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January 29, 2008

Last opportunity to view "Silhouette" exhibition at Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum

Museum guests of Colonial Williamsburg have a few short weeks left to view an exhibition that explores silhouettes as a popular form of portraiture.

Feb. 18 is the final day for “Chasing Shadows: Silhouettes from the Collection of Mary B. and William Lehman Guyton,” one of 11 exciting folk art exhibits that opened in February 2007 at the new Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum.

“One of the striking qualities of silhouettes is their universal appeal without regard to social or economic station, “ said Barbara Luck, Colonial Williamsburg’s curator of paintings, drawings and sculpture. “As portraiture, they were enjoyed by people from all walks of life. Wealth had little to do with the acquisition and appreciation of silhouettes.”

Given silhouettes’ relative simplicity and the optical and mechanical aids that artists widely used to render them, the likenesses demonstrate amazing variety and the exhibit features some of the collection’s more unusual, eye-catching and individualistic silhouettes.

With nearly 100 artifacts, the exhibition illustrates major types of silhouettes and some of the techniques used to fabricate them in the 19th century. An introductory section surveys the formation of the collection and details silhouettes as a popular form of portraiture. Subsequent sections show cut-and-paste, hollow-cut and painted silhouettes, while a fourth section features those that were either fully or partially printed. For comparative purposes, a fifth section highlights 20th-century examples.

“Chasing Shadows” is displayed in The Mary B. and William Lehman Guyton Gallery.

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.

Contained within the same facility since February 2007, the Museums of Colonial Williamsburg are comprised of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. The Museums of Colonial Williamsburg are located at the intersection of Francis and South Henry Streets and are entered through the Public Hospital of 1773. Operating hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is by any Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket, Annual Museums Pass or Good Neighbor Pass. For museum program information, telephone (757) 220-7724.

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture — stories of our journey to become Americans – while historic tradespeople research, demonstrate and preserve the 18th-century world of work and industry. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution for its guests, it also invites them to interact with history. “Revolutionary City®” a daily dramatic live street theatre presentation is a 2008 Rand McNally Best-of-the-Road™ Editor’s Pick. 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., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

Media Contact:
Jim Bradley
(757) 220-7281