February 7, 2023

Rarely Seen President Theodore Roosevelt Portrait by Gari Melchers Included in New Smithsonian Exhibition

The 1908 portrait of Theodore Roosevelt by Gari Melchers appears next to a statue of a Tang Dynasty bodhisattva at the National Museum of Asian Art.

The 1908 portrait of Theodore Roosevelt by Gari Melchers appears next to a statue of a Tang Dynasty bodhisattva at the National Museum of Asian Art.

As part of the Freer Gallery’s centennial celebration, the portrait painted by American artist Gari Melchers of President Theodore Roosevelt is now on view at the National Museum of Asian Art’s exhibition, “Freer’s Global Network: Artists, Collectors and Dealers.” 

“Gari Melchers Home & Studio, which houses the largest collection of Melchers’ work in the world, is excited about Melchers’ work reaching audiences on a larger scale in Washington, D.C.,” says Executive Director of University of Mary Washington Museums Scott Harris. 

Related articles 

Why the U.S. Rejected—Then Embraced—a Detroit Industrialist’s Rare Collection of Asian Art, Smithsonian Magazine, December 16, 2022 

Painting a President, Gari Melchers Home and Studio blog post 

Theodore Roosevelt’s Portrait by Gari Melchers, White House History Quarterly 

Noted Decorative Arts Consultant Chosen for Belmont Master Plan

F. Carey Howlett

Nationally respected conservator F. Carey Howlett will work with Gari Melchers Home and Studio to develop a comprehensive master plan for the house’s first-story exhibition spaces.

Starting in January 2023, F. Carey Howlett & Associates, specialists in the conservation of historic furniture and interiors, will be working with Gari Melchers Home and Studio to develop a comprehensive master plan for the house’s first story exhibition spaces. The main objective is twofold: to enhance interpretive goals for the primary living spaces of Gari and Corinne Melchers and ensure the long-term care and preservation of these spaces and the collections within them.

F. Carey Howlett is one of the country’s most respected conservators and has worked with numerous museums and private collections over his 40+ year career. His past clients include the Chrysler Museum of Art; the Flagler Museum; Historic Annapolis; Gunston Hall; Stratford Hall; and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Mr. Howlett also served as principal conservator for John Milner Associates and director of conservation for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. He is experienced as a conservator of historic furniture and architectural interiors and as a researcher, consultant, project manager and museum administrator. His special strengths include innovative conservation treatment techniques; broad knowledge of historic periods, styles, and fabrication techniques; a full range of woodworking skills; research skills; expertise in microscopy (coatings analysis and wood identification); and extensive speaking and publishing experience.

The development of Belmont’s master plan will require an initial study of the current interpretation of the spaces and a compilation of all physical, archival, documentary and photographic evidence of these spaces while the Melchers were in residence. Preliminary work will also require a study of all factors affecting the preservation of both the architecture and the collections objects in these spaces, including environmental concerns, visitor access and housekeeping. Information collected in this study will be compiled as a written report with photographic documentation. This compilation will serve as the basis for the accompanying Master Plan for Interpretation and Preservation of the First Story Exhibition Spaces at Belmont, including a prioritized schedule for projects necessary to realize these goals. The plan will also contain a tentative budget for this work.

Development of the master plan is generously supported by the Margaret Walker Purinton Foundation of Charlottesville, Virginia.

From Holland to Falmouth, Donated Melchers Painting Comes to Belmont

The Crimson Rambler

The Crimson Rambler

Christmas came early to Gari Melchers Home and Studio this year, in the form of an anonymous donation of a significant painting. Gari Melchers painted The Crimson Rambler at his residence in Holland sometime around 1910 to 1915.

After Melchers sold the painting in 1919, it was owned by several individuals before its acquisition by the anonymous donor. In the coming weeks, the painting will go on exhibit with other examples of Gari Melchers’ work, helping better define and interpret the artist’s own stylistic journey.

