A Few Updates …

September 30, 2013

New images recently added to KOAR from the Filson Historical Society include portraits that relate to two blogs posted here earlier this year.

2013.2.8&9.
The life and work of William Kendrick (1810-1880), one of the first jewelers in the Louisville area, is part of “Bottoms Up!” which was posted on April 30, 2013, and can be directly linked at: https://kentuckyonlinearts.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/bottoms-up/ William met Maria Stroup Schwing (1814-1885), daughter of Louisville goldsmith and jeweler John Godfried Schwing, at a party when she was nine years old and he was approaching fifteen. They married seven years later on January 19, 1832, and had nine children. By the time of William’s death in 1880, he had become one of Louisville’s most prosperous and respected merchants. Their son William Carnes Kendrick (1852-after 1930) wrote Reminiscences of Old Louisville, a lengthy typescript account of the city that includes references to many local businesses and business owners, starting with a “Memoir to My Father, William Kendrick” and ending with the catastrophic “Recent Flood” that left Louisville under several feet of water for many weeks. It can be found at: https://speedweb.speedmuseum.org/pdfs/kendrick.pdf
This, along with many other publications, can also be found through the KOAR website at: http://www.koar.org/publications.htm

Louisville artist Carl Christian Brenner (1838-1888) is profiled in “Brrr, It’s Cold Outside …” which was posted on February 5, 2013, and can be directly linked at: https://kentuckyonlinearts.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/brrr-its-cold-outside/
2013.2.4Carl’s most iconic paintings are detailed landscapes of his favorite haunts: scenes from what is now Cherokee Park and along River Road in Louisville, Pewee Valley in Oldham County, and the hills just across the river in New Albany, Indiana. His favorite subject was beech trees. Brenner married Anna Glass (1843-1936), daughter of an eminent Louisville violinist, in 1864 and they had six children. Three sons inherited his artistic talent; Edward became an architect and Proctor Knott (named after Carl’s close friend, Kentucky governor James Proctor Knott) studied art before taking holy orders at St. Meinrad Abbey in Indiana. Carolus (1865-1924), who painted this portrait of his father, studied art in Germany and France before settling in Chicago. Several works by Carolus are also in KOAR and the Filson Historical Society has photographs taken by both Carolus and his brother Edward in its special collections. A catalogue of the J.B. Speed Memorial Museum’s 1947 exhibition “Kentucky Paintings by Carl Christian Brenner” can be found at: https://speedweb.speedmuseum.org/pdfs/brenner.pdf

The Filson Historical Society was founded in 1884 in Louisville, Kentucky. Named to honor Kentucky’s first historian, John Filson, it is the commonwealth’s oldest privately supported historical society. Their website is: http://filsonhistorical.org

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KOAR images shown here (top to bottom):
    2013.2.8 William Kendrick
    2013.2.9 Maria Kendrick
    2013.2.4 Carl Brenner
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Brrr, It’s Cold Outside …

February 5, 2013

Can you imagine painting outdoors during the bitter cold snaps we have endured this year in north-central Kentucky?

1958.24That is exactly what Louisville artist Carl Christian Brenner did! “The weather never stopped Brenner,” wrote Jean Howerton Cody in a 1979 Louisville Courier-Journal column. “He would set up his easel and a folding chair in a portable hut with large glass exposures and paint away in rain or snow.” Brenner loved nature and being outdoors, especially rambling around the forests and fields of his adopted hometown and its vicinity. As Diane Heilenman described in a 1985 Louisville Courier-Journal article, “Wearing his artist’s hat and carrying a staff and a paint box, Brenner was a familiar figure in Louisville parks and Pewee Valley woods.”

Brenner’s most iconic paintings are detailed landscapes of his favorite haunts: scenes from what is now Cherokee Park and along River Road in Louisville, Pewee Valley in Oldham County, and the hills just across the river in New Albany, Indiana. His favorite subject was beech trees, as illustrated above. He painted other Kentucky views as well, including the Cumberland Mountains and the Falls of the Cumberland River in Whitley County. At various times Brenner also visited the Southern wetlands and highlands to paint, and traveled West to the Plains states, Colorado, California, Washington, Oregon, and the Rocky Mountains. (Brenner is also known to have occasionally painted portraits and experimented with printmaking and graphic art.)

