Friday, January 1, 2010

Baby in Red Chair - A New Year Begins

The beginning of any new year is often characterized by an image of a baby being welcomed by an old bearded adult from the previous year. Keeping this tradition alive is today's January 1st post of Baby in Red Chair, an oil on canvass painting attributed to an unknown artist possibly from Pennsylvania during the period 1800 to 1830.

Baby in Red Chair is an example of American folk art. Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, was a pioneer in the realization of this art form as both creative and historic. She spent much of her time and family's resources to collect and preserve art. Today her expansive collection can be seen at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum in Williamsburg, Virginia. While the painting is just one example of many, the plans for the museum includes expansion of the neighboring DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum in 2010 and 2011 allowing for possible more room for the Rockefeller collection.

Baby in Red Chair is one of the most popular paintings in this collection. However visitors will also recognize other works of early American life displayed in the exhibit. Abby's foresight to preserve folk art allows the two hundred year old "baby" to both welcome the viewer into the past and also into the present with a timeless pose. Know that.