This exhibition focuses on a selection of masterworks from the High’s holdings of 19th century Southern decorative arts, examining the great achievements in traditional, rural forms of quilts, ceramics, basketry and furniture. The style, techniques and materials of each work reveal not only the talents of their makers, but also the legacy of learned traditions that, in many instances, have continued to be handed down to following generations of makers.
Reflecting the rich blend of cultural influences in North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and beyond, the exhibition includes several important works by African-American makers including David Drake, an enslaved potter working in South Carolina in the first half of the 19th century. Since the 1970s, the High has celebrated and explored the role and impact of Southern decorative arts, including the legacy of historical folk art, which forms an important component of the Museum’s current program through the mutual efforts of its Decorative Arts and Design and Folk and Self-Taught Art departments.
This exhibition will be the first in the new changing exhibition space established as part of the Museum’s collection reinstallation and located on the second level of the High’s Stent Family Wing.