“Brenner’s view of the 2008.2.8city’s parks and woods were THE thing in Victorian Louisville,” declared Heilenman. “Louisville author Meliville O. Briney once wrote, ‘If you grew up in Louisville, a Brenner painting on the wall is as much a part of your pleasant childhood as a rose-back sofa in the parlor or the fire of cannel coal that burned in grandma’s grate.’” While his works demonstrate a wide range of styles, including Realism and Romanticism, after 1878 Brenner was considered part of a group of Louisville artists known as Tonalists, who used muted color to evoke mood. Brenner paid special attention to seasonal effects and time of day through his sensitive rendering of natural light and shadows.

Carl Christian Brenner was born August 1, 1838 in Lauterecken, Bavaria (Germany), and attended public schools there from age six to fourteen. According to “A Biographical Sketch of Carl Brenner” in The Biographical Encyclopaedia of Kentucky of the Dead and Living Men of the Nineteenth Century (1878), a teacher who recognized his artistic talent made application to King Ludwig I for Carl’s admission to the prestigious Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. The king readily granted permission but Carl’s father, a glazier by trade, refused consent for Carl to pursue further art studies. His father objected to art as a career, believing that nobody could make a living as an artist, and wanted Carl to train (and join two other sons) in the family business.

The Brenner family emigrated to the United States in 1853, when Carl was fifteen. They landed in New Orleans, where there was a strong German presence in the arts community, and stayed there briefly before journeying upriver that winter to Louisville, Kentucky, which also had a substantial German population. Carl remained in Louisville for the rest of his life. He originally worked with his father as a glazier (which turned out to have been a handy skill for constructing that portable hut!), then later as a house, sign, and ornamental painter. Carl’s artistic workmanship drew much admiration, however, even when used just for painting signs.

1988.9.2Not long after arriving in Louisville, Brenner’s talent was noticed by an influential patron of the arts, George P. Doern, publisher of the Louisville Anzeiger, a German-language city newspaper. After seeing Brenner’s pencil sketches of scenes along the Mississippi River, Doern advised him to become a landscape painter. In 1863, Brenner received his first professional artist’s commission, a vast panorama (35,000 square feet) of Civil War scenes, from its beginning through the battles at Chancellorsville, for the Masonic Hall of Louisville. By 1867, Brenner had rented a studio at 103 West Jefferson Street, where he pursued his true passion of painting canvases when he was not painting signs and houses to afford his avocation.

In 1871, Brenner began devoting more of his energies to landscape painting. His friend, U.S. Representative (and future Kentucky governor) J. Proctor Knott is said to have boosted Brenner’s career around 1874 by arranging for the sale of his painting Beeches to William Wilson Corcoran, founder of the Washington, D.C., gallery that bears his name. (Brenner named one of his sons after Knott.) Encouraged by the Corcoran sale and the Civil War panorama commission, Brenner gave up his business to become a full-time landscape painter at the age of forty, using his earnings as a glazier, house, and sign painter to establish his own studio at 407 South Fourth Street (Fourth and Jefferson) in 1878.

Brenner had become a very popular and well-esteemed figure about town. “Night-time sales of his work in his gas-lit studio were social events of the time,” stated Heilenman. (Sounds a bit like the current First Friday Trolley Hop tour of art galleries in downtown Louisville, doesn’t it?) Cody shared a contemporary account of one such event: “Every year, just before Christmas, Brenner conducted his annual auction at his studio. A newspaper account in 1885 noted, ‘The studio was well filled last evening. The bidding was lively, although the pictures went for very modest sums.’ The top price was $113.” Heilenman also noted, “Prices rose from $35 a painting in the 1870s to more than $1000 just before his death.”

During his lifetime, 1999.12.8Brenner was the most well-known of Kentucky artists. His paintings were exhibited in Vienna, Philadelphia, New York, and California, as well as regionally in the first Louisville Industrial Exposition in 1874 (and every subsequent annual exposition) and the 1883 Southern Exhibition on the site of what is now St. James Court in Old Louisville.

