July 13, 2020

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.

Young Life: Enjoy online adventures in history and art (fredericksburg.com)

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!

Winter Break Specials at UMW Museums

Enjoy free admission for UMW Faculty/Staff and their families (up to 5 members) at the James Monroe Museum and  Gari Melchers Home and Studio from December 19 – January 5.

Enjoy 20% off your museum store purchase.

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.

FBI Seizes Stolen Melchers Painting

"Winter" by Gari Melchers.

“Winter” by Gari Melchers.

A painting by renowned local artist Gari Melchers has been seized by the FBI where it has hung in the Arkell Museum in Canajoharie, New York, since 1934. The painting has been declared as property illegally and forcibly obtained by the Nazis, according to a report by the Washington Examiner, Oct. 18, 2019. The courts will determine who is the rightful owner of the property.

In the years leading up to WWI, American painter Gari Melchers was an expatriate headquartered in Holland and Weimar, Germany. He enjoyed the patronage of important German businessmen and manufacturers like German-American exporter Hugo Reisinger, the Krupp steel and armament dynasty, and Rudolf Mosse, the media giant whose flagship newspaper was the Berliner Tageblatt.

Mosse, a Jew, was a philanthropist and prolific collector of art. In 1900, he visited the Great Berlin Art Exhibition, an international forum of contemporary art, where he acquired a pastel painting entitled Winter by Melchers. The painting features a picturesque Dutch couple as they amble before a wintery village backdrop with skates and skating stick in tow.

When Mosse died in 1920, his extensive art collection, including the Melchers painting, passed to his wife, and following her death in 1924, to his sole heir, his daughter Felicia Lachmann-Mosse. When her husband, Hans, assumed control of his father-in-law’s publishing empire, his press was sharply critical of the rising Nazi powers. When the Reich began to target Jews in business and the media, the Lachmann-Mosses fled Germany and surrendered their businesses and all other holdings, including their art collection, to the state in August 1933.

The surviving heirs of Felicia Lachmann-Mosse have sought restitution of the family art collection confiscated under duress, establishing the Mosse Art Research Initiative (MARI) project with the assistance of the investigating unit of BartkoZankelBunzel. Joanna Catron, curator of the Gari Melchers Home and Studio, Falmouth, assisted the effort by providing papers documenting Rudolf Mosse’s purchase directly from the artist and Winter’s reappearance in 1934 at a Macbeth Gallery sale, New York. Subsequently several gaps in the picture’s trail have been closed.

Winter appeared as Skaters in a 1933 inventory of the Mosse collection in a Rudolf Lepke auction house sales catalog, Berlin, prepared by Nazi collaborator Karl Haberstock. Skaters was sold by Lepke in 1934 to an unknown buyer and appeared a short time later at the MacBeth Art Gallery in New York City, where it was sold on consignment to Bartlett Arkell, the American founder of the Beech-Nut Packing Company. It has hung in the museum he founded in Canajoharie, New York, until Sept. 10, 2019, when it was seized by the FBI.

The story regarding the seizing of Mosse’s publishing empire and art collections by the Third Reich and recent efforts to make restitution to his descendants is featured in the June 2018 issue of Smithsonian Magazine.

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.