VMFA on the Road: An Artmobile for the 21st Century is coming to a location near you with a new exhibition, Revealing and Obscuring Identity: Portraits from the Permanent Collection. This exciting exhibition of paintings, photographs, and prints explores portraiture through a variety of periods, cultures, and styles.
Throughout history, traditional portraits have typically been reserved for the elite of society, signifying the sitter’s wealth, power, attractiveness, and intelligence. Over time, the genre has become more expressive. Many of the works in this exhibition explore themes about the nature of art, the perception of beauty, and the cultural influences on identity. Visitors to Revealing and Obscuring Identity: Portraits from the Permanent Collection will experience the shift that occurred in portraiture over the decades.
Diverse works by more than 10 artists, including Kitagawa Utamaro (Japan), Gordon Stettinius (American), André L’Hote (French) and S. Ross Browne (American), are featured in the exhibition.
About VMFA on the Road
In 1953, VMFA became one of the first museums in the world to have an Artmobile. For four decades, as many as four Artmobiles toured 59 exhibitions and served more than 2.5 million Virginians. Due to conservation concerns and the fragility of traveling works of art, VMFA replaced the program in the early 1990s with a strategy to develop stronger partnerships with schools, community centers, and museums around the state.
VMFA relaunched its state-of-the-art traveling museum and art studio called VMFA on the Road in October 2018. The climate-controlled 53-foot Volvo trailer includes Wi-Fi to connect visitors with VMFA educators and interactive components to meet their 21st-century expectations. The main attraction of VMFA on the Road, however, is the opportunity for residents of the Commonwealth to see and experience authentic works of art from VMFA’s collection up close. VMFA on the Road is traveling to remote corners of Virginia by way of the museum’s Statewide Partners program, which includes 1,000 locations — from community centers and small museums to colleges and universities.
Revealing and Obscuring Identity:
Portraits from the Permanent Collection
The William and Mary Greve Foundation, Inc.
The Peachtree House Foundation
We are also grateful to the following donors whose generous gifts made the launch of VMFA on the Road possible:
The Commonwealth of Virginia | The Council of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
The William and Mary Greve Foundation, Inc. | The Francena T. Harrison Foundation
Mr. and Mrs. William T. Miller | Dr. and Mrs. Harry A. Wellons, Jr.
Mr. and Mrs. Haywood Blakemore | James Hixon | Mr. and Mrs. Peter I. C. Knowles II
The Wall Foundation | Mr. and Mrs. John W. West III | WestRock Foundation
Capital Bank | The Reverend Doctor Vienna Cobb Anderson | Louise B. Cochrane Foundation
The Cook Foundation | Ralph R. Crosby, Jr. | The Jeanann Gray Dunlap Foundation
Anne and Gus Edwards | Mr. and Mrs. David R. Frediani | Margaret R. Freeman
Mary Mills Freeman | Norfolk Southern Corporation | Joanne B. Robinson | The Bob and Anna Lou Schaberg Foundation