The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree

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As a form of expression and entertainment, art enriches the lives of many. However, for some, it is central to friendships and family life. At First Thursday on June 4 at 6PM, BMA Interim Curator of Education Kristen Greenwood will lead a free gallery talk on family ties amongst artists, namely within the Peale family and between Georgia Engelhard and Georgia O’Keeffe. In preparation for the talk, here is a sneak peek of the connections she will be discussing:

“Portrait of the Honorable Dixon Hall Lewis (1802-1848)” (About 1841-1843), Sarah Miriam Peale, American (1800-1885). Oil on canvas. Loan from the collection of Dr. and Mrs. David A. Skier. 67.1997.

For the Peale family, art was not a hobby, but a way of life. Charles Wilson Peale (1741-1827), originally a saddle maker, began his family’s creative tradition when, after realizing his interest and skills in painting, sought the instruction of John Singleton Copley and Benjamin West. He followed in their footsteps to become a portrait artist and was known especially for his paintings of George Washington. He taught his craft to James Peale, his younger brother who helped him in the studio. Additionally, Charles passed his creativity onto his children, who became known for their portraits and still-life paintings. James’ female children also led successful art careers, which was often difficult for women in the 18th and 19th centuries. One of his daughters, Sarah Miriam, has art in the Museum’s collection, including the piece pictured to the left. Certainly, the Peale family was a creative dynasty.

“The Green Apple” (1922) Georgia O’Keefe (American, 1887-1986). Oil on canvas, Museum purchase with funds provided by the 1981 and 1982 Museum Dinners and Balls, the Museum Store, Donors, and matching funds from Mr. and Mrs. Jack McSpadden, 1983.28. Copyright Georgia O’Keefe Museum.

Art played an equally important role in the relationship between Georgia Engelhard and Georgia O’Keeffe. The niece of Alfred Stieglitz, an art gallery owner known for his support of modernism in America, Engelhard began her creative career at a young age. In fact, when she was only ten years old, Stieglitz featured her artwork in his famous gallery. However, Engelhard’s artistry truly began to flourish as she befriended her uncle’s wife, Georgia O’Keeffe. O’Keeffe enjoyed painting and spending time with her niece, whose presence she found refreshing. With all of their time spent together, it is no surprise that Engelhard used a number of her aunt’s distinctive painting techniques in her own works.

After the gallery talk, First Thursday will then host Art On Stage in the auditorium at 7PM. At the event, father and daughter duo Trés and Lillis Taylor will discuss the role that art has played in their family. Lillis Taylor is a local industrial designer who finds inspiration in the works of her father, a self-taught painter in the area. The two have collaborated on numerous art projects and are a great example of the importance of creativity in many familial relationships. You can learn more about their careers here. Come celebrate the role of art in their family and several others at First Thursday next week!