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December Issue 2002

Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, SC, Features an Exhibition of Works by Middleton Manigault

The Gibbes Museum of Art is pleased to announce the opening of the exhibition, Middleton Manigault: Visionary Modernist on Dec. 13, 2002. This long overdue retrospective presents the life and work of Middleton Manigault, a pioneering artist of the American Modernist movement who had close family ties to Charleston. The exhibition has received wide critical acclaim, with New York magazine calling it "a startling eclectic body of work" and Art News commenting that "The artist and his audience have been done a great service by this sensitive yet probing exhibition." The exhibition will be on view through Mar. 23, 2003.

Middleton Manigault (1887 - 1922) inadvertently starved himself to death at the age of 35 in an attempt to "see colors not perceptible to the physical eye," thus ending a short but distinguished career as a pioneering Modern artist. As a young man, he caught the attention of many of America's foremost patrons of the avant-garde movement, including J. Paul Getty and Arthur Jerome Eddy, who purchased the artist's seminal work "The Clown from the "New York Armory Show of 1913.

Since his death in 1922, Middleton Manigault's reputation has been sustained mainly by a small circle of scholars, collectors and devoted family members. This lack of greater renown in some ways resulted from the scarcity of Manigault's surviving works, a situation attributable to the artist himself. Suffering from chronic depression and periodic breakdowns due to trauma experienced while serving in World War I, he destroyed as many as 200 of his creations. Nevertheless, "American Art Review magazine states that "what remains of his output clearly ranks him among the more fascinating and idiosyncratic of early Modern artists in America."

Middleton Manigault's career was characterized by incessant experimentation, and his works are remarkable for their decorative sense and imaginative spirit. Unlike many artists of the period, whose reputations were tied to a signature style, Manigault found inspiration in an exciting range of artistic practices that flourished during Modernism's formative years. His work exemplifies the experimental nature at the heart of Modern art.

Organized by the Columbus Museum of Art in partnership with New York City's Hollis Taggart Galleries, Middleton Manigault: Visionary Modernist offers a much-deserved critical reevaluation of an artist, relatively unknown today, whose career coincided with the early years of Modernism in America.

On Feb. 1, 2003, the Gibbes will welcome noted scholars and art historians for Imagination Revealed: Middleton Manigault and Modernism, a one-day symposium examining the brief but dynamic life and career of Middleton Manigault. The day's lectures will discuss the artist's contributions to the history of Modernism as well as the recent resurgence in the popularity of Manigault and his contemporaries. Symposium tickets are $40 for members. $55 for nonmembers. A boxed lunch is included in the price of the ticket. Seats are limited and reservations are required. For reservations, please call 843/722-2706, ext. 39.

Organized to complement the major exhibition Middleton Manigault: Visionary Modernist, the Gibbes is proud to announce an installation of works from the permanent holdings and on loan from a local private collection, Middleton Manigault: A Family Legacy, opening Dec. 13, 2002, will examine the Manigault family's considerable ancestry as art collectors and artists in Charleston. As statesmen, prominent businesspeople and military heroes, the Manigaults contributed greatly to the artistic legacy of this region. Primary documents, works on paper and oil paintings tell the story and provide a context for Middleton Manigault's career. Middleton Manigault: A Family Legacy will be on view through Mar. 23, 2003.

For more information check our SC Institutional Gallery listings or call the museum at 843/722-2706 or online at (www.gibbes.com).

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