‘The paintings belong in the company of stuffed and tufted ottomans and Turkish carpets, of ormolu hardware and brass lamps, of fringed burgundy velvet and luminous damask, and rosewood pianofortes or elaborately fretted harmoniums on which accomplished daughters or young wives fingered hymns or songs of sweet melancholy concerning lost or distant loves,” says a press statement for “Fantastic Reality,” an exhibit featuring classic “Old World” oil paintings by Missouri artist M. Charles Rhinehart. The show opens with a reception on Saturday, January 13, at Howard Gallery of Fine Art in New Hope. The event coincides with Second Saturdays in New Hope and Lambertville.

In the early 1980s Rhinehart and his wife, Lavetta, also a painter, put their belongings into storage to travel, sketch, and paint the West, including the Rocky Mountains and the San Juan Mountains.

Following this period they returned to south-central Missouri and purchased the first of five commercial buildings that became a compound of architectural reconstructions. The couple have gone on frequent river painting trips that include the Ohio, Mississippi, Missouri, Buffalo, Arkansas, Green, Snake, and Colorado rivers. Other sketching travels include trips to Yosemite National Park, the great Sand Dunes, Texas’s Big Bend Nationa Park, the Great Lakes area, and Colorado’s Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

“Fantastic Reality,” paintings by M. Charles Rhinehart, opening reception, Saturday, January 13, 5 to 9 p.m., Howard Gallery of Art, 77 West Bridge Street, New Hope. Event coincides with Second Saturdays of New Hope and Lambertville. 215-862-5272 or www.howard-gallery.com. On view through Thursday, February 8. Gallery hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

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