Find these works in the VMFA galleries to discover opportunities that characterize the American story, both past and present. All works are located on Level 2.
What would you wear to get your portrait painted? What if you didn’t have a choice? Find a portrait of an older woman with a red necklace. Was this a good opportunity for Violet? Why or why not?
Look to the left of Violet to find another portrait. She also has on a red necklace and is framed in white ruffles. What did the artist include to let us know what kind of opportunities await this young girl?
Imagine making this huge, two-handled jug out of a ball of clay. Even though this enslaved artist was told to make this, he took an opportunity and a risk to make it his own. How did he personalize this container? Have you ever taken a risk?
Opportunities can be positive for some, but negative for others. Take a close look at this painting called Progress that embodies “The American Spirit” of the mid-1800s. How would you describe the way industries are represented in this painting compared to the depiction of Native Americans?
The artist witnessed this family seizing an opportunity to escape from slavery. Why would the woman be looking back? Have you ever been faced with a difficult choice? What did you do?
What would you give up for an opportunity for a new life? In the 1600s young, single, English women were invited to make this tough decision. Did the artist represent this woman before, during, or after she made the choice? Is she leaving for the new world or has she just arrived?
Can you feel the rolling waves? The man sitting down is the owner of the boat. His father, a Scottish immigrant, took advantage of a trip to come to America to make his fortune. If you wanted to immigrate to another country, what opportunities would you have to take to get there? What would you have to do to be successful?
This painting embodies the spirit of the Great Migration, a period in America when six million African Americans fled the rural South to find new economic opportunities in the cities in the North, Midwest, and West. What seems hopeful about this scene?
21st Century Gallery.
Theaster Gates took the opportunity to turn cast-offs from the renovation of old houses into material for this “room”. He also included objects that point to the recent past, his own and that of his community. Name some things that he re-purposed. Why might he have chosen some of these items?
Violet Anthony, 1832, Jefferson Gauntt, American, 1805 – 1864, oil on canvas, Lent by the daughters of Betsy Dickinson McDaniel; Peggy Tyre, Cathy Hart, Susan Holland, and Jenny Stroupe
Portrait of a Girl, 1835-40, Erastus Salisbury Field, American, 1805 – 1900, oil on canvas, J. Harwood and Louise B. Cochrane Fund for American Art and partial gift of Barbara L. Gordon and W. Stephen Cannon in celebration of VMFA's 75th anniversary
Doubled-handled Jug, 1840, David Drake, American, ca. 1800 - ca. 1870 (Artist), Lewis J. Miles Factory, American, ca. 1830 - 1879 (Manufacturer), Stoneware with alkaline glaze, Floyd D. and Anne C. Gottwald Fund and partial gift of Dr. and Mrs. John E. Hoar
Progress (The Advance of Civilization), 1853, Asher B. Durand, American, 1796 – 1886, oil on canvas, Gift of Anonymous Donor
Ride for Liberty - The Fugitive Slaves, March 2, 1862, 1862, Eastman Johnson, 1824-1906 American, oil on board, Paul Mellon Collection
Brideship, ca. 1927-28, Thomas Hart Benton, American, 1889 – 1975, oil and egg tempera on canvas mounted on composite board, Gift of R. Crosby Kemper and museum purchase, the J. Harwood and Louise B. Cochrane Fund for American Art
Yachting the Mediterranean, Julius LeBlanc Stewart, 1896, American, 1855 – 1919, oil on canvas, The James W. and Frances Gibson McGlothlin Collection
Town of Hope, 1927, Archibald John Motley Jr., American, 1891 – 1981, J. Harwood and Louise B. Cochrane Fund for American Art
Glass Lantern Slide Pavilion, Theaster Gates, American, born 1973, Reclaimed wood, linoleum tile, carpet, fire hose, wire, metal, four ceramic teacups, 254 glass lantern slides, LED light, Gift of Pamela K. and William A. Royall, Jr.