July 12, 2020

Harris Speaks to ‘Town Talk’ about UMW Museums

University of Mary Washington Museums Executive Director Scott Harris

University of Mary Washington Museums Executive Director Scott Harris

University of Mary Washington Museums Executive Director Scott Harris recently spoke to Ted Schubel of ‘Town Talk’ on WFVA 1230 about the impact of the pandemic on the James Monroe Museum and Gari Melchers Home and Studio. Closed since March and unlikely to open until August, both museums are offering new and innovative online programming. Listen here.

Gari Melchers Home and Studio Featured in Regional Media

BelmontGari Melchers Home and Studio has frequently been featured in recent editions of The Free Lance-Star as well as a video by the Fredericksburg Visitors Center.

COMMENTARY: Garden Week is canceled, but club’s mission goes on (The Free Lance-Star, April 20, 2020)

Historic homes and museums seek ways to stay connected during coronavirus (The Free Lance-Star, April 26, 2020)

Young Life:  Enjoy online adventures in history and art (The Free Lance-Star, April 9, 2020)

Visit the Fredericksburg Region – Take the Scenic Route video

Gari Melchers Home & Studio Offers Digital Learning for All Ages

Gari Melchers Home & Studio (GMHS) is one of the best-preserved artist homes and working studios in the country. Although it is currently closed to the public in an effort to help reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus, it is looking for new ways to engage the public.

GMHS is responding to rapidly changing times by compiling existing online material and creating new experiences under their new LEARN webpage found here at garimelchers.org/education/learn, which was featured in a recent Free Lance-Star article.

Included on LEARN are links to Preschool Palette and Picturing New Connection lesson plans, activities based on the museum’s collection, videos, printable coloring pages, popular blog posts, and a virtual tour of the museum’s wedding and reception event space.

Education and Communications Manager Michelle Crow-Dolby, inspired by the global #MuseumfromHome movement, ramped up the museum’s social media presence by sharing posts meant to educate, stimulate, and inspire. Gari Melchers’ many floral still life paintings star in #MuseumBouquet while the artist’s atmospheric paintings star in #MuseumMomentofZen.

Assistant Director and Curator Joanna Catron practiced proper social distancing while recording her Facebook private studio tour.

“Our mission is founded on preservation and education,” adds Scott Harris, executive director of University of Mary Washington Museums. “During this virus emergency, as we ensure the safety and integrity of our museum and its collections, we’re striving to fulfill our educational mission creatively online.”

Gari and Corinne Melchers lived through another worldwide virus crisis, the Influenza Pandemic of 1918-1919. The couple was familiar with quarantines, the wearing of protective gear, social distancing, and other aspects of life during a pandemic we face today. Watch the video.

Follow GMHS on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Crow-Dolby Interviewed in Free Lance-Star About Art and History Online Activities

GMHS Education and Communications Manager Michelle Crow-Dolby

GMHS Education and Communications Manager Michelle Crow-Dolby

Michelle Crow-Dolby, education and communications manager at Gari Melchers Home and Studio, was recently interviewed for The Free Lance-Star Weekender’s Young Life column about how the museum’s popular Preschool Palette program has gone online.

 

For years, a widely popular offering at Gari Melchers Home and Studio has been its monthly Preschool Palette classes. Designed for ages 2 through 5, the program features age-appropriate studio tours and activities, a walk through the site’s colorful gardens and a process art project in a classroom setting.

“My original goal was to fill a need I saw in the community. At the time, there weren’t a lot of art opportunities for preschool-aged children,” said education and communications manager Michelle Crow–Dolby, who created and launched the program more than 10 years ago.

Families can now duplicate this experience at home using Crow–Dolby’s lesson plans, including links to books, project descriptions and pictures, on the museum’s website and Facebook page. Most recent additions include themes of “Green,” “Mixing Colors” and “All About Rainbows.”

“Green” begins with a visual exploration of Laura Vaccaro Seeger’s book “Green,” with enchanting illustrations highlighting the many shades of green that can be found in nature. Next, become acquainted with several of Melchers’ paintings that use green in various ways. An outdoor scavenger hunt for different shapes of green leaves is followed by creating a sticky collage on contact paper.

