Greenville County Museum of Art

Greenville, SC



Charleston Renaissance


The key images and artists of the Charleston Renaissance are included in a highly focused exhibition on view from July 19, 2000 through January 7, 2001 at the Greenville County Museum of Art.

"Charleston Renaissance" is a selection of works drawn from a major exhibition of the same title which debuted in Greenville in 1998 and has been seen at museums in Columbia, Charleston, and Augusta, GA. (left: Ellen Day Hale, The Vegetable Cart, Charleston)

The Charleston Renaissance was a dramatic cultural renewal, fostered by artists, poets, musicians, and architects in the years between 1915 and 1940. It was a movement that rescued South Carolina's premier coastal city from the spiritual and physical devastations of the Civil War and later, the Great Depression. Works by Alice Ravenel Huger Smith, Elizabeth O'Neill Verner, Anna Heyward Taylor, Alfred Hutty, William Posey Silva, and Ellen Day Hale are represented in this compact exhibition, which includes oils, watercolors and prints of landscapes, architecture, and genre, or local color.

Mossy Tree (1919) (right), is a color wood-block print by Alice Smith, whose interest in Japanese-styled prints led to the creation of an etching club that fostered the arts in Charleston and spread its featured images far and wide. The Rector's Kitchen and View of St Michael's (circa 1915), on the other hand, is a watercolor of one of the city's best-known landmarks.

Anna Heyward Taylor's Fenwick Hall (1930) (below left) captures that iconic plantation house in the years before its renovation, a derelict old building dappled in sunlight. Her Gaden on He Head (circa 1925) and The Strike (1933) are genre images whose subjects are African Americans. The Strike is a watercolor on board depicting the effects of the Depression and a work stoppage at a textile mill. Gaden on He Head juxtaposes colorful street vendors against the gates of the landmark Simmons-Edward House. Its title is the Gullah cry used by vendors to announce themselves.

White Azaleas-Magnolia Gardens (1925) by Alfred Hutty and The Sun Dispels the Morning Fog (1927) by William Silva create visually dramatic views of moss-draped trees and the shimmering reflection of vegetation typical of Ashley River plantations, favorite destinations for landscape painters in the renaissance era.

"We selected the elements of this compact exhibition based on the quality of the images and their artistic significance," said Curator Martha R. Severens. "The selection presents a range of work by the most important artists of the Charleston Renaissance."

"Charleston Renaissance" brings together works purchased with funds from recent Museum Antiques Shows and includes two new paintings-Cypress in Winter by Alice Smith and The Aristocrat by Elizabeth Verner-which are the focus of fundraising for this year's event, set for October 13-15, 2000.

Related programs include gallery talks by the Curator.


Read more articles and essays concerning this institutional source by visiting the sub-index page for the Greenville County Museum of Art in Resource Library Magazine


Editor's note:

See another Resource Library article on The Charleston Renaissance for photos of related scenes.


For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 3/18/11

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