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A Collector’s Vision: Highlights from the Dietrich American Foundation

Nov 5, 2020

On October 27, the Decorative Arts Trust was honored to be invited into the world of the Dietrich Collection, as H. Richard Dietrich III and Deborah Rebuck shared a virtual Trust Tour of the exhibition A Collector’s Vision: Highlights from the Dietrich American Foundation at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Deborah Rebuck, Curator, and H. Richard Dietrich III, President of the Dietrich American Foundation, lead us through a rare collection of 55 objects from the 1700s and 1800s acquired by the Foundation’s creator H. Richard Dietrich Jr. These represent a small portion of the over 2,600 pieces in the Foundation’s collection. The exhibition was organized into different sections that highlight themes in American decorative arts as well as Dietrich Jr.’s collecting passions.

The extremely rich and unique collection features many outstanding examples of American decorative arts. Dietrich Jr. took a special interest in decorative arts from Pennsylvania. Of Pennsylvania German ancestry, he was raised in Villanova, PA, and lived most of his life in the state. He collected a full spectrum of incredible works from the region, including fraktur, quilts, furniture, and watercolors. Deborah Rebuck, who developed the exhibition, shared a special George Hoff tall-case clock that was made in Lancaster, PA, in 1768. The clock case was thought to have brass inlay until conservator, Chris Storb, removed a layer of heavy varnish to reveal that the decoration was actually composed of pewter. Objects like this clock brought history to life for Dietrich Jr. because they connected him with artists, families, and communities from the past.

Learn more about this amazing collection including objects from Boston, New York, Newport, and the whaling industry by watching our latest Trust Tour on our YouTube channel:

 

Continue learning with a catalogue of the exhibition, In Pursuit of History: A Lifetime of Collecting Colonial American Art and Artifacts, available for a 25% discount from Yale University press using the discount code: YEIPH.

Be sure to join us for our next Trust Tour with Ralph Harvard at the Nicholson House on November 10, 2020. The Decorative Arts Trust has many more virtual programs scheduled—see our calendar of events for details and to register. For updates on new programs and registration, sign up for our e-newsletter, and follow the Trust on social media. The Trust graciously thanks members and donors for supporting our efforts to create programs like this Trust Tour.

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