Gari Melchers Home and Studio To Host Exhibition, Holiday Open House

Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont will hold the exhibition “J.C. Leyendecker: America’s ‘Other’ Illustrator” from Sunday, December 9 through Sunday, February 3, 2008. The exhibition’s opening day is set to coincide with Belmont’s 30th Annual Holiday Open House, held on Sunday, December 9 from 1 to 4 p.m. Both the exhibition and the open house are open to the public without charge on this day. 

Joseph Christian Leyendecker (1874-1951) may not be as well known as his fellow American illustrator Norman Rockwell, but during his long career, his illustrations were some of the most popular commercial art of its day, being associated with such familiar names as Colliers, The Saturday Evening Post and Kellogg’s. Leyendecker produced 322 covers for The Saturday Evening Post, more than any other artist, including Rockwell. As part of a major advertising campaign, he created a series of 20 “Kellogg’s Kids” to promote Kellogg’s Corn Flakes.

This showcase of 50 original paintings, sketches, studies and associated memorabilia provides new generations with the opportunity to experience the artwork that mainstream America took to its heart during the first half of the 20th century.

“J.C. Leyendecker was a contemporary of Gari Melchers, and this exhibition is another effort to help our visitors understand Melchers’ art in the context of what other artists were doing at the same time,” said David Berreth, director of Gari Melchers Home and Studio. “Leyendecker’s art is evocative of 1920s popular culture and helps us see with fresh eyes many aspects of American life that would have been familiar to Gari and Corinne Melchers when they lived at Belmont.”

The exhibition was organized by The Haggin Museum in Stockton, Calif. The objects, assembled by the museum in the 1950s, represent one of the largest collections of original Leyendecker art in the country. Local support for the exhibition is provided by the Melchers Advisory Council Exhibition fund. Related educational programming is underwritten by Wachovia Bank.

The December 9th Holiday Open House will feature live musical performances in the Studio Pavilion, holiday-themed presentations in the 1790s-era historic house and a 1920s-era Art Deco Museum Shop theme. Interior house decorations will be designed and installed by K2 Designs, and the Town and Country Garden Club will provide the exterior fresh decorations. 

Gari Melchers Home and Studio is a 26-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, Va., a quarter mile west of the intersection of U.S. 1 and U.S. 17, it is open daily with an admission charge. The museum also serves as the official Stafford County Visitor Center.

For directions and other information, call (540) 654-1015 or visit the Web site at www.GariMelchers.org.