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

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by: Peter Trippi, Editor-in-Chief, Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine

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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