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Columbus Museum Announces Latest Additions to Its Collection
Joseph Stella, Morning Mist at the Mine Mouth [Monongah, West Virginia], 1908, charcoal on paper.

COLUMBUS, GA.- The Columbus Museum announced the latest additions to its permanent collection with the following recent art and history acquisitions.

In November, members of the Collections Committee traveled to New York to meet with art dealers and view potential acquisitions for the collection. After reviewing a list of possible works at their meeting in December, a number of works were sent down for the committee’s examination in January. As a result, the committee chose to acquire several pieces by important American artists, including William Sidney Mount, Joseph Stella, and Jack Levine.

William Sidney Mount, Child's First Ramble, 1864, oil on board
Genre-painter William Sidney Mount was one of the most important American artists of the 19th century. His everyday subject matter and meticulously realistic style was popular with the American public during the era of Jacksonian democracy. This beautiful sketch of a little girl playing in the grass was painted in 1864. It was one of two small works that Mount produced for the Brooklyn and Island Fair, one of the U.S. Sanitary Commission’s civilian fundraisers held throughout the country for the medical treatment of Union soldiers wounded during the Civil War. In this sketch, the thinly painted background is made up of dark tones, which contrast with the bright clothing, blue eyes and red cheeks of the child and the green foliage.

Joseph Stella, Morning Mist at the Mine Mouth [Monongah, West Virginia], 1908, charcoal on paper
Italian-born Joseph Stella became known in the early 1900s for the masterful draftsmanship in his illustrations for social-reform periodicals. In 1907, Stella traveled with writer Paul Kellogg to Monongah, West Virginia to document a mine explosion for the journal Charities and the Commons. The explosion killed 348 miners, the highest death toll in American mining at the time. Four of Stella’s drawings, including the Museum’s new acquisition, illustrated Kellogg’s text, published in the journal in January 1908.

Many of the miners were Italian immigrants, and Stella felt a particular sympathy for them. In other drawings of the disaster, Stella focuses on the men whose life was impacted. In Morning Mist at the Mine Mouth, however, Stella captures the scene itself. Using charcoal to render the mists of a gray morning, Stella cloaks the miners in moisture as they cross the bridge on the right of the composition and stand outside the building on the left. As art historian Barbara Haskell has commented, “… Stella displaced the horror of the scene by veiling it behind a moody atmosphere.”

Jack Levine, The Mourner, 1952, charcoal and pastel on sepia paper
Jack Levine is a leader of the Figurative Expressionist movement. Artists in this movement use free brushwork and lavish amounts of paint for a less-precise rendering of subject matter. His subject matter, however, is pure Social Realism. For most of his career, Levine has focused on political and social themes, depicting criminals, crooked politicians and other shady characters woven in society’s fabric. This drawing is a character study for his seminal painting, Gangster Funeral (1952-53, Whitney Museum of American Art). That comedic work represents a funeral visited by various characters, including a police chief and the man who ordered the deceased’s demise. In the Columbus Museum’s drawing, the sincerity of the sad eyes in the jowly face of the mourner seems suspect. Levine highlighted the flowers on his lapel and in his bouquet with bright blue pastel.

Several other works were accepted into the collection at the January collections committee, including donations and purchases.

Philip Moulthrop, Bundled Mosaic Vessel, 2002, cherry, mimosa, cedar
Philip Moulthrop learned the art of wood-turning from his father Edward, whose work is also in the Museum’s collection. Like his father, he uses the wood of native Southern trees, but he has developed a very different technique in his mosaic series. He attaches thin branches on a turned bowl, filling in the spaces between the branches with a dark black resin. He then returns the bowl to the lathe, sands it down, and polishes it. His mosaic works, in which Moulthrop celebrates the colors and patterns that are inherent in the wood, are considered to be his most prominent contribution to the wood-turning field.

Gifford Beal, Cove, Rockport, ca. 1930, watercolor on paper
The estate of artist Gifford Beal has donated two works to the Museum’s collection. Beal created Modernist works on various subjects, including circus scenes, parades, garden parties and landscapes. A life-long inhabitant of New York City, Beal was attracted to the sea. In 1921 he began spending most of his summers on the coast of Massachusetts, first at Provincetown and later at Rockport. This bright, fresh watercolor produced in his later summer retreat features the houses that dot the coastline.

Recent Historical Objects Acquisitions

Se-loc-ta (A Creek Chief), ca. 1830s, lithograph with watercolor on paper, after an original painting by Charles Bird King, published in The History of the Indian Tribes of North America, with Biographical Sketches and Anecdotes of the Principal Chiefs by Thomas L. McKenney and James Hall
Thomas McKenney, the first superintendent of the U. S. Bureau of Indian Affairs and an early advocate for Native Americans, commissioned portraits of many Native American leaders during their visits to the nation’s capital in the 1820s and 1830s. These portraits were later copied and prints of each made to illustrate the landmark book The History of the Indian Tribes of North America. This octavo-sized print of Creek chief Selocta comes from the 1855-58 reprinting of that book. Selocta fought alongside American forces during the Creek War of 1813-14, serving at times as a guide for the army and later as a translator for General Andrew Jackson during the negotiation of the treaty ending the war. Though a close associate of Jackson and a valuable ally to the Americans, Selocta was ultimately forced to relocate with his people west of the Mississippi River.

Map of the Southeast, by Nicolas Sanson, 1682, Museum purchase made possible by the Evelyn S. and H. Wayne Patterson Fund 2009.49
Nicolas Sanson, one of the foremost mapmakers of the 17th century, originally published this map depicting the Southeast in 1657. It became recognized as one of the most authoritative maps of the region during the era, and underwent several reprintings. In it, Sanson claims a large portion of the Southeast for France by virtue of that country’s attempts at colonization in the region. The name “Florida” was commonly applied to the entire Southeast in maps throughout the 1500s and 1600s. It has its origins in the early 1500s explorations of Ponce de Leon, who after landing in present-day Florida near Easter, named the area “Pascua de Florida,” roughly translated as “Easter Flower.”

Program from the inauguration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933, Museum purchase made possible by the Evelyn S. and H. Wayne Patterson Fund 2009.50
This program, distributed at the first inauguration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, contains a schedule of events for the ceremony held in Washington, D.C. on March 4, 1933. Roosevelt would go on to serve four terms as the nation’s chief executive. He had a close association with the Columbus area before and during his presidency, as he visited the city often during trips to nearby Warm Springs, Georgia to receive treatment for polio.

The Columbus Museum | William Sidney Mount | Joseph Stella | Jack Levine |

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