“Our museum staff is working hard to embrace the worldwide #MuseumfromHome initiative by providing as many virtual experiences as possible during these unprecedented times,” explains Crow–Dolby. “I’ve been busy creating online activities based on paintings in our collection and hope to add even more in the coming weeks.”

Coloring pages, videos and even a soon-to-be-finished virtual gallery tour are also available. Go to GariMelchers.org and navigate to the newly launched Learn page under the Education tab. Read more.

UMW Chamber Music Festival Marks Third Year at Belmont

U.S. Army Woodwind Quintet

U.S. Army Woodwind Quintet

Gari Melchers Home and Studio and the University of Mary Washington Music Department present a Chamber Music Festival on March 14 and 15 in the intimate setting of the Pavilion at Belmont.

The musicians will perform a richly varied program against the backdrop of Belmont, a late eighteenth-century estate picturesquely situated above the Rappahannock River in Falmouth, Virginia.

“Gari Melchers, the famed American who lived and painted here, enjoyed a friendship with the French composer Camille Saint-Saens, and I know he readily would endorse the making of music at his old haunts,” says Assistant Director and Curator Joanna Catron.

The Festival opens on Saturday evening, March 14 at 7 p.m. with a performance of New American Classics for Wind Quintet performed by the U.S. Army Woodwind Quintet under the direction of MSG Robert Aughtry. The performance will include works by Valerie Coleman, Arne Running, Charles Rochester Young, Lalao Schifrin, and Reena Esmail.

The Sunday, March 15 offering begins at 2 p.m. with an eclectic chamber program featuring works by Hayden, Beethoven, Schubert, Mozart and others, performed by the UMW Flute Ensemble, Guitar Ensemble and Woodwind Trio, comprised of faculty, students and guest musicians under the direction of Professors of Music Doug Gately and Bruce Middle.

Admission is free, but seating is limited. Pavilion, Gari Melchers Home and Studio.

Contact: Joanna D. Catron at jcatron@umw.edu or 540-654-1841

Film Screening: Eating Up Easter

Film Screening: Eating Up Easter
Sunday, January 26, 2 p.m.

Eating Up Easter follows a modern indigenous community transforming under the globalizing effects of tourism. Previous films have often sensationalized the “mysteries” of Easter Island’s past, a remote Pacific Island known for its massive stone statues. In contrast, this documentary by native Rapanui filmmaker Sergio Mata’u Rapu provides an intimate look into the passion and creativity his people are harnessing to face the consequences of their rapidly developing island.

Free admission. Pavilion at GMHS,  Snow date Feb. 2
Contact: Michelle Crow-Dolby at mdolby@umw.edu  or 540 654-1851

Belmont Bus Trip to VMFA, Feb. 18

Member’s Bus Trip – Edward Hopper and the American Hotel, The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Va.
February 18, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Join Gari Melchers Home and Studio for a guided tour of the VMFA’s Edward Hopper and the American Hotel, the first in-depth study of hospitality settings depicted in the works of one of the most celebrated American artists. The only east coast venue, this exhibition showcases 65 paintings and works on paper by Hopper. Also included are 35 works by other artists who explored similar themes of hotels, travel, and mobility from the 20th century to the present. The exhibition is presented in galleries that include simulated spaces with engaging design components.

$50 for members, $55 for non-members. Price includes bus transport and tour ticket. Lunch is on your own with a choice of the Best Café or Amuse Restaurant. To make reservations at Amuse call 804-340-1580. Bus departs GMHS at 9 a.m. and returns by 4 p.m. Register by February 1 by contacting Meghan Pcsolyar at mpcsolya@umw.edu or  540-654-1848. Contact Jennifer Pinkerton at jpinkert@umw.edu or call 540-654-1842 to become a member!

Melchers Painting Seized by Nazis Confiscated by FBI

"Winter" by Gari Melchers.

“Winter” by Gari Melchers.

A Gari Melchers painting stolen by the Nazis in 1933 from a Jewish family has been confiscated by the FBI from an upstate New York museum, where it has been part of the collection for decades. Winter was among 1,200 works the Nazis looted from the collection owned by the descendants of Jewish publisher Rudolf Mosse, who were persecuted and forced to flee from Germany. It was later auctioned off in New York City to Bartlett Arkell, the founder of the Beech-Nut Packing Co., who in turn, donated it to his museum in upstate New York. According to a press release from Gari Melchers Home and Studio, Curator Joanna Catron assisted with the recovery by providing documents of Mosse’s purchase directly from the artist in 1900 and Winter’s reappearance at a sale at the MacBeth Gallery in New York in 1934.

