More than 100 original drawings by Civil War era artist-reporters will be on display at Grinnell College’s Faulconer Gallery August 31 through October 14.
Civil War Era Drawings from the Becker Collection, a travelling exhibition from Boston College’s McMullen Museum of Art, includes hundreds of drawings by Joseph Becker and his colleagues, 19th-century artists who worked as artist-reporters for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, observing, drawing and sending back for publication images from the camps and battlefields of the Civil War.
These artist-reporters were the embedded journalists of their day. Joseph Becker was one of these artists, and his collection of historical art had gone unnoticed until first shown in 2009,” said Daniel Strong, associate director of the gallery and curator of exhibitions.
“Engagement with the College curriculum is also one of our objectives, and this show lends itself well to engaging with faculty and students, as well as those interested in early American history,” says Strong. For example, Civil War historian and Grinnell faculty member Sarah Purcell ’92 is teaching a fall semester senior seminar that will require students to interpret pieces from the exhibition, culminating with presentations by the students discussing their conclusions.
Faulconer Gallery will host the following public events related to the Civil War drawings:
- Friday, August 31, 4:15–6 p.m.
- Opening reception, refreshments will be served.
- Saturday, September 15, noon–5 p.m.
- Community Day with a living history camp presentation by the Sons of Union Veterans on the lawn just north of the Faulconer Gallery. Families can also enjoy Civil War era games, hands-on activities, refreshments and tour the exhibition.
- Thursday, September 20, 4:15 p.m.
- “Seeing Corpses: Death and Visual Culture during the U.S. Civil War,” a gallery talk by Associate Professor of History Sarah Purcell whose scholarship focuses on the meanings of death in Civil War. Purcell will discuss how the spectacle of death helped to shape the political and social meanings of the Civil War through photographs, print culture, material culture, ephemera, paintings, and other visual forms.
- Saturday, September 29, 2 p.m.
- Grinnell Orchestra, under the direction of Eric McIntyre, associate professor of music, presents a concert of Civil War-related music, with tenor Michael Oxley singing popular songs from the era.
- Tuesday, October 2, 4:15 p.m.
- Gallery talk by curator Judith Bookbinder of the McMullen Museum. Bookbinder will talk about the exhibition and the Becker Collection at Boston College.
- Mondays and Thursdays, September 6 – October 11, 12:15 p.m.
- Yoga in the gallery with Monica St. Angelo, for beginners and experienced practitioners. Mats provided. Co-sponsored by Faulconer Gallery and Live Well Grinnell.
Civil War Era Drawings from the Becker Collection is open August 31 through October 14 during regular gallery hours: Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.; open Thursday and Friday until 8 p.m.; closed Monday.