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March 12, 2010

See America’s Great Northwest through the eyes of artist Steve Harley

Rugged outdoorsman Steve Harley painted a brilliantly colored series of landscapes during his 1920s treks in America’s Great Northwest. Barbara Luck, Colonial Williamsburg curator of paintings, drawings and sculpture, will share the details of Harley’s art and his unusual life during the lecture, “Steve Harley: An Original Life,” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 25 at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum at 326 W. Francis St., Williamsburg.

Luck bases her program on research for the exhibition, “Steve Harley: An Original Life.” The exhibition reflects the American image of rugged individualism as expressed through Harley’s entire body of work — five extraordinary oil paintings, several pencil drawings, a sketchbook and photographs.

Luck joined the Foundation in 1970, and has been curator of paintings, drawings and sculpture since 1998. She has served as lead curator for many exhibitions, including "Chasing Shadows: Silhouettes from the Collection of Mary B. and William Lehman Guyton"; “We the People: Three Centuries of American Folk Portraits”; and “Sidewalks to Rooftops: Outdoor Folk Art.”

In addition, Luck organized “Flying Free: 20th-century Self-taught Art from the Collection of Ellin and Baron Gordon,” which captured the Southeastern Museums’ Conference 1997-98 Curators’ Committee Exhibitions Competition. She also co-authored a book by the same name with Ellin Gordon and Tom Patterson that won an award of merit in the 1997-98 Southern Book Competition and was one of the three finalists in the Small Book Press Awards in 1998.

Luck’s presentation on artist Steve Harley is part of an 11-month series celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Wallace Museum. Programs are scheduled monthly through December.

Enjoy light fare, a glass of wine or a cold beer at the Wallace Café in the soaring central atrium court of Colonial Williamsburg’s decorative arts museum. The Wallace Café will be open until 6:30 p.m. on the night of the lecture to accommodate lecture guests.

A Colonial Williamsburg admissions ticket, museum pass or Good Neighbor Card provides access to this lecture.

Dates and topics of upcoming 25th anniversary lectures include:

Thursday, April 22

  • Records of Virtue: Virginia Samplers and Their Makers. Kimberly Smith Ivey, Colonial Williamsburg associate curator of textiles and historic interiors, explores the intricate detail of 18th- and early 19th-century schoolgirl needlework produced by Virginia girls.

    Thursday, May 27

  • Colonial Gentlemen and the Study of America’s Natural History. Colonial American men of means were often fascinated by the study of America’s flora and fauna. Margaret Pritchard, Colonial Williamsburg curator of prints, maps and wallpaper, discusses their role in sharing the natural wealth of the Americas with European scholars of the day.

    Thursday, June 17

  • Antiques, Copies, & Fakes: When Old Chairs Multiply. Eighteenth-century chairs are in high demand, but they aren’t always what they seem. Tara Chicirda, Colonial Williamsburg curator of furniture, discusses the differences between genuine antiques, old copies and outright fakes.

    Thursday, July 22

  • “A tolerable advantageous Business”: The Varied Career of Paul Revere. Janine Skerry, Colonial Williamsburg curator of metals, explores the life and work of Boston silversmith and Revolutionary War patriot Paul Revere.

    Thursday, Aug. 26

  • Dirty Old Dishes: Archaeology, Ceramics, and Historic Interiors. Suzanne Hood, Colonial Williamsburg associate curator of ceramics and glass, explores the role of historical archaeology in creating the accurate interior settings we see in today’s house museums.

    Thursday, Sept. 23

  • Three Centuries of Quilts in America. From whole cloth to patchwork to crazy quilts, Linda Baumgarten, Colonial Williamsburg curator of textiles and costumes, looks are quilts in America from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

    Thursday, Oct. 21

  • George Washington Sipped Here: Tea and Liberty in 18th-Century Virginia. Ceramics expert and Colonial Williamsburg products manager Liza Gusler explores the ritual of tea drinking in colonial Virginia.

    Thursday, Nov. 18

  • A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: Using Prints to Re-create the Past. Laura Barry, Colonial Williamsburg associate curator of prints, maps and paintings, explores the role of 18th-century prints and other graphics in revealing the day-to-day lives of early Americans.

    Thursday, Dec. 16

  • Decking the Halls: The Evolution of Holiday Decoration at Historic Sites. Amanda Rosner, Colonial Williamsburg assistant curator of historic interiors, looks at Christmas decorations in the house museum and reveals what is fact and what is fancy.

    Programs and exhibitions at The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum are supported by the DeWitt Wallace Endowment Fund.

    The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and presentation of the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia. This town-sized living history museum tells the inspirational stories of our journey to become Americans through programs in the Historic Area and through the award-winning Revolutionary City program. Explore The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and discover the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum featuring the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670 – 1830 and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, comprising more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Colonial Williamsburg Hotels feature conference spaces and recreation activities from spa and fine dining to world-class golf. Colonial Williamsburg is committed to expanding its thought-provoking programming through education outreach on-site and online. Purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the preservation, research and educational programs of the Foundation.

    Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

    Media Contact:
    Penna Rogers
    (757) 220-7121

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