Brenner’s 1864 marriage to Anna Glass, daughter of an eminent Louisville violinist, produced six children. Three sons inherited his artistic talent; Edward became an architect and Proctor Knott studied art before taking holy orders at St. Meinrad Abbey in Indiana. Carolus showed such promise that he was sent to the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, since his father knew for certain that one could indeed make a living as an artist! Several works by Carolus are also in KOAR, one of which is included as the last image here. (Perhaps more on Carolus in a future blog…)

Carl Christian Brenner died of a kidney ailment on July 22, 1888, in Louisville and is buried in St. Louis Cemetery. “Henry Watterson, editor of The Courier-Journal, wrote in 1888, shortly before Brenner’s death at the age of 50, ‘It was a grand triumph of Carl Brenner, an untutored sign painter of limited education and little or no instruction in art, to have painted the beech better than any American dead or alive,’” Cody quoted, then later continued, “Brenner, at the time of his death, was written up in the London Magazine of Art. Not bad for a self-taught artist from Louisville.”

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An image of Carl Brenner sketching on the Kentucky River is available at: http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mmhesse/Brenner.html#sketching

“Brenner on the wall used to be central to being a kid” by Jean Howerton Cody in the Louisville Courier-Journal, November 8, 1979, is available at: http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mmhesse/Brenneronthewall.jpg

“A Legacy – Carl Brenner 1838-1888” by Diane Heilenman in the Louisville Courier-Journal, February 3, 1985, is available at: http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mmhesse/BrennerLegacy.jpg

Available through the KOAR Publications webpage (http://www.koar.org/publications.htm) are:

Catalogue of the J.B. Speed Memorial Museum’s 1947 exhibition “Kentucky Paintings by Carl Christian Brenner” at: https://speedweb.speedmuseum.org/pdfs/brenner.pdf

Patty Prather Thum’s “Artists of the Past in Kentucky”, which contains an informal biographical sketch of Brenner on p. 11-12, at: https://speedweb.speedmuseum.org/pdfs/Thum_1925.pdf

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KOAR images shown here (top to bottom):

1958.1.24                Carl Christian Brenner, Winter
2008.2.8                  Carl Christian Brenner, Winter Landscape
1988.1.9.2               Carl Christian Brenner, Winter Sunset
1999.1.12.8             Carolus Brenner, Untitled

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KOAR’s Russian Connection

October 15, 2012

Who would have imagined a future link between the rosy-cheeked toddler in this Kentucky painting and the Russian imperial court?

The impressive portrait (8’-4” x 6’-6”) of the John Speed Smith Family in Richmond, Kentucky, was painted in 1819 when little Sally Ann Lewis Clay (1818-1875) was only a year old. Colonel John Speed Smith (1792-1854) was well on his way to an outstanding law career, and became one of the prominent men of eastern Kentucky. A descendent of James Speed, who in 1690 immigrated to Virginia from England, John was born in Jessamine County on July 3, 1792, the year Kentucky petitioned the Commonwealth of Virginia to be recognized as a
free and independent “Commonwealth” and join the recently established union as its fifteenth state. A graduate of Transylvania College in Lexington, he had taken part in the Indian campaigns and acted as aide-de-camp to General Harrison in the War of 1812. During President Monroe’s administration, Smith was a Representative in Congress; immediately afterwards, he went on a mission to South America for President John Quincy Adams. President Andrew Jackson appointed him U.S. District Attorney for Kentucky. Smith also served six terms in the Kentucky Legislature, part of the time as Speaker, and four years in the state senate.

In 1815, on his twenty-third birthday, John married Elizabeth Lewis Clay (1798-1887), then seventeen. Eliza was the daughter of General Green Clay, a veteran of both the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, and a cousin of famous Kentucky statesman Henry Clay and Alabama governor Clement Comer Clay. Green Clay was thought to have been the wealthiest man in Kentucky of his time, reputed to own tens of thousands of acres, several distilleries and a tavern, and many ferries across the Kentucky River.

The charming new home shown off in the John Speed Smith Family portrait had been built in 1818 on land given by Green Clay to his daughter. (The Smiths lived here until 1829, when John built “Castle Union” near Speedwell in Madison County; their original one-story brick Georgian house on North Street at Aspen Avenue in Richmond was demolished in 1957.) The painting reveals in unusual detail a fashionable interior of that time, with patterned carpet, decorated “fancy” chairs, and sheer curtains behind red drapes. Along with the stylish clothing, from the Colonel’s fancy ruffled shirt and gold watch fob to his wife’s empire gown and comb tucked into a modish ringlet hairdo, this portrait gives a glimpse into an unexpectedly refined lifestyle in what was still considered a “frontier” state. The book Eliza is holding indicates her education as well, fairly uncommon for women of the day. This portrait is considered a major visual portrayal of Kentucky life and its significant role in American history.

