South Carolina Art History

with an emphasis on representational art



This section of the Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) catalogue Topics in American Art is devoted to the topic "South Carolina Art History." Articles and essays specific to this topic published in TFAO's Resource Library are listed at the beginning of the section. Clicking on titles takes readers directly to the articles and essays.

Following the links to Resource Library articles and essays are a listing of museums in the state which have provided materials to Resource Library for this or any other topic.

Listed after Resource Library articles, essays and museums are links to online resources outside the TFAO website. Following these resources is information about offline resources including DVDs, paper-printed books, journals and articles. Our goal is to present complete knowledge relating to this section of Topics in American Art.

TFAO welcomes volunteers to further the broadening of knowledge related to this topic. To learn more about TFAO's many volunteer opportunities please click here. Volunteers are welcome to contribute suggestions for additional content in this catalogue. Please see Catalogue and database management for details.


Texts contained in Resource Library by named authors listed by author name in alphabetical order:

The Charleston Renaissance by Martha R. Severens


Articles contained in Resource Library without named authors listed by article name in alphabetical order:

Beyond Catfish Row: The Art of Porgy and Bess

Charleston Renaissance

The Charleston Renaissance

The Charleston Renaissance

The Mark B. Coplan Collection of Art at the South Carolina State Museum

South Carolina State House Art Collection

We recommend that researchers always search within Resource Library for additional material. Please see TFAO's page How to research topics not listed for more information. As of April, 2015 Resource Library contains 246 pages including the state's name.


Museums and other non-profit sources of Resource Library articles and essays:

Please click on the name of each source to view articles and essays related to that source:

Columbia Museum of Art

Gibbes Museum of Art

Greenville County Museum of Art

Halsey Gallery, College of Charleston

McKissick Museum

Spartanburg Art Museum

South Carolina State House Art Collection

South Carolina State Museum


(above: Gibbes Museum of Art near dusk, May, 2011. Photo © John Hazeltine)


Other online information:

Anna Heyward Taylor: GCMA Collection is a 2018 exhibit at the Greenville County Museum of Art which says: "Born in Columbia, artist Anna Heyward Taylor (1879-1956) was at the forefront of the Charleston Renaissance at the turn of the 20th century."  Also see Anna Taylor from The Johnson Collection. Accessed 6/18

Anna Heyward Taylor: Intrepid Explorer is a 2019 exhibit at the Gibbes Museum of Art which says: "This exhibition focuses on Taylor's visits to British Guiana as she created a substantial body of work during these trips. Taylor traveled to British Guiana as a staff artist for the scientific expedition led by naturalist William Beebe. There she created sketches and watercolor paintings of jungle foliage and animals. Once back in the United States she created batiks and woodblock prints based on her observations."   Accessed 4/20

Artists from South Carolina in Wikipedia. Accessed August, 2015.

"A Brief History of the Carolina Art Association and the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SC," by Sara Arnold, Gibbes Archivist, September, 2005, from Accessed August, 2015.

Carolina Art Association from Accessed August, 2015.

The Charleston Renaissance, by Robert M. Hicklin, Jr., from Accessed August, 2015.

Cry Joy Park - Gardens of Dark and Light is a 2019 exhibit at the Halsey Gallery, College of Charleston which says: "Cry Joy Park - Gardens of Dark and Light is an investigation into the construct of a utopia, inspired by the history of Charleston, South Carolina: a cultural and artistic capital of the American South, and an exemplar of its opulence and beauty."  Accessed 9/19 

Eyes on the Edge: J Henry Fair Photographs the Carolina Coast was a 2016 exhibit at the Columbia Museum of Art, which says: "American photographer and South Carolina native J Henry Fair captures images of the Carolina coast in this new collection of work that debuts at the Columbia Museum of Art. Fair documents our spectacular coastline through 27 dramatic, large-scale photographs that teeter between abstractions and high-resolution imagery of the land." CMA Stories features "Speaking with Photographer J Henry Fair," a 9/14/16 essay by Chief Curator Will South. Also hear a 1 hr 6 min sit down conversation between CMA Director of Education & Engagement Kerry Kuhlkin-Hornsby and American photographer and South Carolina native J Henry Fair on 8/25/16. Accessed 10/16

Grass Roots: African Origins of an American Art, an exhibit about basket makers in South Carolina's Gullah/Geechee region, held October 4, 2009 to January 10, 2010 at the Fowler Museum / UCLA. Includes press release. Accessed December, 2015.

Independent Spirits: Women Artists of South Carolina was a 2015-16 exhibit held at Columbia Museum of Art, which says: "Independent Spirits is a selection of approximately 30 works of art by women from across the state. South Carolina has produced and nourished many such "independent spirits," women who work against the social grain to pursue modern and experimental means of artistic expression. Whether they work in painting, sculpture, assemblage, ceramics, or installation, these women represent the undeniable role that women play in shaping the future of arts in South Carolina." View videos of artists explaining their work. Accessed 10/16

Rauschenberg in Charleston is a 2019 exhibit at the Gibbes Museum of Art which says: "Rauschenberg's first experiences with photography were in the South as a student at Black Mountain College between 1949 and 1952, and Charleston was one of his earliest subjects."  Also see 11/15/19 article in Charleston Art Mag. Accessed 5/20

Sherry Strickland Martin / Roots Run Deep is a 2018 exhibit at the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum which says: "Roots Run Deep is an exhibition of Martin's traditional watercolors and mixed media works that speak to her return to painting what nurtures her soul: that salt air, that plough mud and the sweet smell of oyster beds that line South Carolina's beautiful coast."  Accessed 11/18

Southern States Art League from Accessed August, 2015.

