Telfair Museum of Art

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by hersplash on January 6, 2005

This museum was fantastic. Two rooms were furnished in period-style--the Octagon room and the dining room. The dining room was filled with furniture and tableware just like they’d have it in 1819. In other rooms I saw American and European paintings and numerous sculptures. The sculpture room contained four plaster casts of Greek and Roman sculptures.

There was a huge mural consisting of three large paintings, which I found to be particularly interesting. It was a church scene with smiling men and woman going up the left stairs. On the right, women were dressed in black, as if they were leaving a funeral. The painting was so large that it impressed me, and I enjoyed looking into the picture to feel what was going on with these subjects.

It was nice but odd to see a painting by Grandma Moses. I had seen an exhibit of hers at the Shelburne, Vermont, museum a few years back and thought her work was more Vermont, than Georgia, so it seemed out of place here. I think it was called Dividing of the Ways.

The paintings on view represent many different styles. Primarily there are American Impressionists, but also represented are examples of social realist paintings, American abstraction, and dark realism. American Anthem: Highlights from the American Folk Art Museum was the current temporary show at the museum. It featured 125 objects reflecting both historical and contemporary folk production. Works in the exhibit include functional household textiles such as quilts and bed rugs and elaborately painted chests and trunks. Also, there were many portraits, weathervanes, woodcarvings, trinket boxes, family records, and devotional objects. I also saw tinsel paintings where glass was painted on the back and foil was applied beneath the unpainted areas to create dramatic, gleaming highlights.

Finally, there was a Kitchen Gallery in one of the two original kitchens of the Telfair mansion. It includes many features of an early 19th-century kitchen, including an original hearth, double oven, and built-in shelving. I thoroughly enjoyed this museum, including seeing the bronze-cast statue of the "Bird Girl" in front of the museum, made famous from the cover of the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Admission is $8; hours are Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm, Sunday 1 to 5pm, and Monday 12 to 5pm.

Telfair Museums
121 Barnard Street
Savannah, Georgia, 31401
(912) 790-8871

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