Painting stolen by Nazi regime, featured in NY museum to be returned to family (The Jerusalem Post)

Painting looted by Nazis in 1930s seized by FBI in New York (Washington Examiner; CNN.com)

Melchers painting that was seized by the Nazis is removed from New York museum (The Free Lance-Star)

Painting stolen by Nazis from Jewish family recovered from New York museum (USA Today; NBC News)

Painting stolen by Nazis from influential Berlin family recovered in New York (Deutsche Welle)

F.B.I. Recovers Nazi-Looted Painting From New York Museum (Smithsonian.com)

Fredericksburg City Council commits to renewable energy switch (The Free Lance-Star)

 

Recently Discovered Gari Melchers Painting Featured in Philadelphia Inquirer

"Winter" by Gari Melchers.

“Winter” by Gari Melchers.

Gari Melchers Home and Studio was featured in a Philadelphia Inquirer article about the recently discovered Gari Melchers’ painting, Winter, that was stolen by the Nazis in 1933. The work bears a striking resemblance to a Melchers’ painting, entitled Skaters, that is in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts’ (PAFA) permanent collection.

Winter was among 1,200 works the Nazis looted from the collection owned by the descendants of Jewish publisher Rudolf Mosse, who were persecuted and forced to flee from Germany. It was later auctioned off in New York City to Bartlett Arkell, the founder of the Beech-Nut Packing Co., who in turn, donated it to his museum in upstate New York. On the other hand, Skaters, was purchased by the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1901, and has remained there ever since.

Joanna Catron, GMHS’s assistant director and curator, wasn’t surprised that the two paintings look so similar.

“[Melchers] was known to copy or crib from himself multiple times — anything to pay the rent,” Catron told the Inquirer, adding that GMHS owns a pastel version of the oil painting at PAFA. “I think this was an instance of, ‘Well, this is so successful, I think I’ll try it in pastel.'” Read more. 

Melchers Paintings Loaned to Embassy in Austria

"In Old Virginia," one of the two Gari Melchers' paintings loaned to the residence of newly appointed Ambassador of Austria Jim Gilmore, former governor of Virginia.

“In Old Virginia,” one of the two Gari Melchers’ paintings loaned to the residence of newly appointed Ambassador of Austria Jim Gilmore, former governor of Virginia.

Gari Melchers Home and Studio has loaned two paintings by Gari Melchers for display in the residence of the ambassador to the U.S. Mission in Vienna, Austria. James Gilmore, former governor of Virginia, has been named the new U.S. ambassador. He has expressly asked officials of the Art in Embassies program of the U.S. Department of State to identify paintings that portray characteristic scenes of Virginia. The art of Gari Melchers, an internationally renowned painter who in his later years called Virginia home, was an obvious choice.

Two paintings were selected by Gilmore and the AIE officials. A landscape, entitled In Old Virginia, pictures a bucolic farmyard with cow, the real-life setting of which is down the hill from the artist’s Georgian house in Falmouth, Virginia.

A Native of Virginia

“A Native of Virginia” by Gari Melchers

A nearly life-size portrait of a sturdy pioneering type called A Native of Virginia, will also travel to Vienna, the pair intended as representative of the picturesque beauty of Virginia and the virtues of its citizenry. The loan will continue through the completion of Ambassador Gilmore’s assignment.  Gari Melchers Home and Studio last partnered with the Art in Embassies exhibition program in 2009 when it supplied paintings for display in the U.S. Embassy in Bern, Switzerland.

Contact: Joanna Catron at jcatron@umw.edu or 540 654-1841

Gari Melchers Home and Studio is a 28-acre estate and former residence of the artist Gari Melchers and his wife, Corinne. The property, which is operated by the University of Mary Washington, is both a Virginia Historic Landmark and a National Historic Landmark. Located at 224 Washington St. in Falmouth, Virginia, a quarter mile west of the intersection of U.S. 1 and U.S. 17, it is open daily with an admission charge.