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Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum

Navajo Weavings: Tradition And Trade

Art Museums Expansion

“Navajo Weavings: Tradition and Trade,” in the McCarl Gallery features over twenty rare, colorful and pictorial Navajo weavings created by anonymous Navajo women working on hand looms in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The exhibition showcases a variety of pictorial designs, materials, and symbolic imagery. The earliest object is a man’s traditional wearing blanket from about 1860. Later weavings from the early 20th century began to depict the influence of the Anglo world including the incorporation of trains, American flags, and livestock.

The Navajo weavings are on loan to the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg from Rex and Pat Lucke. The exhibit is made possible through the generosity of an anonymous donor.

Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum Travel Tips

  • The ticket price includes the cost for a visit to DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum.
  • You can visit the museum as part of your Colonial Williamsburg ticket or separately.
  • There are guided tours available for certain days. Check the museum website for a complete schedule.
  • The museum has a nice gift shop that you can visit.

From Forge And Furnace: A Celebration Of Early American Iron

Can iron and art be used in the same sentence? Absolutely! This hard, often black or gray, metal was used to make everything from stoves and hinges to andirons and weathervanes. As with most folk art, though, the makers of these utilitarian pieces chose to embellish their work to make them interesting and attractive although no more functional than if they left them unadorned. A stove could still heat a room whether it was a simple iron box or iron cast into a statue of George Washington. This exhibition highlights these decorative, yet useful, objects made in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Iron mining and iron production were established in the colonies almost as soon as settlers arrived. By the American Revolution, Virginia had several furnaces providing the iron that was made into firebacks, stoveplates and a myriad of household items like ladles, toasters, trivets and tammels.

In the Peebles Gallery

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We The People: American Folk Portraits

In this anniversary year, the Folk Art Museum celebrates with a new exhibition featuring a wonderful collection of American folk portraits. One of the first folk art pieces Mrs. Rockefeller acquired was a charming painting of a child. From there, her collection grew. On view will be images of children with their favorite pet or toy, companion portraits of husband and wife, and paintings of individuals. These early American folk portraits are treasured for their historical significance as well as their aesthetic appeal. Without folk painters, the faces of many members of the middle and, sometimes, lower classes would not have been recorded. The portraits reveal much about ordinary people: how they lived, what they valued, and how they wished to be remembered. Folk portraits give us glimpses of the countless people who shaped America as vitally and lastingly as her better known movers and shakers. The artists too left something of themselves. They did not achieve their occupation through formal guidance or direction from others but, instead, through inborn talent and intuition. On view will be old favorites from the collections as well as new acquisitions never before exhibited.

This exhibition is made possible through the generosity of Don and Elaine Bogus.

In the Jan Curtis and Frank J. Spayth Gallery

The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum Goes To New York

Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is pleased to commence 60th-anniversary celebrations for the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum in New York this January. The featured loan exhibition for the prestigious Winter Antiques Show, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum: Revolution and Evolution highlights notable examples from Rockefellers original collection alongside paintings, sculpture, and decorative art acquired by the Museum over the past six decades.

The exhibition honors Abby Rockefeller, wife of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., as one of the early collectors of American folk art. It salutes her vision, which continues to guide the ever-evolving AARFAM and inspires ongoing collecting and acquisitions process. A forerunner in the American folk and modern art fields, Rockefeller was instrumental in fostering an awareness of the connection between the aesthetic values of modern expression and American folk art. She assembled a first-rate collection of paintings, drawings, and sculpture that she lent anonymously to the Museum of Modern Arts landmark 1932 exhibition American folk Art: The Art of the Common Man in America, 1750-1900. In 1935, she loaned that collection to Colonial Williamsburg, where it was exhibited in the recently restored Ludwell-Paradise House.


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With three museums in one, theres so much to see and do at Colonial Williamsburg, so this is one mailing list you’ll want to join. Stay informed about upcoming events, opening exhibitions, new programming, and be the first to get great special offers at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum as well as the living history museum.

