Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Thomas Hart Benton and Jasper Francis Cropsey paintings Acquired by Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
The trustees of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts have approved the acquisition of Thomas Hart Benton's Brideship, one of the final two canvases painted by Benton for his first mural cycle, "The American Historical Epic." The painting, also known as Colonial Brides, was conceived while Benton (1889-1975) was serving in the U.S. Navy at Norfolk, Va., and was executed in oil and egg tempera on canvas about 1927-28. It measures 60-3/16 by 42-1/8 inches.
The painting depicts a woman on a wharf selling herself as a bride to pay her passage to the New World. The model for the bride was Benton's wife, Rita. The museum's curator of American arts, Dr. David Park Curry, calls the painting "a rare, important and unexpected example of American regionalism - an early, yet fully mature picture by Benton."
"Not only was the picture conceived here in the Commonwealth," Cuny says, "but this particular image also depicts a Colonial subject that admirably complements the nature and focus of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts permanent American collection."
The acquisition of the painting was part museum purchase through the Harwood and Louise Cochrane Fund and part gift of Crosby Kemper of Kansas City, Mo.
artist Jasper Cropsey's Autumn in the Warwick Valley has been approved
for acquisition by the museum's trustees. The painting was the gift of Mrs.
James Symington of Leesburg, Va. Measuring 12-5/8 by 22-5/16 inches and
signed and dated by the artist on the bottom left, the painting offers a
panorama of the southern Catskill Mountains, which Cropsey (1823-1900) could
see from the studio window of his country estate in Warwick, NY. Cropsey
was of the second generation of Hudson River School artists and gained an
international reputation in the 1850s by specializing in renderings of the
vivid autumn foliage of the Northeastern U.S.
From top to bottom: "Brideship" - also known as "Colonial Brides" - was conceived while the artist, Thomas Hart Benton, was serving with the U.S. Navy in Norfolk, Virginia. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts' acquisition of the painting was part museum purchase and part gift of Crosby Kemper of Kansas City, Mo. Photo © 1998 Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; American artist Jasper Francis Cropsey's "Autumn in the Warwick Valley" has been acquired by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The painting was the gift of Mrs. James Symington of Leesburg, Va. Photo by Katherine Wetzel, © 1998 Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
For further biographical information on selected artists cited in this article please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.
This page was originally published 10/24/98 in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 11/28/11
Search Resource Library for thousands of articles and essays on American art.
Copyright 2011 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.