Flint Institute of Arts

Flint, MI




American Naïve Paintings: The Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch Collection


The Flint Institute of Arts presents American Naïve Paintings: The Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch Collection. This exhibit from the Flint Institute of Arts permanent collection is made up of the forty pieces given to the museum by the late Colonel and Mrs. Garbisch over time between 1968 and 1981. The exhibit will be on display from October 9 - November 7, !999.

Bernice Chrysler Garbisch lived in Flint as a young girl. Her father was president of Buick Motor Company in Flint from 1912 to 1919 and later founded Chrysler Corporation.

During their lifetimes, the Garbisches assembled the most extensive collection of primitive, or naïve, paintings ever brought together. Their goal was to stimulate an enjoyment and appreciation of early American painting. Sharing their treasures with the public, not only in this country but abroad, they provided through exhibitions and publications a look at a little known but intriguing aspect of the indigenous material culture of the United States. (left: Unknown Artist, Man Operating a Steam Engine, oil on wood panel, c. 1832, Flint Institute of Arts, Gift of Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, 1981.8)

From Colonial times well into the nineteenth century, our American forefathers expressed themselves with renderings of fruit and flowers, birds and beasts, pictures of their surroundings and their families. Indigenous, untrained painters produced this art in response to the needs and enthusiasms of their contemporaries, creating a body of work that is part of our American heritage. Formerly considered for its value in documenting the history of the times, the tradition of these charming images is now receiving the attention it deserves as a serious aspect of American art history.

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