The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum Celebrates Its 60th At The Winter Antiques Show

Fig. 2: Senator Nelson Aldrich and family, with Abby Aldrich Rockefeller on the left. Image courtesy, The Rockefeller Archive Center, Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.
Fig. 1: Robert Brackman , Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, New York, N.Y., 1941. Oil on canvas. Private collection. This contemporary portrait captures the determination and sincerity with which Abby Aldrich Rockefeller put together her world-class collection.
Deborah Glen, Attributed to the Gansevoort Limner, Vicinity of Albany, N.Y., ca. 1739. Oil on canvas. Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Museum Purchase . This impressive portrait descended in the sitters family prior to coming to Colonial Williamsburg in 1964. The Glen-Sanders estate is one of several important collections that were acquired by the Foundation over its ninety year history. It is a fine example of the artists work and remains one of the most celebrated portraits in the paintings collection.
Fig. 3: Baby in Red Chair, possibly Pennsylvania, 18101830. Oil on canvas. Colonial Williamsburg Foundation From the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Collection Gift of David Rockefeller . One of Rockefellers earliest painting acquisitions purchased from Edith Gregor Halpert in 1931 is this captivating likeness of a sleeping child in a red chair. Although long believed to be from Pennsylvania, no other works by this unknown artist have been discovered there, or in Boston, where the picture was found.
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    Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum Booklet

    Revolution & Evolution: Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum is a catalog of the 2017 Winter Antiques Show loan exhibit which is also an introduction to the extraordinary treasures of the Abby Aldrich Folk Art Museum and to the rich variety of American folk art. The book features 50 works, from paintings and pots to chairs and chests.

    Early Exhibitions Of The Collection

    Folk Art Christmas Tree

    In 1930 and 1931, the Newark Museum exhibited a collection of American folk art. Approximately 10 percent of these items were attributed to the same anonymous donor, in actuality the donor was Abby Rockefeller.

    In 1932, Rockefeller’s collection was again loaned anonymously, this time to the Museum of Modern Art for an exhibition titled American Folk Art: The Art of the Common Man in America. Of the 175 objects on display, 174 of the objects belonged to Rockefeller, with the remaining single object belonging to Henry Cahill. The exhibition was highly successful, and became the first traveling exhibition of American folk art, visiting six American cities from 1932 to 1934.

    The objects displayed during these two early exhibitions were mostly from New England and Pennsylvania and constituted a wide range of art categories including: oil paintings, pastels, watercolors, paintings on velvet, paintings on glass, wood sculptures, metal sculptures, and chalkware.

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    Sentences Forabby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum

    Development Of The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum

    In 1934, Rockefeller began to lend parts of her collection for permanent display in the Ludwell-Paradis House in Colonial Williamsburg. The exhibits were installed mostly under the guidance of Edith Halpert and opened to the public in 1935, remaining open until January 1956. Other pieces were hung in Colonial Williamsburg in neighboring exhibition buildings or operating taverns, blending in with the existing decor.

    In 1939, fifty-four pieces of the folk art collection were donated to the Museum of Modern Art.

    In 1954, six years after Abby Rockefeller’s death, the March edition of Antiques magazine published an announcement that a new museum would be constructed to house the Rockefeller folk art collection. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. provided the funds for construction of the project and the purchase of new objects. This endowment was so large that the museum was able to acquire over a hundred new objects in its first year of operation.

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    The Art Of Edward Hicks

    Peaceable Kingdom, Bucks County, Penn., 1832-34 Oil on canvas. Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Collection, gift of David Rockefeller.

    WILLIAMSBURG, VA. To what do we owe our enduring fascination with the Quaker folk painter Edward Hicks ? Is it the charm of the winsome creatures who congregate on his crowded canvases? The unexpected depth of meaning embedded in the painters amiable compositions? Is it received wisdom, a reflexively communal response to an artist whose work regularly surpasses the million-dollar mark at auction?

    Laura Pass Barry, Colonial Williamsburg Foundations Juli Grainger curator of paintings, drawings and sculpture, has given decades of thought to the subject. Her findings are distilled in The Art of Edward Hicks, on view at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum at Colonial Williamsburg through 2022. The exhibition presents a Hicks collection of incomparable depth, begun by the museums namesake founder Abby Aldrich Rockefeller in the early decades of the Twentieth Century and enlarged over time. This is the first time in roughly 20 years that nearly every Hicks piece in the collection is on view at once.

    Portrait of Edward Hicks by Thomas Hicks , Newton, Penn., 1838-41. Oil on canvas. Museum purchase, 1967.

    Peaceable Kingdom of the Branch, Bucks County, Penn., 1822-25. Oil on canvas. Museum purchase, 1967.

    Penns Treaty with the Indians, Bucks County, Penn., 1830-35. Oil on canvas. Museum purchase, 1958.

