Two extraordinary exhibitions of American art to open at Mint Museum Uptown

“The Weir Family, 1820-1920: Expanding the Traditions of American Art’ and ‘Reflections: Portraits by Beverly McIver’ both open October 20

Two new exhibitions celebrating nearly 200 years of American art from the early 19th century to present day are opening to the public at Mint Museum Uptown on Saturday, October 20, and will remain on view for the next three months.

“The Mint is pleased to continue offering Charlotte audiences a range of exhibitions celebrating art that is beautiful, inspiring, and historically significant,” said Dr. Kathleen V. Jameson, President & CEO of the Mint. “We look forward to our visitors engaging with these works and being transformed in ways that transcend the walls of our museum.”

The Weir Family, 1820-1920: Expanding the Traditions of American Art

The Weir Family, 1820-1920: Expanding the Traditions of American Art, organized by the Brigham Young University Museum of Art and on view through January 20, 2013, is the first major exhibition to collectively examine the paintings of American artists Robert Walter Weir and his two sons, John Ferguson Weir and Julian Alden Weir, and in doing so it traces the trajectory of American art across the 19th century and into the 20th.

“I am delighted to be able to bring such an important exhibition to the Mint,” said Jonathan Stuhlman, the Mint’s curator of American art. “This exhibition traces almost the entire history of American painting in the nineteenth century through the lens of a single family, and does so with beautifully-executed paintings containing engaging subject matter.”

Robert Weir was one of the first American artists to study in Italy, working there from 1824 until 1827. Upon his return to America, he became an associate at the recently-founded National Academy in New York in 1829 and, a few years later, an instructor at the United States Military Academy in West Point. He was renowned for his talent as a portraitist and a history painter and painted one of the murals in the Capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C. Robert’s first son, John, trained with his father and in Europe. He then taught at Yale University for 44 years and established the first academic art program at a university in the United States. John’s younger brother, Julian, was educated at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris from 1873 until 1877 and became one of the country’s leading Impressionist artists.

Mint members have the opportunity to preview the exhibition at a members-only First Look Friday on October 19 beginning at 6:30 p.m. The Mint will offer a number of lectures and other special events during the run of the exhibition, beginning with a Sunday Fun Day this Sunday, October 21 from 1-4 p.m. with activities celebrating the exhibition (FREE for children under 18; half-price admission for adults). On Tuesday October 30, David Park Curry, the Senior Curator of Decorative Arts, American painting and Sculpture at the Baltimore Art Museums, will visit for a FREE discussion of the life and career of James McNeill Whistler, who studied under Robert Walter Weir. A curator’s tour with Stuhlman will be November 14 at noon and is free after museum admission. A FREE concert featuring local handbell choirs, celebrating the 1866 painting The Christmas Bell by John Ferguson Weir and other holiday-themed works in the exhibition, will be December 18. And a FREE ArtFusion event with a lecture and other activities will be held January 15. For more information on these and other events, visit

The Weir Family, 1820-1920: Expanding the Traditions of American Art is organized by Weir expert Marian Wardle for the Brigham Young University Museum of Art. It is made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts and foundation sponsor, the Henry Luce Foundation. Additional assistance has been provided by Jack and Mary Lois Wheatley and the Milton A. and Gloria G. Barlow Foundation. Presentation in Charlotte of The Weir Family is generously made possible by McColl Brothers Lockwood and McColl Partners, and the Mint Museum Auxiliary. A fully-illustrated hardcover catalogue is available in the Mint Museum Shops for $49.95.

Reflections: Portraits by Beverly McIver

Reflections: Portraits by Beverly McIver, on view through January 6, 2013, celebrates the last decade of work by a North Carolina native artist who is renowned for her expression-filled, emotive canvases that commemorate her life and the lives of those closest to her – in particular, her mother Ethel, who passed away in 2004, and her sister, Renee, who is mentally disabled.

“Beverly McIver’s vibrant colors and expressive brushstrokes give voice to matters of identity and personal integrity. Having left the security of a tenured faculty position to honor a promise made to her terminally-ill mother to care for her disabled sister, Renee, McIver tracks the complex emotions of despair, hope and resiliency,” said Curator Carla Hanzal. “This is a powerful show that speaks to difficult choices made by contemporary families.”

McIver is a significant presence in contemporary American art, examining racial, gender and social identities through her experiences as an African-American female artist. Her family history allowed her to contemplate and illustrate complicated emotions that arrive from depression, frustration, compassion, and joy. “All of my portraits are self-portraits,” McIver has said. “I use the faces of others who reflect my most inner being.”

McIver’s 2002 work Dora’s Dance is a candidate for acquisition by the Mint through the museum’s “Vote for Art” project, which allows museum visitors to cast ballots for their favorites from among six works of art. The winning work will be announced at the museum’s Ballot Ball on November 9.

A documentary about McIver, “Raising Renee,” will screen at the Mint for FREE on Tuesday, November 20. The artist herself will visit for a FREE discussion on Tuesday, November 27. For more details on these and other events, visit

Reflections: Portraits by Beverly McIver is organized by the North Carolina Museum of Art. This exhibition is made possible, in part, by the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources; the North Carolina Museum of Art Foundation, Inc.; and the William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment for Educational Exhibitions. An illustrated softcover catalogue is available in the Mint Museum Shops for $15.