Friday, December 9, 2011

A ‘1% er’ brings art, and a piece from our maestro, to, of all places, Arkansas!

Dr. William Smith by Gilbert Stuart Philadelphia,1800

The heiress daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton is bringing art to Middle America by opening a new museum featuring an immense collection of American art. The 217,000-square-foot Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is located in the small town of Bentonville in northwest Arkansas, which is the headquarters of Wal-Mart. Alice Walton, the 62-year-old billionaire heiress splits her time between Bentonville and her Texas ranch.

I saw a blurb on the opening of this museum on a TV show, and all of a sudden I saw what to me seemed to be a portrait in the style of Gilbert Stuart in the background! I immediately wrote the museum, to see if I had actually seen a Stuart! I received a response:
Thank you for your interest in Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Gilbert Stuart’s William Smith, ca. 1801 – 1802 is part of our permanent collection. It is located in our Colonial Gallery.

~see the Stuart portrait of Dr. William Smith's daughter and read about Dr. Smith, by clicking here.
This portrait sold recently at auction at Sotheby's; the estimate for the portrait was between 800,000 - 1,200,000 USD.

The museum sounds lovely:
"Surrounded by 120 acres of forests and gardens, Crystal Bridges offers a revitalizing environment for experiencing art and cultural events. The grounds are a place of natural and artistic beauty, equally suited for quiet reflection and exploring with family and friends.
Six pedestrian and multi-use trails wind through the campus, connecting the surrounding neighborhoods, parks, and downtown Bentonville to the Museum."
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Now those of you who live in Bentonville will be able to view a genuine Gilbert Stuart.
Thankyou, Alice.

1 comment:

Animal Paradise said...

Elizabeth -
My husband came across your wonderful blog last night. I too have an ancestor that was painted by Gilbert Stuart. His name is William Penn Smith and you have a photo of the Gilbert Stuart on your blog. I have a painting that has been in our family that has been said to be also painted by Gilbert Stuart. We are researching at the present time as there are many copies of the original Stuart painted by various artists of that time period and beyond. I would be happy to share a photo of our painting if you like.
- Janet

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