    The Art Museums Of Colonial Williamsburg

    Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum

    The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s vast collections comprise more than 70,000 examples of fine, decorative, mechanical and folk art. Included are exceptional examples of American and British ceramics, glass, furniture, textiles, costumes, tools, firearms, numismatics, metals, toys, prints, maps, paintings, drawings and architectural fragments from the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries, as well as American folk art up to the present day. Many of these objects are shown in innovative changing exhibitions at the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg: the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum. Others are used to furnish more than 200 rooms in Williamsburg’s historic buildings, where they provide guests with a better understanding of life in early Virginia.

    Explore and search our Online Collections to learn more about these objects. Visit the site often as new objects are added daily.

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    Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum

    Art Museums

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    Art is in the eye of the beholder. In the galleries of the folk art museum, you’ll discover an amazing variety of paintings, sculptures, and other objects created by talented, self-trained artists and craftsmen. In fact, it’s one of the largest collections of American folk art.

    International House Of New York

    Abby Rockefeller was the chairman of the Furnishing Committee of the International House of New York. As chairman, she strove to add American decor to the interior of the building, drawing largely on her childhood in Providence, Rhode Island for inspiration. For twenty-five years she was a regular visitor to the International House and for many years her and her husband would host Christmas parties for inhabitants of the house.

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    Great American Folk Art At The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum Part 1 By Ronald L Hurst

    PART I

    When John D. Rockefeller Jr. established Colonial Williamsburgs Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum in 1957, he recognized that the collection needed to grow beyond its namesakes initial gift of 424 objects. New discoveries, evolving scholarship, and mounting public interest in folk art all demanded that it do so. Mr. Rockefeller consequently established an endowment that funded the purchase of over 100 works during the first year alone. Among them were extraordinary landscapes, such as Edward Hickss Leedom Farm and arresting portraits like that of Harmony Child Wight, attributed to the Beardsley Limner.

    Edward Hicks , Leedom Farm, Bucks County, Pa, 1849. Oil on canvas, 40-1/8 x 49-1/16 inches. 1957.101.4.

    Joseph Henry Hidley , Poestenkill, New York: Winter, Poestenkill, N.Y., 1868. Oil on wood panel, 18-3/4 x 25-3/8 inches. 1958.102.16.

    Charles J. Hamilton , Charleston Square, Charleston, S.C., 1872. Oil on canvas, 36-5/8 x 38-5/8 inches. 1957.101.5.

    William Dering , George Booth, Williamsburg, Va., circa 17481750. Oil on canvas, 50-1/4 x 39-1/2 inches. 1975-242.

    Attributed to the Gansevoort Limner, Deborah Glen, Albany, New York area, circa 1739. Oil on canvas, 57-1/2 x 35-3/8 inches. 1964.100.1.

    Attributed to the Beardsley Limner , Harmony Child Wight, probably Sturbridge, Mass., circa 17861793. Oil on canvas, 31-1/4 x 25-1/2 inches. 57.100.10.

    Ronald L. Hurst is vice president of collections and museums, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

    Young Women’s Christian Association

    Early American Folk Art

    John D. Rockefeller Jr.’s wedding gift to Abby was a sum of money, which she promptly donated to the Young Women’s Christian Association of Providence in Rhode Island. Later, she would be more active in the YWCA of New York.

    From 1918 to 1936 she held active service in the YWCA, though upon her retirement from leadership roles, she was considered an honorary member. She was a member of the YWCA’s National Board, and served as the vice-president and chairman of numerous committees. Notably, in 1918 she was elected as chairman of the Housing Committee of the War Work Council. The committee was organized during World War I with the objective of providing improved living conditions for working women. For example, she recruited Duncan Candler, the architected tasked with designing a house in Charleston, South Caroline to house women working in a naval uniform factory.

    Rockefeller was director of the YWCA operated and owned, Grace Doge Hotel in Washington D.C. which was constructed in October 1921. Rockefeller monitored financial reports and oversaw advertisements for the hotel, with the primary goal of serving female workers. She objected to racial discrimination in the wages, status, and living arrangements of the staff at the Grace Doge Hotel.

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    Folk Art Underfoot: American Hooked Rugs

    For the first time, the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum will feature an exhibition on the art of hooking and sewing rugs, featuring about twenty hooked and sewn rugs. The craft of making non-woven rugs has been called “America’s one indigenous folk art.” It was in Maine that rug-making techniques originated and grew from their 19th-century origins to a national activity. Rug making gave housewives with no academic art training a way to create an everyday household object with decorative interest and beauty. A special component of the exhibition is a video showing the rug hooking technique.

    The American hooked and sewn rugs are on loan to the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg from Joseph Caputo. The exhibit is partially funded through the generosity of Larry and Cynthia Norwood.

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