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December 22, 2009

Last chance to view traveling exhibition of Asa Ames folk art sculptures

Museums guests have less than two weeks to view the first traveling exhibition devoted solely to the work of 19th-century folk sculptor Asa Ames at the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum. “Asa Ames: Occupation Sculpturing” closes Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010.

The exhibition presents nine of the 12 three-dimensional woodcarvings created by the elusive artist between 1847 and his death in 1851 that rank among the most compelling and sensitive American sculptures of the period.

Exclusive to the Williamsburg showing of the exhibition is one of Ames’s finest efforts, “Amanda Clayanna Armstrong,” a life-size, full-length figure of a three-year-old child, now part of the Colonial Williamsburg folk art collection, a gift from Barbara Rice, a descendant of the subject.

Ames (1823-1851) immortalized in wood family members, neighbors and friends in Erie County, N.Y. Included in the artist’s small body of work are portraits of young men and women, and children. The finely observed renderings have few antecedents in early American folk sculpture due to the private nature of the portraits. Like much painted portraiture of the day, the representations are iconic in their simplicity.

“Asa Ames: Occupation Sculpturing” was organized by the American Folk Art Museum, New York, with support from the Leir Charitable Foundations in memory of Henry J. & Erna D. Leir, the Gerard C. Wertkin Exhibition Fund and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Admission is by Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket, Annual Museums Pass or Good Neighbor Pass.

The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg are comprised of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum is home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, comprising more than 5,000 folk art objects made in America during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries and embracing most categories of American folk art by well-known folk artists. The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum exhibits the best in British and American decorative arts from the period 1670–1830.

The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg are located at the intersection of Francis and South Henry Streets, in Williamsburg, Virginia and are entered through the Public Hospital of 1773. Operating hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. For museum program information, telephone (757) 220-7724.

Media Contact:
Jim Bradley
(757) 220-7281