There is an anecdote about Alfred Hutty that has been repeated so often it has become part of his artistic legacy.
The story goes that when he first visited Charleston around 1920, he excitedly wired a message to his wife, back in Woodstock, N.Y., “Come quickly; have found heaven.”
Historically accurate or not, the sentiment is one that still rings true for the thousands of visitors drawn to the South Carolina coastal city’s picturesque charm.
It matters little whether Hutty wired those exact words. What is important is that he loved the city enough to return each winter, joining resident artists Alice Ravenel Huger Smith, Elizabeth O’Neill Verner, Anna Heyward Taylor and others in the city’s cultural and artistic revival now known as the Charleston Renaissance.
While Hutty’s images of Charleston are familiar to many of us, an exhibit on view at the Morris Museum of Art promises a broader view of the artist’s contributions to American art.
“The Art of Alfred Hutty: Woodstock to Charleston,” which opens Thursday, Aug. 9, includes some 60 oil and watercolor paintings, pastel drawings, etchings, drypoints and lithographs, and presents an overview of the master painter and printmaker’s career.
The exhibition was organized by the Gibbes Museum in Charleston. Sara Arnold, the curator of collections at the Gibbes, will present a lecture at 6 p.m. on opening night in the Morris Museum auditorium, and a reception will follow her talk. The event is free to museum members, $5 for others.
Kevin Grogan, the director of the Morris Museum, calls Hutty one of the greatest figures in the art of the South. “He played important roles in two very different art centers – the artists’ colony at Woodstock, N.Y., and in Charleston, S.C., and he brought the experience of both to his evocative landscapes and sympathetic studies of the human condition.”
Born in 1877, Hutty was among the first artists to settle in the Art Students League colony at Woodstock in the early 1900s. He was well-established as the town’s leading painter by the time he became enamored of Charleston, where he was inspired to try his hand at printmaking. His prints and etchings depicting the city’s architectural treasures, black population and surrounding Low Country landscapes helped bring national attention to Charleston, its history and its culture.
The exhibit is accompanied by a full-color catalogue documenting more than 250 of Hutty’s works and examining the artist’s impact on American art in the South and beyond.
The Life and Art of Alfred Hutty is available in the museum store. The museum has planned several additional related events, including a lunchtime lecture by Harlan Greene, one of the authors represented in the book, at noon on Aug. 17. For more information, visit www.themorris.org.
CHARLESTON IS certainly not the only Southern city to attract artists from elsewhere. Augusta has artists of note as well. Take, for example, Philip Morsberger and Tom Nakashima. Both came to our city as Morris Eminent Scholars in Art at Augusta State University. Both, having completed their terms in that endowed post, elected to settle here, and they have enriched our cultural community by doing so.
The two will be showing some of their recent works in an exhibit opening Aug. 16 in the Mary S. Byrd Gallery at ASU. There will be a talk at 3:30 p.m. in University Hall Room 107, followed by a reception from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the gallery in Washington Hall. Both events are open to the public free of charge.
DEADLINES: For those who work best under pressure, it’s time to get to work.
• Photographers have until Aug. 15 to enter this year’s Augusta Photo Festival competition. The festival will be Oct. 27-Nov. 4 and will include exhibits at several venues, workshops and other events. Amateur photographers are invited to submit up to three entries in any or all of six categories to compete for cash awards. Details are available at augustaphotofestival.org.
• Artists are invited to enter The Augusta Chronicle’s Applaud the Artist cover contest by submitting original work celebrating any of the arts in the Augusta community.
The winning entry will be the cover of the Applause section Sept. 6, and finalists’ entries will be displayed at the Arts in the Heart of Augusta festival Sept. 14-16. The entry deadline is Aug. 16 at 5 p.m. For details, visit www.augustachronicle.com/do or call Mary Frances Hendrix, Applause editor, at (706) 823-3347.