From New York to Nebo: The Artistic Journey of Eugene Thomason is the first retrospective of American artist Eugene Thomason’s work in more than a generation and a rare opportunity to see the holdings of his art owned by The Johnson Collection, a private collection of southern American art. Thomason is a Charlotte native who, after training in New York at the Art Students League and with urban realist George Luks, returned to his home state in the early 1930s and became known for his colorful, powerfully-painted portraits and landscapes. When The Mint Museum opened its doors in 1936, Thomason was perhaps the most significant artist working in Charlotte and one of the region’s strongest advocates for contemporary art. In fact, one of The Mint Museum’s first exhibitions, in 1937, was one dedicated to Thomason’s recent work. For the next four decades, first in Charlotte and later in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Nebo, Thomason worked in the vigorous, rough-hewn style he had adopted in New York to depict subjects ranging from the local landscape and important regional events (including documenting FDR’s “Green Pastures” rally at Memorial Stadium) to a wide variety of his friends and acquaintances. He also created a well-known series featuring a fictional rural clan he called “the Hankins.”
From New York to Nebo is organized by the Johnson Collection and curated by noted expert on Southern art, Martha Severens. It will feature approximately 40 examples of Thomason’s art, including The Mint Museum’s large portrait, Boy with Chrysanthemums . It will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue containing an essay by Severens and a foreword by the Mint’s Dr. Jonathan Stuhlman.
The exhibition was organized by The Johnson Collection and is presented with generous support from Duke Energy.