The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum Goes to New York

By LAURA PASS BARRY,
Juli Grainger Curator of Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is pleased to commence 60th-anniversary celebrations for the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum (AARFAM) in New York this January. The featured loan exhibition for the prestigious Winter Antiques Show, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum: Revolution and Evolution highlights notable examples from Rockefeller’s original collection alongside paintings, sculpture, and decorative art acquired by the Museum over the past six decades.

The exhibition honors Abby Rockefeller, wife of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., as one of the early collectors of American folk art. It salutes her vision, which continues to guide the ever-evolving AARFAM and inspires ongoing collecting and acquisitions process. A forerunner in the American folk and modern art fields, Rockefeller was instrumen­tal in fostering an awareness of the connection between the aesthetic values of modern expression and American folk art. She assembled a first-rate collection of paintings, drawings, and sculpture that she lent anony­mously to the Museum of Modern Art’s land­mark 1932 exhibition American folk Art: The Art of the Common Man in America, 1750-1900. In 1935, she loaned that collection to Colonial Williamsburg, where it was exhibited in the recently restored Ludwell-Paradise House.

Abby and John Rockefeller were intimately involved in the restoration of Virginia’s colonial capital, and this relationship ultimately led to the decision to donate her collection to the Foundation. In 1957, a purpose-built museum was erected in her memory. Known today as the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, it is the oldest continuously operating institution in the world dedicated solely to the preservation, collection, and exhibition of American folk art.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is gratified to return to New York this January, where Rockefeller began collecting and where her collection first debuted. The exhibition runs January 22–29, and we look forward to hosting those members of the Decorative Arts Trust who are participating in the New York Antiques Weekend program. Colonial Williamsburg curators and conservators will be on site for the duration of the show.

UPCOMING EVENTS

By LAURA PASS BARRY,
Juli Grainger Curator of Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is pleased to commence 60th-anniversary celebrations for the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum (AARFAM) in New York this January. The featured loan exhibition for the prestigious Winter Antiques Show, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum: Revolution and Evolution highlights notable examples from Rockefeller’s original collection alongside paintings, sculpture, and decorative art acquired by the Museum over the past six decades.

The exhibition honors Abby Rockefeller, wife of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., as one of the early collectors of American folk art. It salutes her vision, which continues to guide the ever-evolving AARFAM and inspires ongoing collecting and acquisitions process. A forerunner in the American folk and modern art fields, Rockefeller was instrumen­tal in fostering an awareness of the connection between the aesthetic values of modern expression and American folk art. She assembled a first-rate collection of paintings, drawings, and sculpture that she lent anony­mously to the Museum of Modern Art’s land­mark 1932 exhibition American folk Art: The Art of the Common Man in America, 1750-1900. In 1935, she loaned that collection to Colonial Williamsburg, where it was exhibited in the recently restored Ludwell-Paradise House.

Abby and John Rockefeller were intimately involved in the restoration of Virginia’s colonial capital, and this relationship ultimately led to the decision to donate her collection to the Foundation. In 1957, a purpose-built museum was erected in her memory. Known today as the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, it is the oldest continuously operating institution in the world dedicated solely to the preservation, collection, and exhibition of American folk art.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is gratified to return to New York this January, where Rockefeller began collecting and where her collection first debuted. The exhibition runs January 22–29, and we look forward to hosting those members of the Decorative Arts Trust who are participating in the New York Antiques Weekend program. Colonial Williamsburg curators and conservators will be on site for the duration of the show.

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