Florence County Museum is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibition in its Special Exhibits Gallery, From New York to Nebo; the Artistic Journey of Eugene Thomason. The exhibit opened January 10, and will remain on display until May 28.
The exhibit is composed of 15 paintings created between 1928 and 1968, demonstrating key periods in the artist’s development. All works in the exhibit are on loan from The Johnson Collection, Spartanburg, South Carolina, who own the largest single collection of Thomason’s work.
Eugene Thomason (1895 – 1972) was a native of South Carolina. In 1921, he fell under the fortunate patronage of one of the nation’s most powerful men, North Carolina tycoon, James B. Duke. With Duke’s encouragement and support, Thomason entered the renowned Art Students League in New York, where he met some of the leading members of the Ashcan School of American modern realist painters.
Included in the exhibit is one oil portrait by Thomason’s mentor, the famous Ashcan artist, George Benjamin Luks, whose influential friendship with Florence artist William Henry Johnson has been cited by numerous art historians as a critical factor in Johnson’s early success.
Painting at the same time as such well known Regionalists as Thomas Hart Benton and Grant Wood, Eugene Thomason embraced his own region, becoming the visual spokesman for that place and its people. He functioned outside of the art world mainstream, working and exhibiting—with rare exception—only in the Carolinas, and without consistent gallery representation that might have promoted his career and provided financial stability. As a result, Thomason and his art have been regrettably overlooked.
The exhibition is accompanied by a full color, hardcover catalog published in conjunction with the traveling retrospective organized by The Johnson Collection.
The Florence County Museum is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm, and Sunday, from 2 to 5 pm. Admission is free.