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inting appears in book by David McCullough; poster appears in Allentown Art Museum exhibit

EASTON, Pa.(, October 18, 2007 — Starting this month, two works from Lafayette’s permanent art collection are receiving new exposure. A 19th century painting has been included in a book by historian David McCullough and a poster by Alphonse Mucha is part of an exhibit of his works at the Rodale Gallery at the Allentown Art Museum.

The 19th century history painting, Pulling Down the Statue of George III at Bowling Green, 1776, a 1857 work by William Walcutt, is included in 1776: The Illustrated Edition by David McCullough. The book was published in the beginning of October by Simon & Schuster. McCullough also inaugurated Lafayette’s Lives of Liberty lecture series Sept. 5 and officially kicked off the College’s celebration of the 250th anniversary of the Marquis de Lafayette’s birth.

1776 is McCullough’s account of the pivotal year in the United States’ history. Originally published in May 2005, McCullough’s book describes the defeats and triumphs of George Washington and his army during the revolution.

1776: The Illustrated Edition makes the efforts of the Continental Army even more personal, as an excerpted version of the original book is paired with letters, maps, and artwork, including Walcutt’s work and other paintings and sketches. Walcutt’s work depicts colonists pulling down the statue of King George III, located in lower Manhattan, after finding out that the Declaration of Independence was passed by the Second Continental Congress.

Michiko Okaya, director of the Williams Center gallery, explains, “Walcutt’s painting is an important image because it portrays a moment of rebellion.”

Okaya is thanked on behalf of the Lafayette art collection early in the book’s acknowledgments.

History paintings, such as Walcutt’s, depict events of particular significance to the artist’s society. These paintings are intended to embody some interpretation of life or convey a moral or intellectual message.

Painters often created a mythologized vision of their subjects to inspire patriotism and nostalgia in their contemporary viewers, rather than accurate visual records. Lafayette’s art collection, including the Kirby Collection of Historical Paintings, contains a number of fine examples of the genre.

Walcutt’s work will appear in the History Paintings from the Lafayette College Art Collection exhibit from Nov. 5-Dec. 16 in the Williams Center gallery.

Since Oct. 7, a poster of Sarah Bernhardt from the College’s art collection has been on display in an exhibit at the Allentown Art Museum’s Rodale Gallery entitled Alphonse Mucha: Art Nouveau Extraordinaire. The piece is La Dame aux Camelias/Sarah Bernhardt by Alphonse Mucha.

Moravian-born Mucha made his artistic pilgrimage to Paris in 1887 where he invented a lively new popular style of art that would seduce the famous actress Sarah Bernhardt, charm Europe and America, and offer a modern artistic identity for the new nation of Czechoslovakia.

Mucha’s work merged female and floral forms and his commercial designs ultimately sold everything from books, magazines, and theatre productions to champagne, chocolate, and postage stamps.

“I’m always pleased to be able to collaborate on exhibitions with my colleagues in the Lehigh Valley. The Allentown Art Museum has been very generous with loans to exhibitions at the Williams Center Art Gallery, and I was happy to be able to reciprocate when Allentown’s curators contacted me,” says Okaya.

The exhibit will be on display through Jan.6, 2008 to accompany Tiffany by Design, an exhibition of lamps and related materials made by Tiffany Studios between 1900 and 1918.

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