The Westmoreland Museum of American Art to Present A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America

  • GREENSBURG, Pennsylvania
  • /
  • June 23, 2016

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Attributed to Edward Hicks (1780-1849), The Peaceable Kingdom with the Leopard of Serenity, 1835-1840, Oil on Canvas, 26 x 29 1/2 inches, Courtesy of the Barbara L. Gordon Collection

The Westmoreland Museum of American Art will present A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America, from Saturday, July 9 through Sunday, October 16, 2016. A free opening reception sponsored by Rivertowne Brewing will take place on Saturday, July 9 from 6:30 – 8:00pm with a members-only preview from 6:00 – 6:30pm at which museum members can meet collector Barbara L. Gordon.

This exhibition tells the story of the extraordinary work created by self-taught or minimally trained artists in New England, the Midwest, the Mid-Atlantic, and the South between 1800 and 1925 and is drawn from the private collection of Barbara L. Gordon. Made by artists in rural areas, these works did not always adhere to the academic models that established artistic taste in urban centers of the East Coast. Yet, because of the large number of professional and amateur artists who created folk art in the years following the Nation’s founding — and the sheer quantity of art they produced — folk art was the prevalent art form in the United States for more than a century.

The exhibition features more than 60 works by some of the most admired nineteenth century American artists, including rare and very fine portraits by such artists as Ammi Phillips and John Brewster, Jr.; vivid still lifes, allegorical scenes and landscapes, including a mature Peaceable Kingdom by Edward Hicks; whimsical trade signs and figure and animal sculptures; unique household objects and distinctive examples of furniture from the German American community. In total, they exemplify the breadth of American creative expression during a period of enormous political, social, and cultural change in the United States. 

The exhibition is drawn from the Barbara L. Gordon Collection and is organized and circulated by Art Services International, Alexandria, VA. A Shared Legacy is supported by the Hillman Exhibition Fund of The Westmoreland Museum of American Art.

A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America Events & Programs

Art Beat– From Liker to Lover to Owner: A Collector’s Journey 
Saturday, July 9 > 1:00–2:00pm 

Join Barbara L. Gordon, owner of the collection featured in A Shared Legacy, for a conversation about how we define folk art, the passion that transforms an admirer into a collector, and advice for anyone who aspires to own original works of art.

Opening Reception
Saturday, July 9 > 6:30–8:00pm (Members-Only Preview 6-6:30pm)

Celebrate the opening of A Shared Legacy with us at this free event! Enjoy live music, light bites provided by J. Corks and a cash bar. Plus, members of the Museum have the opportunity to attend a special preview hosted by the collector, Barbara L. Gordon. RSVPs are appreciated. Please visit to RSVP. Sponsored by Rivertowne Brewing.

Please Touch & Create Fun
Saturday, July 9 through Sunday, October 9

Satisfy both your curiosity and desire to touch before or after your visit to A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America in the Cantilever Gallery (where we respectfully ask you to refrain from touching). Not only will you be able to have direct contact with the objects in this gallery but we encourage you to have fun and ‘touch’ your creative side by making a piece of your own from the supplies provided.

SmART Chat – Stories Told in Ballads and Scrolls 
Wednesday, July 20 > 6:00–7:00pm 

Join artist and folk singer Ellen Gozion as she performs folk songs filled with powerful storytelling imagery. Discover the magic of “crankies,” an old storytelling art form utilizing a long illustrated scroll wound onto two spools, which Ellen uses to add an extra layer of fancy to her ballads. 

Art Beat – Quality vs. Quantity 
Saturday, August 13 > 1:00–2:00pm 

Meet Robert and Ada Brandegee, retired art dealers and collectors of antiques and folk art, as they share their insight into building collections of art. Learn from their personal stories about the objects they’ve amassed in their lifetime and how they balance the attraction of a beautiful item with its place in their overall plan. 

SmART Chat with Barbara Jones 
Wednesday, August 17 > 6:00–7:00pm
Join Chief Curator, Barbara Jones, for a gallery talk to learn about how everyday objects evolved into important historical artifacts. From practical cupboards and chests to whimsical carved animals, the nineteenth-century American home featured a wide variety of handmade objects that would rival the offerings of modern-day online retailers like Etsy. 

Art Beat with Lisa Minardi
Saturday, September 10 > 1:00–2:00pm 

Meet Lisa Minardi, Assistant Curator, Collections at Winterthur Museum and a specialist in Pennsylvania German art and culture, as she gives an illustrated presentation on Pennsylvania German fraktur (decorated manuscripts) and painted furniture that includes a close look at objects in A Shared Legacy

For more information, please visit

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