With regional museums closed and waiting to reopen, we are continuing to remind readers of their important collections by highlighting visual art works you can visit as soon as social distancing practices change and museum doors open.
This week’s pick is Rex Goreleigh’s 1953 “Twins” at the New Jersey State Museum.
Born in Penllyn, Pennsylvania, in 1902, Goreleigh studied art in New York City and was one of the several black-American artists to study in Europe during the Jazz Age era.
As artist and art historian Margaret Rose Vendryes writes, while Goreleigh was acquainted with modern art and artists, he found his voice in traditional representation painting.
Vendryes reports that in 1947 “Goreleigh was invited to Princeton to run the Princeton Group Arts program, an organization established to unify Princeton’s segregated communities by bringing children of all races together and teaching them how to make art.
“His mission was to oversee this modest program, which under his guidance eventually grew to include a chorus, little theater, and creative writing workshops, as well as classes in painting and sculpture. When the program ended five years later, community members begged him to remain and continue teaching in Princeton.”
Vendryes says “Twins” is “emblematic of Goreleigh’s devotion to children. As a teacher he stressed how ‘good art instruction can fire the child’s mind with an awareness of color and pattern and light and beauty that may enrich his entire life.’”
The artist died in 1986.
For more on Goreleigh, see U.S. 1, April 18, 2018.