Milwaukee Art Museum presents Thomas Sully: Painted Performance

. October 10, 2013

The Milwaukee Art Museum presents Thomas Sully: Painted Performance an exhibition on view October 11, 2013–January 5, 2014.

THOMAS SULLY American, born England, 1783 – 1872 Prison Scene from J. Fenimore Cooper’s “The Pilot”: Cecelia Howard and Katherine Plowden Arousing the Prisoner Edward Griffith from His Slumber, 1841 Oil on canvas, 37 × 28 in. (94 × 71.1 cm) Birmingham Museum of Art, Museum purchase in honor of Richard Murray, former director, with funds provided by Dr. Walter Clark, EBSCO Industries, Mr. John Jemison, Jr., Dr. Cameron McDonald, Dr. John Poyner, Mrs. Alys R. Stephens, Mr. Elton B. Stephens, Jr., Mr. Crawford L. Taylor, Jr., and the 1984 Museum Dinner and Ball, 1984.67

THOMAS SULLY American, born England, 1783 – 1872 Prison Scene from J. Fenimore Cooper’s “The Pilot”: Cecelia Howard and Katherine Plowden Arousing the Prisoner Edward Griffith from His Slumber, 1841 Oil on canvas, 37 × 28 in. (94 × 71.1 cm) Birmingham Museum of Art, Museum purchase in honor of Richard Murray, former director, with funds provided by Dr. Walter Clark, EBSCO Industries, Mr. John Jemison, Jr., Dr. Cameron McDonald, Dr. John Poyner, Mrs. Alys R. Stephens, Mr. Elton B. Stephens, Jr., Mr. Crawford L. Taylor, Jr., and the 1984 Museum Dinner and Ball, 1984.67

Thomas Sully: Painted Performance offers a new look at an American Old Master. The exhibition is the first retrospective of the artist in thirty years, and the first to explore the artist’s entire career in depth. Nearly eighty paintings from public and private collections across the U.S. and Great Britain celebrate the full range of Sully’s artistic imagination for a twenty-first century audience, including the lifelong love of the theatre and performance that permeates all his works.

Born into a theatrical family that had emigrated from England, Sully made his own debut on the stage in South Carolina as a child. His early commissions arose from his family connections in the theatre worlds of New York and Philadelphia. His images of famous actors and actresses in their most acclaimed roles made his reputation and kept his fame alive throughout his career. At the same time, he composed subject pictures drawn from well-known plays, novels, and even fairy tales, staging these painted scenes as if they were frozen moments from a play.

Thomas Sully: Painted Performance is organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum. It has been co-curated by Dr. William Keyse Rudolph, the Museum’s Dudley J. Godfrey Jr. Curator of American Art and Decorative Arts and Director of Exhibitions, and Dr. Carol Eaton Soltis, Project Associate Curator of American Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art. The exhibition travels to the San Antonio Museum of Art, February 7–May 11, 2014.

Category: Museum News

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