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Recent acquisitions on display at the Morris Museum of Art
Gladys Nelson Smith, Frederick County Farmhands, undated. Oil on Masonite. Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, Georgia.

AUGUSTA, GA.- An exhibition of recent acquisitions, currently on display at the Morris Museum of Art, highlights a selection made from the more than two hundred works of art added to the permanent collection during 2020. The exhibition remains on display through June 6, 2021.

Recent Acquisitions celebrates the art of the South and the artists who created it, as well as the many generous donors whose gifts of art have broadened and deepened the museum’s already admired collection. Those donors include: The American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York City; Bobbi Adams, a stalwart figure in South Carolina’s art scene from her home and studio in Bishopville; the estate of Lucile Eleanor Caraker (through the intercession of Jean Michael, Cole Murphy, and Mary Ann Sears); Nelson Danish, longtime resident of Burke County who now lives in North Augusta, South Carolina; Dr. Mary Frances Gardner of New Orleans; Kate and Kevin Grogan of Augusta; Timothy Hyde of Washington, D.C. who has, over the years, brought many good photographs and good photographers to the museum; Kathy McLean, late of Atlanta; and John Welsh, who divides his time between homes in Savannah and upstate South Carolina. Dozens of donors to acquisitions funds that honor the memories of museum cofounder Sissie Morris, the museum’s founding director Keith Claussen, and much-beloved artist Philip Morsberger have enabled key purchases.

These donors have brought paintings, watercolors, photographs and mixed-media work by Bobbi Adams, Luke Alsbrook, Rolland Golden, Tommy Goodman, Myrtle Jones, Blue Sky, Edgar Hewitt Nye, Edward Rice, Hattie Saussy, Gladys Nelson Smith, and Jack Spencer into the museum’s permanent collection. The American Academy of Arts and Letters, through its Hassam, Speicher, Betts, and Symons Purchase Fund, has donated work by Ridley Howard, a painter from Athens, Georgia, and Trenton Doyle Hancock, a multimedia artist who resides in Houston, Texas, to the museum. Both artists are new to the museum’s collection. In addition to the kind of traditional, framed work that one expects to see at the Morris, the exhibition also includes examples of work by an Arkansas Living Treasure, the internationally renowned basket maker Leon Niehues. (These recent transfers to the museum’s permanent collection from the Julia J. Norrell Grantor Trust point to a new direction for the museum’s collection—a growing interest in regional crafts. A generous gift from Phyllis and Paul Rosen of Wellington, Florida, enabled the museum to purchase a major piece by renowned glass artist Richard Jolley, which is complimented by several examples of the art of Ralph Harvey, an equally renowned glass artist from Americus, Georgia.

According to Morris Museum director Kevin Grogan, visitors to the museum can expect to see other recently acquired works of as they are introduced into the museum’s permanent collection galleries.

Further, he said, “This exhibition underscores the fact that good museums do not remain static, and neither do their collections. Collections grow and change, bringing fresh information and opportunities for engagement to the public.”

The Morris Museum of Art, founded in 1985 and opened to the public in 1992, is the oldest museum in the country that is devoted to the art and artists of the American South. The museum’s permanent collection of nearly six thousand works of art, dating from the late-eighteenth century to the present, represents every aspect of the region’s visual culture. The Morris is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., and Sunday, noon–5:00 p.m.

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