.  This lecture will investigate the tradition of the Pow Wow and the regalia associated with it, discuss the attempt by Euro-Americans to…

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New Materials, New Message: Glass and Bronze Work

Explore the art of several 20th and 21st century Native American artists who have employed modern technology and materials to create works that are distinctive combinations of new mediums and traditional ideas.  This lecture will review the glass work of Preston Singletary (Tlinglit) and Susan Point (Salish), collaborative works by Chris Tarpley (Choctaw/Chickasaw/Cherokee) and Nathan…

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European Arrival: The Native Art World from the Sixteenth to Nineteenth Centuries

The response of European collectors to the art of the indigenous people of the New World encouraged Native American artists to use more recognizably ‘European’ forms and materials in their work while still producing items that tourists would find suitably ‘Indian.’ This lecture will explore the bead and quillwork of the North Atlantic coast, the…

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Raiders of the Lost Art

Art crime has become a multi-billion dollar industry, one branch of which is the looting and black market trade of art and artifacts from tombs and temples–the world’s oldest treasure troves. Market demand for antiquities has had catastrophic consequences for many of the world’s ancient sites. Streamlining of the industry has caused an ever-increasing flow…

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Gesture: Abstract Expressionists

From brushstrokes to drips and palette knives to spray cans, this lecture explores the role of the artist’s mark in several iconic paintings from the Virginia Museum of Fine Art’s 20th- and 21st-century collection. While abstract expressionists such as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, whose bold, energetic, and seemingly messy applications of paint are best…

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From Mirador to Mayfair: Nancy Lancaster and the Country House Style

Virginia-born tastemaker Nancy Lancaster (1897 – 1994) is a widely recognized source of the international design movement known as the British Country House Style. The style’s blending of key forms and materials, which resulted in domestic environments with historicist inflections, recalls Lancaster’s experience of her six-generation family home, Mirador, near Charlottesville. From post-Civil War Virginia…

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