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Reynolda House Museum of American Art opens A Genius for Place. American Landscapes of the Country Place Era

THe Reynolda House Museum of American Art presents A Genius for Place. American Landscapes of the Country Place Era, an exhibition on view Feb. 18, 2012 through Aug. 5., 2012 in the Mary and Charlie Babcock Wing.

Curated by landscape historian Robin Karson, who chose seven iconic American estates from coast to coast for the project, the exhibition features 70 black-and-white and seven color photographs by photographer Carol Betsch of influential landscape designs created between 1895 and the last years of the Great Depression. By documenting the estates that survive from the Country Place Era, “A Genius for Place” invites visitors to consider the importance of protecting these significant examples of American landscape design.

The museum will display alongside the exhibition six photographs of the Reynolda estate taken by the exhibition photographer that will illuminate Reynolda’s significance in the Country Place Era as one of the rare surviving examples of a Country Place estate.

Early in the 20th century, new fortunes in the United States made it possible for many city-dwellers to commission country estates. Wealthy industrialists could work in town and escape deteriorating urban centers to enjoy healthy air and breathtaking scenery. A widespread belief in the cultural and salutary benefits of rural life; the availability of money and prime land; and growing legions of landscape architects set the stage for ambitious residential landscape designs across the country.

“The noted American landscape architect Charles Eliot said that landscape architecture is primarily a fine art,” says Reynolda House Managing Curator Allison Slaby. “This exhibition will be a different experience for visitors because the subject of the photographs—the landscapes—are the works of art. So many people enjoy the Reynolda landscape each day that it will be exciting to help our visitors experience their surroundings in a more meaningful way.”

“A Genius for Place: American Landscapes of the Country Place Era” was organized by Library of American Landscape History, Amherst, Massachusetts. Reynolda House is grateful for the generous support of Exhibition Partners Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP and Leigh and Gray Smith.

A series of programs are planned for the exhibition, and an exhibition catalog will be available for purchase in the museum store.

Reynolda House Museum of American Art is one of the nation’s premier American art museums, with masterpieces by Mary Cassatt, Frederic Church, Jacob Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Gilbert Stuart among its collection. Affiliated with Wake Forest University, Reynolda House features changing exhibitions, concerts, lectures, classes, film screenings, and other events. The museum is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in the historic 1917 estate of Katharine Smith Reynolds and her husband, Richard Joshua Reynolds, founder of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Reynolda House and adjacent Reynolda Gardens and Reynolda Village feature a spectacular public garden, dining, shopping and walking trails. For more information, please visit or call 336.758.5150.

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