Gilbert Stuart is widely considered to be one of America’s foremost portraitists. The unfinished portrait of George Washington was begun in 1796 and never finished; Stuart retained the portrait and used it to paint 75 copies which he sold for $100 each.
Welcome Center and Bell Art Gallery
Here the past becomes immediate through History, Art, & Nature
Our recently expanded, fully handicapped accessible Welcome Center houses our reception desk, gift shop, and the state of the art Bell Art Gallery.
The Bell Art Gallery provides a perfect setting for the presentation of a changing collection of fine art from both locally and historically renowned artists.
View original works by premier portraitist Gilbert Stuart, his daughter Jane Stuart, and changing themed exhibits of original artwork.
Be engaged and inspired by these outstanding artistic offerings.
Please check our exhibition schedule below.
Gallery Hours: 10:00 am—4:00 pm
Admission charged. Members free.
June –September 4, 2017
PATHWAYS: 18th & 19th Century Inland and Coastal Views of Southern RI
A Rhode Island Masters Exhibition
Southern Rhode Island is graced with both rural beauty and dramatic oceanfront, subjects that multitudes of artists have painted over the years. Included in “Pathways” are watercolors and oils depicting the landscape and seascape of what is known locally as “South County,” as well as areas of Jamestown and Little Compton, Rhode Island. Matunuck (part of South Kingstown), Rhode Island has been recognized recently as an important summer retreat, favored by the renowned Hale family of Boston, William Trost Richards and his family, and Frank Convers Mathewson and his colleagues from the Providence Art Club. The works in this exhibition span 1865 to 1939 and record a countryside and waterfront that was forever changed by the Hurricane of 1938. Both inland ponds and coastal areas were drastically altered; painter Anna Richards Brewster never returned after 1938 and others died shortly thereafter. While documenting a lost landscape, the art of Southern Rhode Island also offered a needed income to working artists. Some artists like Brewster made oil sketches of the area for their own enjoyment, but others painted with an eye to exhibiting and selling their picturesque views. Fortunately the many collectors and lenders to this exhibition have recognized the enduring value of this work and we thank them for their willingness to share.
April 23– May 29, 2017
THE ART OF HERBERT CROSS: A Gilbert Stuart Museum Founding Father
Jane spent much of her career copying and selling her father’s portraits of George Washington. Of the one hundred thirty portraits by Jane Stuart listed in the Smithsonian’s database, sixty-nine are of copies of Gilbert Stuart’s portraits of George Washington. Two of Jane’s portraits of George Washington as well as a portrait of Martha Washington are included in this exhibition.
We thank several anonymous sponsors as well as the sponsoring organizations: Boston Athenaeum, Bristol Historical and Preservation Society, New Britain Museum of American Art. Newport Art Museum. Newport Historical Society, Portsmouth Free Public Library, The Redwood Library and Athenaeum, The Rhode Island Historical Society, and works from private collections
Exhibition Curator: Margaret O’Connor
Curatorial Consultant: Linda Eppich
Exhibition Installation: John Kenyon
August 5 – September 12, 2016
Visitors will have the rare opportunity to see a number of works of internationally known sculptor and painter Anne Mimi Sammis of Narragansett RI.
Sculpting Peace will feature important pieces from throughout Ms. Sammis’ career as an artist and peace worker. Locally, Ms. Sammis is well known for her twenty- one-foot tall sculpture Dance of Peace on Narragansett Town Beach. Internationally, the artist is well known for her two solo shows at the United Nations and for the sculpture He Has the Whole World in His Hands that was commissioned for the celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee in 2002 and is on permanent display at Lambeth Palace in London, England.
Sculpting Peace and Jane: Heir to the Stuart Genius feature women Rhode Island Masters and will run concurrently in our gallery.
April 24 – June 13, 2016
ARE WE UP TO SNUFF?
Join us to celebrate the beginning of our 2016 season and the opening of our exhibit “Are We Up To Snuff?” which features an exhibit of rare and unusual snuff boxes as well as views of the snuff mill through the ages and story boards about the history of tobacco and snuff.
September 6 – October 12, 2015
WOODLANDS AND FLOWERS
- An Exhibition of Woodblock Prints by Ilse Buchert Nesbitt
- An Exhibition of Sculpture by Robert Thorn
September 6 – October 12, 2015
GILBERT STUART and JANE STUART
- Original works by the artist Gilbert Stuart and his daughter, Jane Stuart
June 6 – August 31, 2015
RHODE ISLAND MASTERS
The exhibition includes original works of art by 18th and 19th century Rhode Island artists including works by Gilbert Stuart and his daughter Jane Stuart. Additionally, works by renowned early RI artists Edmund Darch Lewis, Edward Mitchell Bannister, George William Whitaker, William Trost Richards, as well as others, are included in the exhibition. Many of the pieces in the show are on loan from private collections, so we are providing the public with a rare glimpse at the extraordinary treasures.