Abby Aldrich Rockefeller: A New York Collector’s Legacy Evolves in Virginia


    Surely all fans of American history have heard of – and probably visited – Colonial Williamsburg, which preserves, restores, and operates Virginia’s 18th-century capital.  Located roughly halfway between Richmond and Norfolk, this sprawling site of more than 600 restored or reconstructed buildings immerses families, students, teachers, and other visitors in the dramatic story of this country’s founding during the American Revolution, reminding them why that era still matters today.

    Robert Brackman (1898-1980), "Portrait of Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (Abby Greene Aldrich)," 1941, oil on canvas, 38 1/8 x 32 in. (c) Private Collection
    Robert Brackman (1898-1980), “Portrait of Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (Abby Greene Aldrich),” 1941, oil on canvas, 38 1/8 x 32 in. (c) Private Collection

    Complementing visitors’ experiences of chatting with costumed interpreters about their 18th-century “lives” is the pleasure of exploring the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.  In fact, this is one building that contains two major museums.  The younger one is the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, opened 31 years ago with a generous $200 million endowment from Lila and DeWitt Wallace, the founders of Reader’s Digest.  Today it stewards a trove of 70,000 British and American decorative artworks dating from 1670 to 1840.

    Of keener interest this season is the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum (AARFAM), which will celebrate its 60th anniversary on March 15, 2017.  It is named for the remarkable woman who contributed to American society in many ways…

    This is an excerpt from “Abby Aldrich Rockefeller – A New York Collector’s Legacy Evolves in Virginia”. Find the full article in the January / February 2017 Edition of Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine.

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    Andrew Webster
    Andrew Webster is the Editor of Fine Art Today and works as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.