The Crimson Rambler is a vivid example of the Impressionist style the artist adopted in the latter stage of his career. The vibrant floral arbor, which gives the work its title, frames a background view that includes a small statue. To Belmont visitors during the Melchers era, or to museumgoers today, the cherubic boy—known as a putto in classical artistic vernacular—might seem familiar. The original figure, carved in wood, was displayed out of doors at the home of Gari and Corinne Melchers in Egmond aan der Hoef, Holland, and later on the lawn of Belmont after the couple purchased the estate in 1916. Generous support from the Garden Club of Virginia allowed a bronze copy of the statue to be outside while the wooden original resides in Belmont’s sunroom. Read a related blog post.


Belmont Celebrates Home for the Holidays Through Dec. 30

Gari Melchers Home and Studio presents Home for the Holidays through December 30. Enjoy the house decorated for the holidays in the spirit and style of American painter Gari Melchers and his talented artist-wife, Corinne. Dialogue-based guided holiday tours are offered daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This year’s signature Christmas tree will feature dolls from around the world.

Picturing New Connections: Belmont Event Targets Alzheimer’s

Let’s Go to the Fair!
Thursday, September 8, 10:30am
Gari Melchers Home & Studio

Gari Melchers Home & Studio is partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Richmond Chapter, to offer Picturing New Connections—a small, welcoming program for people with early stage memory loss, their families or care partners. These interactive tours include guided discussions in the studio and gallery space, followed by a hands-on art experience. Emphasis is placed on engaging participants through music, touch and smell. Each hour-long program features a unique theme, paintings and art project.


Gari Melchers Home & Studio charges a $5 fee per person for participating.

Questions? Please contact GMHS Education and Communication Manager Michelle Crow-Dolby.

Gari Melchers Home and Studio Receives Restoration Award


L-R: Steve Stokes, owner, Stokes of England Blacksmithing Company; Scott Harris, Executive Director, UMW Museums; Tim Winther, owner, Dominion Traditional Building Group (with daughter Lillian); Hunter Shackleford (UMW ’20), Lawrence King (UMW ’20), and Sam Biggers (UMW ’16), all of Dominion Traditional Building Group.

L-R: Steve Stokes, owner, Stokes of England Blacksmithing Company; Scott Harris, Executive Director, UMW Museums; Tim Winther, owner, Dominion Traditional Building Group (with daughter Lillian); Hunter Shackleford (UMW ’20), Lawrence King (UMW ’20), and Sam Biggers (UMW ’16), all of Dominion Traditional Building Group.

At its annual meeting on March 27, 2022, the Historic Fredericksburg Foundation, Inc. presented the E. Boyd Graves Preservation Award to Gari Melchers Home and Studio for restoration of the ca. 1850 Horseshoe Staircase at Belmont. The museum shared the award with project Dominion Traditional Building Group of Marshall, Virginia and Stokes of England Blacksmithing Company of Keswick, Virginia. The award publicly recognizes notable preservation achievements made by groups or individuals during the previous year that contributed to the protection, understanding, appreciation, and revitalization of the Fredericksburg region’s history and historic resources. Originally known as the Preservation Achievement Award, the name was changed in 1988 to honor the late E. Boyd Graves, a founding member of HFFI, for his many years of service to local preservation and the instrumental role he played in the protection, restoration, and adaptive reuse of some of Fredericksburg’s most recognizable historic landmarks.

The Horseshoe Staircase at Gari Melchers Home and Studio.

The Horseshoe Staircase at Gari Melchers Home and Studio.

The Horseshoe Staircase is believed to date to ca. 1850, when Belmont’s owner, Joseph B. Ficklen, expanded the house. While the iron railing was likely fabricated in Philadelphia or another Pennsylvania community, initial construction of the stone steps almost certainly involved the Ficklens’ enslaved workforce. The staircase was included in the inaugural list of Virginia’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts in 2011. Nearly 30 individual and organizational donors funded the $100,000 restoration project. Stokes of England completed conservation of the iron railing in March 2021, and Dominion Traditional Building Group undertook disassembly, repair, and reinstallation of the stone staircase from August to October 2021. Completion of the stonework, delayed by the onset of winter, is anticipated in April 2022, with a public unveiling to be announced.

