Feature Articles

April 2013

Hickory Museum of Art in Hickory Offers work by William Starkweather

The Hickory Museum of Art in Hickory, NC, is presenting an exhibition called Hidden Treasures: Illustrated Books by William Starkweather, on view in the Museum’s second floor Objects Gallery through June 30, 2013.

Besides being a prolific painter, Starkweather (1879-1969) designed book covers and illustrated books for authors from 1892 through 1930. Over 80 collaborations are attributed to Starkweather, and most of them are featured in the exhibition. Some of the more famous authors include Arthur Conan Doyle, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Rudyard Kipling. An exhibition catalog is being produced.

The Hickory Museum of Art (HMA) had a relationship with William Starkweather in HMA’s early years. In 1954, Starkweather wrote to HMA founder and first director Paul Whitener, and expressed his wish that his paintings would be hung where they would “be seen, be useful, and be preserved.” At this time, he sent eight of his paintings and told Whitener that “if you find any of them not what you would wish, just return the culprit picture or pictures and I will understand. I am an old hand in the art game.” All eight paintings are in the Museum’s permanent collection, along with two others acquired at later dates. In conjunction with Hidden Treasures, a selection of these paintings and Starkweather-related correspondence will be on exhibition in the Museum’s first floor Whitener Gallery.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art honored his art work by selecting his painting from their permanent collection, Peggy Sketching from a Balcony, to be in all 3 of their 2011 New York, New York calendars. The Brooklyn Museum selected a painting by Starkweather, Gulls at Shipwreck Bay, for their exhibition entitled, Brushed with Light, and praised Starkweather’s ability to use reserved highlights in watercolor painting.

Starkweather was a widely exhibited painter and studied in France, Spain, Italy and New York. He was a student of two historically significant artists, John Henry Twachtman of Connecticut and Joaquin Sorolla of Spain. Starkweather worked alongside Edward Hopper in New York City; and there are several paintings by both artists which show similarities in geographic location and watercolor technique.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Museum at 828/327-8576 or visit (www.hickoryart.org).

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