It is also a remarkable example of early work by Chester Harding (1792-1866) who at this time was still self-taught. Born in New England, he had tried a variety of trades before moving to Pittsburgh, where he began painting signs and houses. Around 1818 an itinerant artist introduced Harding to portraiture, at which he had some success before moving to Kentucky to join his brother, a carpenter and chair maker living in Paris. Harding found that painting was his passion and he became quite a popular portraitist in the region, charging $25 for each, half of what Matthew Jouett in nearby Lexington was getting. Harding earned enough money to afford formal training and eventually went on to great fame after studying in Philadelphia, in London with Sir Thomas Lawrence, and in that “other” Paris (i.e., France) before returning to America and settling in Boston.

But back to the Russian connection with that barefooted little girl in the pink-ribboned bonnet and matching coral necklace … One of Sallie Ann’s future brothers, Green Clay Smith, was a member of Congress when Kentucky-born President Abraham Lincoln was nominated for a second term and he came within one vote of being Lincoln’s running mate. One of Sallie Ann’s uncles, Eliza’s brother Cassius Marcellus Clay, nicknamed “The Lion of White Hall”, became well-known as an abolitionist and was appointed by Lincoln to be Minister to the Russian court at St. Petersburg. (In 1853, Cassius M. Clay granted ten acres to another abolitionist, John G. Fee, who founded the town of Berea and, in 1855, Berea College, the first non-segregated, coeducational college in the South and one of a handful in the nation to admit both male and female students at that time.) As Cassius M. Clay was preparing to go abroad, the Civil War broke out with no federal troops in Washington, D.C., so before departing he organized a group of 300 volunteers, dubbed “Cassius M. Clay’s Washington Guards”, to protect the White House and U.S. Naval Yard from a possible Confederate attack. Sallie Ann’s son, William Cassius Goodloe, withdrew from his senior year at Transylvania to be his great-uncle’s private secretary in St. Petersburg; Goodloe also acted as Secretary of Legation until the summer of 1862, when he returned for a commission in the Union army. After Czar Alexander II issued the 1861 Emancipation Manifesto freeing the serfs in Russia, Cassius M. Clay pressured Lincoln to issue an emancipation proclamation in America; later he was influential in negotiations for the purchase of Alaska. The Czar presented these portraits of himself and his wife, Czarina Maria Alexandrovna, to Cassius M. Clay before his final return to America in 1869. And if the name sounds a bit familiar, it was indeed shared by Louisville-born boxing champion Muhammad Ali and his father, until Ali‘s conversion to Islam in the 1960s.

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The portraits of Czar Alexander II and Czarina Maria Alexandrovna are on view in the Kentucky Historical Society’s exhibition “Great Revivals: Kentucky Decorative Arts Treasures” at the Old State Capitol in Frankfort, Kentucky, until 2015.


Early Louisville Racing and Edward Troye

June 24, 2012

Barely five years after Louisville was founded in 1778 by George Rogers Clark, horse races were being held on Market Street. By 1805 there was racing on Shippingport “Island,” which John James Audubon frequented in 1811-1812; he noted that horse racing was almost as interesting as watching birds.

After several unsuccessful attempts at organizing racetracks in Louisville, Oakland Race Course was established in 1832 on a fifty-five acre plot on the west and south sides of present day 7th Street and Magnolia Avenue. The clubhouse was celebrated as one of the most handsome sporting venues in the country, welcoming even ladies with a furnished room and private pavilion. The population of Louisville was approximately 20,000 citizens by then, only thirteen years after the death of Daniel Boone. An 1840 painting of Oakland House and Race Course, Louisville, by Robert Brammer and Augustus A. Von Smith, Sr., has also graced the KOAR webpage image header since we first went online in April 2006. (See our October 2011 blog for more on Edward Fisk’s portrait of Mary Daniel.) Brammer and Von Smith had a studio together in Louisville, upstairs on the south side of the 300 block of Main Street and later at Market and Sixth Streets, during 1840-1841. Since Brammer was a landscape painter, it is assumed that he painted the famous setting, while Von Smith contributed the many “miniatures” of horses, people, and carriages.