Festival Premieres Live Music at Silent Film Screening

Gari Melchers Home and Studio and the University of Mary Washington Music Department are partnering to present a three-day Chamber Music Festival to run from March 18-20, 2022 in the intimate setting of Gari Melchers’ Pavilion at Belmont.

Silent movies image with Charlie Chaplin“This year we are very excited to feature The Sounds of Silents, a double screening of two silent film classics accompanied by live music,” says Assistant Director and Curator Joanna Catron. “It will be an opportunity to experience a now-lost cultural genre and ought to be a really entertaining evening.”

Acclaimed composer Dr. Andrew Simpson is curating the program and will join an ensemble to premier his musical scores for the comedic silents Easy Street with Charlie Chaplin and The Balloonatic with Buster Keaton, breaking briefly to discuss the genre of silent film as a nexus of drama, visual art and music.

The Chamber Music Festival is presented each spring featuring student, faculty, and professional groups. The Festival opens on Friday evening, March 18 at 7:30 PM with performances by the UMW Flute and Guitar Ensemble and the Chamber Music Trio under the direction of Doug Gately. Various musical styles and genres spanning the centuries will be performed. Day three of the Festival, Sunday, March 20, 3:00PM, showcases the United States Air Force Woodwind Quintet.

Admission is free for the performances on March 18 and 20. The Sounds of Silents on March 19 requires advance ticketing. For more information go to https://www.garimelchers.org/sounds-of-silents/.

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 Street 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.

Belmont to Host Home for the Holidays

Belmont, the historic home of artist Gari Melchers and his wife, Corinne, will celebrate the season, with decorations on view through Jan. 2, 2022. In the 1920s, the Melchers took great delight in festively decorating their elegant country house during the holidays.

Although Gari Melchers divided his time between his commercial headquarters in New York City and his Virginia retreat, neighbors could always count on finding him at home during the yuletide season. He was sure to have dragged friends and family from the city to an old-fashioned Christmas feast, with fresh turkey raised at Belmont and Maryland crab soup specified by his Baltimore-born wife.

The interior decorations were arranged by Belmont Assistant Director and Curator Joanna Catron using Mrs. Melchers’ journal entries and archival materials to inspire the look and warmth of the welcoming home. This year’s exterior decorations are provided by the Sunlight Garden Club.
“Home for the Holidays” is included with museum admission. GariMelchers.org

Melchers Paintings on Loan for Florida Exhibition

A selection of 18 paintings from the collection of Gari Melchers Home & Studio are on loan to the Lowe Art Museum in Coral Gables, Florida. The paintings are featured in the Lowe’s exhibition An American Master at Home and Abroad: Gari Melchers (1860-1932) on view from November 18, 2021- February 13, 2022. 

Jointly curated with the Lowe Museum of Art, this exhibition surveys more than a half-century of Melchers’ career with key examples of the painting styles he favored, including landscape, genre scenes and portraiture. 

Gari Melchers was exceptionally versatile in his subject matter, being associated with Dutch peasant life, portraiture, the mother and child theme, landscapes, the nude and still life, as well as mural painting. His stylistic approach was equally eclectic, assimilating many of the progressive tendencies circulating around 1900, from academic realism to naturalism, symbolism and impressionism, but always in the service of old-fashioned, time-honored themes. In this way, Melchers amalgamated the old and the new into something uniquely his own. 


Holmes, Crow-Dolby to serve on Fredericksburg PR Society board

GMHS Education and Communications Manager Michelle Crow-Dolby

GMHS Education and Communications Manager Michelle Crow-Dolby

UMW Director of Marketing Malcolm Holmes

UMW Director of Marketing Malcolm Holmes

University of Mary Washington Director of Marketing Malcolm Holmes was recently announced as the president of the Fredericksburg Public Relations Society Board for the 2021-22 season. Gari Melchers Home and Studio Education and Communications Manager Michelle Crow-Dolby will serve as the board’s recording secretary. Read more.