, U.Va.

About The Fralin

Director's Welcome

Elizabeth Wright

As Academic Year 2019 begins, the excitement on Grounds is electric!

This fall at The Fralin, we are bringing you a season of exhibitions that will help us reconsider our ideas about American art. What do we mean by “American art?” How have our definitions of “American” changed over time and who has historically been missing in this conversation? Is it even useful to think in terms of “American art” when we consider contemporary art that is rooted in global explorations?

In 2011, Heywood and Cynthia Fralin made a promised gift of their significant collection of late-19th, early-20th century American painting to the Museum. In the last 7 years, the collection has continued to grow and, with the bicentennial of the University approaching, it is the perfect opportunity to celebrate this transformational gift to the Museum. Most of the paintings on view will be completely new to our audiences, with a few “favorites” exhibited previously at the Museum included, so that the breadth and quality of the collection can be fully understood.

Excavations: The Prints of Julie Mehretu offers us an opportunity to look closely at the printmaking of this important contemporary Ethiopian-American artist. Organized by the Highpoint Center for Printmaking, we are delighted that this exhibition of densely layered prints brings Mehretu’s celebrated work to The Fralin for the very first time.

We are thrilled to welcome Unexpected O’Keeffe: The Virginia Watercolors and Later Paintings, to our galleries. By assembling Georgia O’Keeffe’s watercolors of Charlottesville and adding important scholarship to this understudied part of her life, The Fralin is contextualizing the vital work that O’Keeffe accomplished while studying and teaching at the University of Virginia.

Rounding out our exhibitions exploring American art, Reflections: Native Art Across Generations continues. Look for visits by the important contemporary artists included in this exhibition over the coming months.

Finally, you may notice a new addition to my signature. Keep reading to discover more about this key moment ensuring the future success of the Museum.

Thank you for joining me on this journey of looking at American art anew. I hope your experiences this fall may change your view on art and artists you thought you knew, while introducing you to names and work we all should know.

See you in the galleries soon,

Matthew McLendon, J. Sanford Miller Family Director 

(Photograph by Daniel Perales)