Samuel F.B. Morse, “Gallery of the Louvre,” 1831-33, oil on canvas, 73 1/4 x 108 in. © Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection

The Reynolda House Museum of American Art — located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina — is the current home of a brilliant exhibition of several masterpieces by this 19th-century painter.

A monumental painting titled “Gallery of the Louvre” by 19th-century painter Samuel Morse (1791-1872) is the centerpiece of a tantalizing exhibition at Winston-Salem’s Reynolda House Museum of American Art. On view through June 4, the new exhibition “offers a rare look at a historical painting as well as a unique presentation of the diverse talents that made Morse one of America’s first Renaissance men,” the museum reports.

Equally exciting is the fact that the museum secured another loan for the exhibition: Morse’s early Telegraph prototype, to be shown alongside “Gallery of the Louvre.” Together, the two objects give audiences a more comprehensive view of the life and career of Morse as both an inventor and an artist.

Via the museum: “‘Gallery of the Louvre’ was one of Morse’s last paintings. Disheartened when the tour he envisioned [for the painting] did not materialize, Morse turned his attention to a new means of communication: the telegraph. He used wooden canvas stretcher bars from his studio to construct his earliest versions, a selection of which are on loan for the exhibition from Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

“Over the years, ‘Gallery of the Louvre’ has seldom been exhibited. It was last purchased in 1982, setting a then-record for an American work of art. The Terra Foundation, which owns the painting, commenced a national tour in 2015, the much-delayed culmination of the creator’s intent. The installation at Reynolda House Museum is the only venue that has included both of Morse’s greatest creations: ‘Gallery of the Louvre’ and the telegraph.

“The Reynolda House Museum of American Art exhibition of Gallery of the Louvre also includes 19th-century paintings and prints from its renowned collection of American art along with Old Master prints on loan from Wake Forest University.”

To learn more, visit the Reynolda House Museum of American Art.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked 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.


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