Part of a museum triumvirate celebrating the long career of a notable Baltimore-born artist/sculptor, Evergreen House this week opens Joseph Sheppard: The Early Years. The exhibit, which opens at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 14, will continue through Jan. 23, 2003.
The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore and the University of Maryland, University College, are the other partners in Joseph Sheppard: 50 Years in Art, a traveling exhibit that opened in September 2001 in Pietransanta, Italy, where Sheppard resides, and will be displayed simultaneously at the three venues. During this time, the artist will be conducting tutorial sessions for art students, hosting presentations and taking part in book signings.
Joseph Sheppard: The Early Years includes more than 40 paintings completed by Sheppard during the early 1950s, the first decade after his graduation from the Maryland Institute, College of Art.
Evergreen House is a fitting site for the exhibit because of the friendship between its former owner, Alice Warder Garrett, and Jacques Maroger, a French painter who was Sheppard's instructor from 1950 to 1952 at the Maryland Institute.
Garrett, a patron of the arts, met Maroger in Paris, encouraged him to move to the United States in 1939 and introduced him to the president of the Maryland Institute, who hired him to teach there. After Garrett's death and in keeping with her wishes, Maroger moved into the painting studio on the Evergreen estate.
Sheppard's first efforts at the Maryland Institute were abstract paintings. But his style was soon influenced by Maroger, who championed the techniques of the old masters. Sheppard used those skills to reflect Baltimore's urban life, capturing images from the ghetto and in the bars and strip clubs along the Block. The works to be shown at Evergreen include street scenes, barrooms, fighters and strippers.
Sheppard's works are in many public and private collections in the United States and abroad, including those of the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. He has been commissioned to paint portraits of George and Barbara Bush, William Donald Schaefer and Barbara Mikulski, among others. He also was commissioned to create Baltimore's Holocaust memorial sculpture.
Admission to the show is free on opening night and $3 thereafter.
On Wednesday, Dec. 4, the artist will present "The Early Years: Recollections by Joseph Sheppard," a lecture and slide presentation in Evergreen's Bakst Theater. The gallery will open at 5 p.m., and the talk will begin at 6 p.m. The event is free to the public.
The Walters Art Museum will display Sheppard's paintings, drawings and sculptures related to boxing. The exhibit at the University of Maryland's University College will cover Sheppard's entire career. For more information, call 410-516-0341 or go to www.jhu.edu/historichouses.