December 2, 2021

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. 

www.GariMelchers.org 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beauty in the Rough a New Display at Belmont

Study for The Nativity, wash drawing, by Gari Melchers

Study for The Nativity, wash drawing, by Gari Melchers

Fourteen preliminary sketches and studies executed by local painting legend, Gari Melchers, are on view at Belmont, the Gari Melchers Home and Studio until June 1, 2021.

The collection at Belmont is the largest Gari Melchers inventory of its kind, including hundreds of sketches and studies that document his personal creative methodology. When working out a conceptual plan, the artist considered one or more design elements at a time, such as composition, proportion, form, light, color and perspective. Many of his experimental drawings eventually found their culmination as easel paintings, and the comparison of preliminary to finished works gives one the sense of looking over the artist’s shoulder as he gains new insights, eliminates undesirable pictorial effects and discovers better solutions. What’s also apparent is that his sketches and studies can have so strong a visual appeal due to the spontaneity of the effort that many of his examples can stand alone as works of art.

University of Mary Washington Museums to Reopen March 15

Fredericksburg, VA: Two museums administered by the University of Mary Washington—Gari Melchers Home and Studio and the James Monroe Museum—will reopen to the public on Monday, March 15 after a three-month shutdown related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both museums will be open to general visitors only, with no public programs or facility rentals through the end of June, 2021. They will operate with physical and policy adaptations to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 as required under #ForwardUMW and Forward Virginia Phase 3. Measures include increased cleaning, provision of hand sanitizer stations for visitors, limitations in group size, and adjusted traffic flows. Visitors will be required to wear masks inside museum buildings and practice social distancing. Specific COVID-related details are noted on the museums’ websites.

“All of our staff members are eager to welcome visitors back to our museums,” observed Scott Harris, Executive Director of UMW Museums. “We significantly increased our online educational content during the pandemic, and will continue to provide these resources, but nothing equals the thrill and impact of visiting in person.”

University of Mary Washington Museums Temporarily Closing

Gari Melchers Home and Studio and the James Monroe Museum will close to the public beginning Monday, November 23, 2020, and remain closed until Monday, January 4, 2021. This corresponds to the time period during which most University of Mary Washington facilities will be closed or operating with limited public access.

The Stafford County Tourist Information Center, administered by Gari Melchers Home and Studio, will also be closed to the public during this period. For information on Stafford County attractions, please visit https://www.tourstaffordva.com/.

The temporary closing is a precautionary measure taken in response to actual and potential increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Virginia and nationally, especially during the forthcoming holidays. Prior to January 4, University Museums leadership, in conjunction with the UMW administration, will decide whether remaining closed beyond January 4 is warranted. Such decisions will be closely aligned with the general public health situation, including any applicable local, state, or federal directives.

University of Mary Washington Museums offer a wide array of online educational resources, which may be accessed at the following sites:

Gari Melchers Home and Studio “Learn” page: https://www.garimelchers.org/education/learn/.

James Monroe Museum “Hands-On History” page: https://jamesmonroemuseum.umw.edu/about-james-monroe/hands-on-history/.

Papers of James Monroe “COVID-19 Resources” page: https://academics.umw.edu/jamesmonroepapers/covid-19-resources/.

The University of Mary Washington Museums, comprising Gari Melchers Home and Studio, the James Monroe Museum, and the Papers of James Monroe, support and enhance the educational mission of the University. In accordance with their respective missions, the component sites and programs of UMW Museums collect, preserve, and interpret artistic, cultural, and historic resources; promote scholarship and the diffusion of knowledge; provide experiential learning opportunities for UMW students; and support economic development through heritage tourism.

FBI Returns Gari Melchers Painting Stolen by Nazis to Owner’s Heirs

A version of the original Skaters, owned by PAFA, is on display.

A version of the original Skaters, owned by PAFA, is on display.

A Gari Melchers’ painting, “Winter,” originally owned by the Mosse family in Berlin, Germany, and looted by the Nazis when they fled the country, has been repatriated to the owner’s heirs. As reported in a 2019 media release, the FBI seized the painting from the Arkell Museum in Canajoharie, New York, who was unaware of its origins.

The painting’s successful restitution has been widely covered in the press. Here is an article sampling.

Gari Melchers painting stolen by Nazis is returned to family of original owners (The Free Lance-Star, October 16, 2020)

Painting returned 87 years after Nazis stole it from a Jewish family in Berlin (CNN, October 16, 2020)

Jewish family’s painting looted by Nazis in 1933 is returned (Associated Press, October 15, 2020)

United States Secures Return of Artwork 87 Years After Nazis Looted it from Jewish Family in Berlin (United States Department of Justice, October 15, 2020)

FBI returns painting stolen by Nazis to owners heirs (Houston Chronicle, October 15, 2020)

Gari Melchers cribbed from his original oil painting Skaters (owned by the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, or PAFA) to create our watercolor version by the same name. The stolen Winter is a related version.

Museum Partners to Create Virtual Content

Image of Gari Melchers Home & Studio Events - Arts and Flowers, Floral Design, Preschool Palette's I Am Yoga book, and Michelle Crow-Dolby.Although Gari Melchers Home & Studio, Belmont, reopened to the public on September 14, the museum’s education department continues to produce online content. GMHS Education and Communications Manager Michelle Crow-Dolby is partnering with community members to deliver diverse online educational products.