Oakland was struggling financially by 1839, when promoter and entrepreneur Yelverton C. Oliver arranged a match race offering a purse of $14,000. In those days racecourses were three to five miles long and there was no starting gate, which did not appear until the following century. Horses often ran in two to three races a day, and this match was for the best two out of three four-mile heats, winner take all. Two of the most famous horses of the era ran on September 30 in what became known as “the greatest
race west of the Alleghenies”: Wagner, foaled in Virginia in 1834, who had already established himself as the finest in Louisiana and Tennessee; and
Grey Eagle, foaled
a year later in Lexington, Kentucky, who had run the fastest two miles in the United States. This engraving of
Grey Eagle, after a painting by Edward Troye, was the Embellishment (frontispiece) for the American Turf Register of April 1843.

Edward Troye was a painter of race horses in Kentucky, Virginia, Ohio, and New York, being periodically active in Kentucky about 1834-1874. His portraits of renowned Early American thoroughbreds from 1832-1843 for the American Turf Register served as a marketing tool for both magazine and horseman throughout the country. They also are perhaps the only visual record of early foundation sires and mares in the United States. Troye traveled widely to sketch from life his legendary subjects, and his attention to the landscape and backgrounds behind the horses preserve a historical record of America at that time as well. This can be seen in his 1840 painting of Grey Eagle’s dam in Ophelia and Falcon, which shows in the distance Major H.T. Duncan’s Kentucky homestead, “Duncannon”, situated along Paris Pike on the outskirts of Lexington, Kentucky.

For that 1839 match an estimated 10,000 people (or more) were in attendance, including hundreds of racing enthusiasts who had made the long trek across the mountains from the Atlantic seaboard. As in the Brammer and Von Smith painting, outside the clubhouse fashionable belles were helped down from fine carriages by gentlemen in top hats and tails; among the noted aristocrats on this day was a contingent from Lexington, led by Henry Clay. Less famous fans who could not afford a seat in the stands perched up in the tall, graceful oak trees that gave the track its name, hoping to catch a glimpse of the race. Wagner won the first heat; in the second, just as it seemed Grey Eagle might have a chance to win, Wagner pulled ahead and won by a nose in a record 7:44, “best time ever south of the Potomac” according to the Louisville Daily Journal. Disappointed Kentucky fans demanded a rematch, which was agreed to be run just five days later, October 5, on the same course for a purse of $10,000. This time, Grey Eagle won the first heat by a length and Wagner won the second. Grey Eagle was leading down the stretch in the in the third heat, when either he broke down from the tremendous stress or possibly was bumped by Wagner; the injury prematurely ended his racing career.

Both horses became successful sires, “continuing” their matches through their offspring; in fact, Grey Eagle’s first colts started racing in 1843, the same year Troye’s portrait appeared in the American Turf Register. Cato, the famous slave jockey who had ridden Wagner, was given his freedom in exchange for the victories. And racing aficionados still consider this one of the high points of the sport in the United States. Many believe the publicity from the match races made Kentucky famous as the preeminent horse-racing state and that Louisville’s legendary Churchill Downs owes at least part of its fame to Oakland House and Race Course. However, Oakland itself suffered financial reverses in the late 1840s and was closed by the mid-1850s. It served as a staging point for Kentucky troops during the Mexican War and as a cavalry remount station for the Union Army during the Civil War. Eventually the area fell into serious disrepair and disrepute, becoming a refuge of shabby homes and gardens for society’s outcasts. At the turn of the century, Alice Hegan (Rice) dubbed the area “The Cabbage Patch” in her best-selling 1901 novel Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch, a fictional name that has persisted to the present day.
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Edward Troye’s portrait of undefeated American Eclipse, a direct descendant of the undefeated eighteenth century British racing champion Eclipse, after whom the annual American Thoroughbred horse racing awards is named, is on view at The Speed Art Museum until September 23, 2012.


Kentucky Historical Society: Paul Sawyier

February 26, 2012

Paul Sawyier remains one of the most popular artists in the Commonwealth, although his work is relatively unknown outside of the region.

Big Eddy

Perhaps this might change a bit with the recent addition to KOAR of more than 120 images from the Kentucky Historical Society’s collection of his works, including many of the impressionistic landscapes of Franklin County and nearby surroundings which have long been local favorites. Painting these mainly in watercolors, Sawyier sensitively captured ephemeral lighting effects and subtle color contrasts in his idyllic Kentucky scenes.