Vanishing Charleston is a 2018 exhibit at the Gibbes Museum of Art.  Amanda Breen, Curatorial Assistant, says: "The artists and works in Vanishing Charleston document a portion of the city that has faded into memory and the Charleston that continues to change with each passing day." Accessed 6/18

The Columbia Museum of Art provides online multimedia tours for the museum's collection and selected exhibits. Online tours for exhibits begin with a video introduction by the executive director, followed by audio clips pertaining to a set of artworks in the exhibit. As of December, 2015, tours for current exhibits include Independent Spirits, Women Artists of South Carolina; October 9, 2015 - January 10, 2016. Accessed December, 2015.


TFAO's Distinguished Artists catalogue provides online access to biographical information for artists associated with this state. Also, Search Resource Library for online articles and essays concerning both individual artists associated with this state's history and the history of art centers and museums in this state. Resource Library articles and essays devoted to individual artists and institutions are not listed on this page.


Books, listed by year of publication, with most recently published book listed first:

Artists in the Life of Charleston: Through Colony and State, from Restoration to Reconstruction: Transactions, APS, By Anna Wells Rutledge. Published by American Philosophical Society, 2008. ISBN 1422377083, 9781422377086. 260 pages. Google Books says: "Charleston's greatest contribution to American painting was timely patronage of men of ability. Contents of this study: Historical intro.; Art & artists from the 16th to the mid-18th cent.; Jeremiah Theus, Alexander Gordon, & the mid-18th cent.; Prosperous pre-Revolutionary years; The Revolutionary years; Federal years; The academic tradition & native talent in the first quarter of the 19th cent.; Fraser, Allston, White, & Cogdell; The South Carolina Acad. of Fine Arts, its predecessors & successors; Sculpture; Theatrical & decorative painters; The silhouettists; Backgrounds; Native talent & visiting strangers; "Female artists" & talented families; The daguerreotype & photography; Pre-war decades; & The war years -- 1861-1865. Ill. Full View of this book offered by Google Books.

Palmetto Silver: Riches of the South: A Celebration of South Carolina Silver, by McKissick Museum (Corporate Author), Karen Klein Swager (Editor). 92 pages. Publisher: University of South Carolina Press (November 2003). ISBN-10: 1570035334. ISBN-13: 978-1570035333. Product Description: "This publication showcases the riches of South Carolina silver. Based on a 2002 exhibition by the same name at the University of South Carolina's McKissick Museum, the book is the result of several years of research and draws heavily on items from private collections throughout the South." (text courtesy of

The Charleston Renaissance, By Martha R. Severens. Published by Saraland Press, 1998. Original from the University of Michigan. Digitized Nov 8, 2007. 216 pages. Google Books says: "Chronicles a dynamic period of modern southern history (1920-1945), detailing the legacy of Charleston and national artists."

South Carolina Art Selections from the South Carolina State Museum Collection, by Nancy Higgins. Publisher: South Carolina Museum (1991). ASIN: B001AUEM30

Row upon Row: Sea Grass Baskets of the South Carolina Lowcountry, by Dale Rosengarten. 68 pages. Publisher: University of South Carolina Press (September 1986). ISBN-10: 0872499561. ISBN-13: 978-0872499560

Century of American sculpture: treasures from Brookgreen Gardens, By Brookgreen Gardens, Alpheus Hyatt Mayor, Beatrice Gilman Proske, Joseph Veach Noble, Brookgreen Gardens. Published by Abbeville Press, 1981. 137 pages

Art in the Lives of South Carolinians: Nineteenth-century Chapters, By David Moltke-Hansen, Carolina Art Association. Published by Carolina Art Association, 1979. Original from the University of Michigan. Digitized Aug 1, 2007. 404 pages. Google Books says: "To be used as an accompaniment to exhibitions and colloquia held in Charleston and other South Carolina cities from Oct. 1978-May 1979."

The Columbia Art Association, 1915-1975, the Columbia Museum of Art, 1950-1975, Columbia, South Carolina: A History, Published by Columbia Museums of Art & Science, 1975. 59 pages

Art in South Carolina 1670-1970, By Francis W. Bilodeau, Thomas J. Tobias, E. Milby Burton, South Carolina Tricentennial Commission, Gibbes Art Gallery, Columbia Museum of Art, Greenville County Museum of Art. Published by South Carolina Tricentennial Commission, 1970. 229 pages

Brookgreen Gardens Sculpture, By Beatrice G. Proske. Published by Hispanic Society of Amer, 1968. ISBN 0875351085, 9780875351087

An Exhibition of Miniatures Owned in South Carolina and Miniatures of South Carolinians Owned Elsewhere, Painted Before the Year 1860, By Carolina Art Association, Gibbes Art Gallery, Robert N. S. Whitelaw. Published by Gibbes Memorial Art Gallery, 1936. Original from the University of California. Digitized Sep 19, 2007. 80 pages

Exhibition of Miniatures from Charleston and Its Vicinity Painted Before the Year 1860: Carolina Art Association, Gibbes Memorial Art Gallery, Charleston, South Carolina, 1935. By Carolina Art Association, Robert N. S. Whitelaw, Carolina Art Association. Published by Southern Ptg. & Pub. Co., 1935. Original from the University of California. Digitized Sep 19, 2007. 75 pages

Catalogue of the Tenth Annual Exhibition of the Southern States Art League, By Isaac Delgado (1930)

History of the Carolina Art Association ..., By Gabriel Edward Manigault. Published by Walker, Evans, & Cogswell, 1895



Martha R. Severens: "Greenville County Museum of Art, The Southern Collection" American Art Review December 95-January 96

Martha R. Severens: "The Charleston Renaissance" American Art Review September-October 1999 (Volume XI, Number 5)


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