Two of the most recent initiatives focus on museum programs that currently cannot be offered in person due to COVID-19 concerns:  Preschool Palette and Picturing New Connections. The popular long-running Preschool Palette classes introduce children ages 2-5 to art galleries and process art projects. Since finding art supplies might be challenging for some households, Crow-Dolby opted for a different route for the online offering. She joined forces with children’s yoga instructor and Lafayette Upper Elementary School teacher Christine Garman to produce a video about yoga for children. In the video, Crow-Dolby first reads the book I Am Yoga in Belmont’s Summer House, then Garman leads an engaging yoga class in the Studio room.

Working with Lori Meyers, Regional Director, Fredericksburg Office, Alzheimer’s Association Greater Richmond, VA, Crow-Dolby also presented a recorded Zoom version of Picturing New Connections, a program for people with memory loss, their families, and care partners. Art, photography, music, and taste were all used to explore the theme of visiting county fairs.

In addition, when the garden was in full bloom, local floral and landscape designer Carolyn Helfrich helped create two videos. Helfrich artfully taught viewers the basics of floral arranging as well as how to interpret a painting through flowers.

“While we are thrilled to once again offer on-site tours, I am grateful to my collaborators for sharing their talents and expertise to generate much needed virtual experiences,” summarizes Crow-Dolby. Visit the museum’s LEARN page to explore all their online offerings.

Study for Iconic Melchers on View

In the Dunes by Gari Melchers

In the Dunes by Gari Melchers

A painting entitled In the Dunes is on display at Gari Melchers Home and Studio, Belmont, as a companion to Melchers’ monumental In Holland through January 3, 2021, thanks to a generous loan by the Sue C. Lang Family Trust.

In 1887, Gari Melchers began experimenting with the concept of rustic figures meeting on the dunes of Holland. The survival of several sketches in Belmont’s archives indicates that Melchers produced numerous iterations for what would become his iconic painting In Holland. In the Dunes is just such an example, an almost exact replica of In Holland though on a far smaller scale. In the Dunes was unknown to experts until it resurfaced in a private auction in Hamburg, Germany, in 2018 and sold to a local Fredericksburg collector. Because of its cursory application of paint it presumably started life as a small-scale study for In Holland, but the artist probably returned to it later, giving it enough finish to stand on its own as an easel painting.

University of Mary Washington Museums to Reopen September 14

Two museums administered by the University of Mary Washington will reopen to the public on Monday, September 14, 2020 after a six-month shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gari Melchers Home and Studio at 224 Washington Street in Falmouth is a National Historic Landmark that interprets the legacy of American impressionist painter Gari Melchers (1860-1932) and the 18th-century Belmont estate he and his wife, Corinne Lawton Melchers (1880-1955), purchased in 1916. Melchers was a widely-respected and prolific artist whose work included portraits of prominent figures in business and politics, as well as landscapes and figure paintings. The property was bequeathed to the Commonwealth of Virginia by Corinne Melchers and opened to the public in 1975. It features a furnished house, Melchers’ spacious studio, and galleries showcasing the world’s largest collection of his works. The 27-acre site includes a pavilion for programs and rental events, ornamental landscaping, and woodland walking trails. The museum store and visitor center building serves as the Stafford County Tourist Information Center. For more information, including policies related to COVID-19, visit www.garimelchers.org.

The James Monroe Museum at 908 Charles Street in Fredericksburg is a National Historic Landmark that interprets the life and legacy of James Monroe (1758-1831), a soldier, statesman, diplomat, and fifth president of the United States. Monroe’s fifty-year career included negotiation of the Louisiana Purchase Treaty, influential involvement in securing the Missouri Compromise, and the 1823 foreign policy statement that bears his name, the Monroe Doctrine. The museum, located on the site of Monroe’s law office, exhibits furniture, household items, paintings, and other decorative arts objects, many with a history of White House use. For more information, including policies related to COVID-19, visit www.jamesmonroemuseum.org.

Both museums will be open to general visitors only, with no public programs or facility rentals through the end of 2020. They will operate with physical and policy adaptations to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 as required under Forward Virginia Phase 3 and #ForwardUMW. Measures include increased cleaning, provision of hand sanitizer stations for visitors, limitations in group size, and adjusted traffic flows. Visitors will be required to wear masks inside museum buildings and practice social distancing. Specific COVID-related details are noted on the museums’ websites.

“All of our staff members are eager to welcome visitors back to our museums,” observed Scott Harris, Executive Director of UMW Museums. “We significantly increased our online educational content during the shutdown, and will continue to provide these resources, but nothing equals the thrill and impact of visiting in person.”

UMW Museums Receive Grant and Debut 3D Virtual Tours

Gari Melchers Home and Studio 3-D and virtual tour imageIn May, the University of Mary Washington Museums received a $5,480 Community Relief Fund grant from the Community Foundation of the Rappahannock River Region to increase online educational content. 

Both the James Monroe Museum (JMM) and Gari Melchers Home & Studio (GMHS) are pleased to announce the launch of their interactive and immersive 3D Virtual Tours. These 3D models, or “digital twins,” provide a real world, walk-through experience from the comfort of home. Explore the museums using either the Dollhouse or Floor-by-Floor layout experience. Event rental clients will benefit from the Measurement Mode option that allows users to take and share property measurements with a simple click. 

The tours are further enhanced by videos, high-resolution photography, and artifact information, plus links to blog posts, lesson plans, and online museum stores.  

Gari Melchers Home and Studio’s 3D Virtual Studio, Galleries, Pavilion, Historic House Museum, and Museum Store Tours 

James Monroe Museum’s 3D Virtual Tour 

Questions? Contact JMM’s Assistant Director/Curator Jarod Kearney at jkearney@umw.edu or GMHS’s Education and Communications Manager Michelle Crow-Dolby at mdolby@umw.edu.