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Exhibition explores art and studio practice of Maryland-born neoclassical sculptor
William Henry Rinehart, Bust of William Thompson Walters, 1867. H: 21 11/16 in.

BALTIMORE, MD.- The Walters story continues to unfold with an exhibition inspired by 19th century sculptor William Henry Rinehart, a Maryland-born artist whose works were among William T. Walters’ earliest acquisitions. Rinehart’s Studio: Rough Stone to Living Marble explores the art and studio practice of the neoclassical sculptor and is on view March 29 through August 30 at the Walters Art Museum. Admission is free.

Visitors can explore approximately 40 pieces of art including sculptures, cameos, tools used by Rinehart, some of his personal effects such as accounting and sketch books, and a video that demonstrates the traditional carving process.

“What’s so interesting about the exhibition is that it’s more about the process of sculpting,” said Jenny Carson, curator and chair of the Department of Art History, Theory and Criticism at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). “Marble sculptures were carved by teams of artisans in the 19th century and this show seeks to reveal the teamwork and skills involved in the traditional carving process.”

It is believed that William T. Walters first met Rinehart, when he came to repair a marble fireplace at the family home at 5 West Mount Vernon Place in Baltimore. At the time, Rinehart spent his days working on modest architectural projects, but in the evenings he studied at the Maryland Institute. The chance encounter was William’s closest relationship with a living artist.

William became a major early patron, commissioning the life-sized Woman of Samaria from him, which is now on view in the installation From Rye to Raphael: The Walters Story. The sculpture of a biblical subject was originally displayed in the hall of the Walters family home. In 1858, Rinehart relocated to Rome and set up a studio staffed by Italian workers.

Today the Walters Art Museum collection contains an extensive number of Rinehart’s sculptures. His work can also be seen in Baltimore’s Mt. Vernon Place and Green Mount Cemetery, and is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and The Baltimore Museum of Art.

Rinehart’s Studio: Rough Stone to Living Marble is presented in partnership with MICA’s Exhibition Development Seminar students’ exhibition, HAND/MADE, an art show juxtaposing Rinehart with 3-D, performance and video works by contemporary sculptors and interdisciplinary artists. The show is on view in MICA’s Fox Building: Decker Gallery through Sunday, March 15. HAND/MADE makes vital connections between traditional methods employed by artists working with 19th century studio artisan teams and collaborative practices in contemporary studios.

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