Falmouth, Va. – Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont will be the first stop for a new national exhibition featuring rare paintings by William H. Johnson from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES). An essential figure in modern American art, William H. Johnson (1901-1970) was a virtuoso skilled in various media and techniques. “William H. Johnson: An American Modern” will be on display at Belmont Saturday, September 10 through Sunday, December 4. It will then continue on a 10-city tour through 2014.
Johnson produced thousands of works over a career that spanned decades, continents and genres. The pivotal stages of Johnson’s career as a modernist painter are assembled in this group of rarely seen paintings. Every step of his artistic development is conveyed—from his post-impressionist and expressionist works of the 1920s, to vibrant vernacular paintings from the end of his career in the 1940s, in which Johnson articulated his distinctive, unforgettable vision as an American modern artist. The paintings in the exhibition are from the collection of the James E. Lewis Museum at Morgan State University.
Gari Melchers Home and Studio has several events and programs planned in conjunction with the exhibition:
• Sunday, September 18, opening reception and illustrated presentation, “William H. Johnson: Modernist Master of New World Realities” by Dr. Leslie King Hammond, graduate dean emeritus and founding director of the center for race and culture at the Maryland Institute and College of Art
• Sunday, October 16, 1:30 and 3:30 p.m., “The People Can Fly: Tales of the Great Migration,” presented by storyteller Bill Grimmette
• Sunday, November 6, jazz concert and introduction to the history of jazz by drummer, percussionist and composer Robert Jospé and his four-piece band Inner Rhythm
These public programs are supported by the Smithsonian Community Grant program, funded by MetLife Foundation. Robert Jospe and Inner Rhythm are locally sponsored by the VMFA Office of Statewide Partnerships, funded, in part, by the Jean Stafford Camp Memorial Fund. All programs are free and include exhibition admission.
Developed by Morgan State University and SITES, the exhibition is made possible through the support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Henry Luce Foundation and Morgan State University Foundation Inc.
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, 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 museum website at www.GariMelchers.org.