Gari Melchers Home and Studio will host gallery talks presented by two Virginia artists within the context of Melchers’ art and Belmont’s spirit of place as important influences on their personal artistic visions.
Painter’s Point of View will showcase a selection of art by acclaimed Virginia painter Henry Wingate, who will lead a discussion on Sunday, Nov. 5, at 2 p.m., in Gari Melchers’ studio. A similar program, led by celebrated local painter Marcia Chaves, will take place on Sunday, Nov. 12, at 2 p.m., also in the studio.
The gallery talks are free with the price of admission to the museum. Seating is limited in Gari Melchers’ studio.
Henry Wingate was inspired by his first visit to Gari Melchers Home and Studio a few decades ago. He immediately embarked on an effort to reproduce Melchers’ studio for his own workspace in rural Madison, Virginia. Wingate is an oil painter, trained in the Boston School tradition of realism that links directly back to the atelier training experienced by Melchers and thousands of American expatriates in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Portrait painting is for Wingate, as it was for Melchers, the cornerstone of his career, but all subjects have attracted both artists, including figure painting, landscapes and still life.
Wingate has won numerous awards, including First Prize in the American Society of Portrait Artists 2000 competition, the Gold Medal of Honor at the 2003 Hudson Valley Art Association Annual Exhibition, and the Best Painting from Life Award of the National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society in 2003.
Marcia Covert Chaves is a native of Fredericksburg and has lived for the past 45 years in historic “Falmouth Bottom, in the studio once occupied by Gari Melchers. Many a Melchers canvas documents the environs of the old village, Falls Run and the Rappahannock River, and Chaves has followed in his footsteps. Old Falmouth continues to be a focus of Chaves’ sketching and painting, some examples of which were executed from photographs she took in the early 1970s.
Her other links to Melchers include early study with Bet Githens, who worked in another of Melchers’ studios in Falmouth, and later study with Julien Binford, a friend of Melchers’ widow and a well-known professor of art at Mary Washington College, whom Chaves remembers for his valuable lessons on line quality and figure harmony. Binford was an important advocate in the campaign to open Belmont as a memorial to Gari Melchers. Today Chaves’ studio and “sanctuary,” as she puts it, is located at 104 King St., once owned by a beloved fixture of the village, Miss Julia Payne, who served as Gari Melchers’ favorite model of motherhood.
Chaves has participated in countless local shows and at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. She has received Best in Show awards at the Fredericksburg Community Center, Fredericksburg Center for Creative Arts and Uniquely Stafford.
Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont is located at 224 Washington St. in Falmouth, across the Rappahannock River from Fredericksburg. A National Historic Landmark, the site is one of just 30 of America’s most significant artists’ spaces included in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios consortium.
For directions and hours of operation, call 540-654-1015, or visit the museum website. For more information, contact Joanna Catron, curator, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 540-654-1841.