Winter in Kentucky

During his final years, however, Sawyier lived and worked in New York City and the Catskill Mountains. It is here that he began painting primarily in oils and produced what many consider his most mature work. While living with his sister in Brooklyn, he painted views of the many parks and waterways in the area. After moving to the Catskills, he concentrated on the mountains and neighboring villages. But he also worked from photographs of the old familiar settings in his home state, sending these paintings back to the faithful Kentucky patrons who had commissioned them.

Railroad in the Catskills

The Sawyier family home in Frankfort was located where the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History on the KHS campus now stands, with a historical marker honoring Paul Sawyier near its main entrance. Several of his paintings are being rotated through the KHS Great Revivals exhibition at the Old State Capitol if you would like to see them in person. (Images from Great Revivals are also in KOAR.)

And you can read more about Paul Sawyier in two exhibition catalogues on the KOAR Publications page, which has been expanded by the addition of more than sixty-five items.  First, click on this link: http://www.koar.org/publications.htm
Then select Individual Artists and Makers at the top of the page. Works are chronologically arranged by publication date. Scrolling down, you can find the catalogue for a 1940 exhibition at The Speed Art Museum, Paintings by Paul Sawyier, and Willard Rouse Jillson’s Paul Sawyier and His Paintings, which contains a more detailed account of the artist’s life and works written to accompany the 1965 centenary exhibition commemorating Sawyier’s birth.


About Mary Daniel

October 2, 2011

Mary Daniel has graced the KOAR webpage image header since we first went online in April 2006. She was interviewed by Nancy Crane in the Lexington Herald-Leader in 1992 on the occasion of a posthumous one-person show of the work of Edward Fisk, professor in the University of Kentucky Art Department from 1926 to 1942. “Mary D. Lilly learned more than 50 years ago that sitting still doesn’t agree with her,” the article opened. “It was 1938 and she was posing for a portrait by artist Edward Fisk at his Hampton Court apartment. ‘It was the hardest thing I ever did to keep still that long.'” Mary Daniel (Lilly, after marriage) worked as Edward and Lucy Fisk’s housekeeper, not your typical artist’s model. “Lilly is not sure what about her caught the artist’s eye. ‘As an artist, I guess he saw something — the expression on my face or something — that he wanted to paint.'”

At the time this article was published, Mary Daniel Lilly at 77 was only semi-retired. One day a week “‘I still look after Allie,'” the Fisk’s daughter, “‘which I promised her mother when she was sick that I would do.'” However, most of Lilly’s time went to numerous volunteer activities, which she had begun fifteen years earlier as a way to “help cope with the death of her husband of 40 years, Marcellus.” Her remarkable energy and “dedication to the community has not gone unnoticed. In 1989 she was named Lexington’s Outstanding Volunteer by the Volunteer Center of the Bluegrass.” Fisk painted another portrait of the young Mary Daniel, too, seen at:  http://www.edwardfisk.com/portrait/pages/port05.htm

I guess we will never know exactly what caught Fisk’s eye on that day in 1938, yet the indomitable spirit he clearly captured still illuminated Mary Daniel Lilly’s life fifty years later, just as it does ours now.


Great Kentucky Antiques Given to Speed Art Museum

September 6, 2011

Even as the Speed Art Museum’s exhibition, Quilts from Kentucky and Beyond: The Bingham-Miller Family Collection was opening back in June (it closes on September 18), I was already working on the next big thing to hit the Speed:

Silhouette of Cassius Clay by William Henry Brown, 1845

The arrival of almost 120 pieces of nineteenth-century Kentucky furniture, silver, ceramics, textiles, paintings, and works on paper. This extraordinary trove of great Kentucky art was given to the Speed by Bob and Norma Noe. The Noes, both Kentucky natives, assembled the collection over the course of thirty years. Their generous gift makes the Speed’s Kentucky collection the best in the country.

Mason-Fleming-Lewis County, Kentucky, chest of drawers, 1795-1810

Over sixty highlights from the collection are now on view in the exhibition, Kentucky Antiques from the Noe Collection: A Gift to the Commonwealth. If you want to hear Bob Noe talk about his experiences as a collector, check out this and this.

To learn more about the Noes’ gift, read the whole press release.