TMA Presents Treasures of American Art: The Cynthia & Heywood Fralin Collection

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The Taubman Museum of Art is pleased to present Treasures of American Art: The Cynthia & Heywood Fralin Collection, on view through September 4, 2022.



The Taubman Museum of Art’s latest exhibition features 93 works by 64 American artists covering the period from 1861 to 1975, collected over a 25-year period by Cynthia and Heywood Fralin. This is the first time that all the works will be presented together.

“The Fralins are among the nation’s most ambitious and discerning collectors of late-19th- to mid-20th-century American art,” noted Dr. Karl E. Willers, chief curator of the Taubman Museum of Art. and Deputy Director of Exhibitions and Collections. “The Fralin Collection contains truly extraordinary examples of artwork by some of the best known and most respected American painters of their time who continue to influence and inspire today – from Mary Cassatt to John Singer Sargent ; from Winslow Homer to Norman Rockwell; from Georgia O’Keeffe and Grandma Moses to three generations of Wyeth: NC, Andrew and Jamie.”

“All the works have meaning for us in one way or another,” said Cynthia and Heywood Fralin. “We collected the pieces in the collection primarily for our own enjoyment and enjoyment, but with the idea that they would one day become educational tools for future generations of students interested in American art.”

Debra Force, owner of Debra Force Fine Art in New York and an expert in 18th, 19th, and 20th century American paintings, drawings, and sculptures, helped the Fralins build their collection.

“With quality being the overriding factor in anything considered for the collection, Heywood and Cynthia have been open-minded in their acquisitions,” Force said. “Criteria have included historical significance, as in Thomas Hart Benton’s Old Kansas City; distinguished provenance, as with Walt Kuhn Daughter with turban, formerly owned by Frank Sinatra; prominent exposition story, as in Otto Bacher Ella’s Hotel, Richfield, Ohio, presented at the famous Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1889; and public recognition, as in Norman Rockwell The small modelpublished on the cover of a 1919 issue of Necklace’s magazine.”

American Art Treasures is organized into six central themes:

  • The portrait: fame and intimacy, which explores aspects of American life and culture and developments such as advances in portraiture and representations of individual identity; • The Countryside: Rural and Peripherywhich examines the historical transformation of rural areas in the United States;
  • The border: westward and regionalismwhich considers the formative concept of the frontier expanding westward;
  • The interior: work and leisurestaging the public and the private in interior spaces where everyday experiences take place;
  • The Coast: Beaches and Ports, which studies the seashore and coastline that have historically influenced and determined much of social and economic existence; and
  • The city: streets and parkswhich highlights the ever-bustling and ever-expanding realities of the urban metropolis that has emerged to symbolize all that is new and modern in American life.

The Museum of Art’s permanent collection, now on display at the Fralin Center for American Art, located on the museum’s second floor. Notable artists included in the permanent collection include William Bradford, Maria Oakey Dewing, George Inness, Childe Hassam, Robert Henri, Norman Rockwell, John Singer Sargent and John Henry Twachtman.

Mr. Fralin, Vice Chairman of the Board of the Taubman Museum of Art, and Mrs. Fralin helped the museum build its permanent collection under the auspices of the Horace G. Fralin Charitable Foundation. Mr. Fralin also currently chairs the Museum’s Collections Committee.

“We are beyond grateful to Cynthia and Heywood, not only for generously sharing their collection with us, but also for all they have done and continue to do to make Virginia a premier arts and cultural destination and for helping to make the Taubman Museum of Art an award-winning, nationally recognized destination for art lovers in Southwest Virginia and beyond,” said Cindy Petersen, Executive Director of the Taubman Museum of Art.

Treasures of American Art: The Cynthia & Heywood Fralin Collection is free and open to the public. The Museum is open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m., with extended hours on the first Friday of each month until 9 p.m. Private guided tours are available all week by contacting 540-342-5760.


About the Taubman Art Museum

Designed by renowned architect Randall Stout and accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Virginia houses a highly respected permanent collection and features rotating exhibitions featuring works by global, national and regional artists. . In recognition of the museum’s community involvement and outreach efforts, the Institute of Museum and Library Service named Taubman a finalist for the 2021 National Museum and Library Service Medal, and the Virginia Association of Museums awarded the Taubman its 2022 Innovation Award. Committed to accessibility and inclusivity, the Taubman Museum of Art offers free general admission sponsored in part by the Appalachian Power Foundation.

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