The Brenau University Downtown Center (Georgia) is currently playing host to an ongoing special exhibition of works titled “Charles Webster Hawthorne: Paintings from the Collection of Doug and Kay Ivester.”
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The towering walls of the Theatre on the Square’s lobby now display 30 oil paintings and watercolors on loan from Doug and Kay Ivester by Charles Webster Hawthorne (1872–1930), an American artist renowned for his portraits and genre paintings who was instrumental in the founding of the Cape Cod School of Art in 1899.
“Hawthorne was a pupil of and assistant to American Impressionist painter William Merritt Chase,” said Nichole Rawlings, Brenau Galleries director. “Coincidentally, the very first piece donated to the Brenau Collection when it began in the 1980s was a painting by Chase given by Mr. and Mrs. Fred Bentley Sr. Brenau is grateful to the Ivesters for allowing works by these old friends and colleagues to be together again on our campus.”
The Downtown Center might be home to the university’s high-demand Department of Physical Therapy in the Ivester College of Health Sciences, but it is no stranger to esteemed works of art as it houses the Manhattan Gallery — one of the university’s four Gainesville galleries — which features an ongoing exhibition of Brenau University Permanent Collection artwork by artists who have some connection to the New York art world. The space is anchored by over 100 works from the collection of Dorothy and Herbert Vogel, who were very well-known in the New York art scene, and features a number of photographs and prints by artist Andy Warhol (1928–1987), which were given to Brenau by the Andy Warhol Foundation.
Rawlings said the new selection of paintings on display highlights works representative of Hawthorne’s subject matter and style featuring famous faces, serene landscapes, and architectural beauty.
“Hawthorne was involved in his era’s most advanced color theory practice, and these pieces demonstrate that through their shapes and layers of applied color,” she said. “Hawthorne is quoted saying, ‘Forget what object is before you — think, here is an oblong of pink, a little square of blue, a streak of yellow. Paint it just as it looks to you, the exact color and shape, until it gives you an impression of the scene before you.’”
The installation of “Charles Webster Hawthorne: Paintings from the Collection of Doug and Kay Ivester” in the theatre lobby makes these works easily viewable for downtown Gainesville visitors during business hours.
Rawlings said the Brenau University Permanent Art Collection is a resource for the Brenau community and beyond.
“We encourage visitors from the wider Gainesville and North Georgia communities, and we strive to provide free and educational cultural opportunities,” she said. “Our gallery spaces, including the Brenau University Downtown Center, are always open to the public during business hours and are free to visit. Galleries staff or trained docents can provide additional tours and information upon request to community groups at no cost.”
For more information, visit galleries.brenau.edu/.
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