New Discoveries in Georgia Painted Furniture, an exhibition highlighting about two dozen examples of painted furniture from 19th-century Georgia, will be on view at the Georgia Museum of Art until April 27.
The objects in this exhibition, many of which have not been viewed publicly, are ornamented with painted designs that include abstract patterning, representational imagery and grained surfaces. These surviving examples of painted surfaces represent the importance of color in the lives of 19th-century Georgians and are among the most fragile material elements left of Georgia’s heritage.
“The primary goals of New Discoveries in Georgia Painted Furniture are to celebrate our colorful past and to present an opportunity to reflect on the history of painted surfaces in Georgia,” said Dale Couch, senior archivist at the Georgia Archives and one of the exhibition’s curators.
New Discoveries in Georgia Painted Furniture includes works that originated in Jasper, Elbert, Walton and DeKalb counties, a writing chair from the Warren County area and a poplar and yellow pine wardrobe from Heard County, as well as a variety of chests.
The exhibition also relates painted furniture to corresponding aspects of architectural elements of the time. In the 19th century, the ornamental painter was one category of craftsman important to interior architectural decoration.
New Discoveries includes several examples of painted architectural elements, including a section of wainscot dated 1818 from a house in Milledgeville.
This exhibition will be complemented by an exhibition of Georgia decorative arts in an adjacent gallery. The selection on view features objects from the Georgia Museum of Art’s permanent collection, including several recent acquisitions, such as a Neoclassical Pembroke table from the southern Piedmont, a late19th-century lawn urn by Stevens Brothers and Company, and a pine burr quilt from the 1930s, as well as a few select loans from private collections.