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Mississippi Museum of Art presents "Symbols of Faith, Home, and Beyond: The Art of Theora Hamblett"
Theora Hamblett (1895–1977), Angel’s Request #2, 1956. oil on Masonite. 19.25 x 25.25 inches. Collection of University of Mississippi Museum and Historic Houses, Oxford. Gift of Theora Hamblett, 1977.12.193.
JACKSON, MISS.- The Mississippi Museum of Art presents Symbols of Faith, Home, and Beyond: The Art of Theora Hamblett, a survey of more than forty of Theora Hamblett’s best works from the Collection of the University of Mississippi Museum and Historic Houses. On view March 23 – June 23, 2013, this exhibition captures both everyday life of rural Mississippi and the deep spiritual aspects of life in the region.

Theora Hamblett, born in Paris, Mississippi, in 1895, has been described as “the most recognized visionary painter in America.” She painted hundreds of primitive scenes of early-day remembrances—childhood games of drop-the-handkerchief and ring-around-the-rosie, but her dreams and visions remained at the front of Hamblett’s mind. As the visions recurred often, she began to paint them. Hamblett considered the paintings of her dreams and visions to be her most important works, and she chose not to sell them.

“The University of Mississippi Museum and Historic Houses is exceptionally proud to have the nation’s largest collection of Theora Hamblett’s work, and we are thrilled to share this selection of more than forty works with the audiences of the Mississippi Museum of Art, our partner in this exhibition,” said Museum Director Robert Saarnio. “Her work is a quintessential example of Mississippi art, and we anticipate these works inspiring viewers in Jackson as it does in Oxford.”

Theora Hamblett melds primitive style painting with her self-taught artistic techniques to create an identity all her own. She began painting at the age of fifty-five, and continued until her death in 1977, and her artwork has been collected by public institutions like the University of Mississippi Museum, the Mississippi Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Chase Manhattan Bank, and dignitaries like Vice President Nelson Rockefeller and acclaimed British actor Sir Alec Guiness.

“We are extremely privileged to be the first venue to host this magnificent collection of Ms. Hamblett’s paintings from The University of Mississippi Museum and Historic Houses,” said Museum Director Betsy Bradley. “Her work offers us yet another painting genre that beautifully complements the artwork featured in our Old Masters to Monet exhibition.”

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