Friday, August 7, 2009

Storming the Ramparts: Objects of Evidence

Gilbert Gaul's Storming the Ramparts, circa 1893, oil on canvas
Collection of William Dunlap
William Dunlap's artist installation, Storming the Ramparts: Objects of Evidence, is an exhibition unique in the Ogden's history. The historical content and Victorian influenced style is a break from our decidedly contemporary approach to exhibitions. Most importantly, though, it represents a truly collaborative effort with our closest neighbor, Confederate Memorial Hall.

Gilbert Gaul's Taking the Ramparts, vintage photogravure
Collection of William Dunlap
The exhibition is built around the Gilbert Gaul Painting, Storming the Ramparts, probably painted in the early part of the last decade of the 19th century. On either side of this singular epic battle scene are examples of photogravures, Taking the Ramparts, that first appeared on the market shortly after the painting was finished. The gallery is then completed with objects from the permanent collection of Confederate Memorial Hall, including weapons, photographs, clothing, medical kits and other detritus of war from that defining moment in American history.

Photo by David Houston

Photo by David Houston
Gilbert Gaul (1855-1919) is best known for his realistic, if not romantic, depictions of Military life, particularly scenes from the Civil War, but also extending from the European conquest of the American West through World War I. Born in New Jersey, Gaul entered the National Academy of Design in New York City at seventeen, and went on to become one of the nation's leading illustrators, publishing regularly in Harper's Weekly and Century Magazine. He received awards from the American Art Association, the 1889 Paris Exhibition and the 1893 World's Exposition in Chicago. At the turn of the century, Gaul settled in Tennessee. He opened a studio in Nashville, and began the series, With Confederate Colors, in 1907.

Gilbert Gaul in his studio.
Storming the Ramparts: Objects of Evidence opened on White Linen Night, accompanied by essays from Winston Groom and Dunlap, and a ceremonial burying of the proverbial hatchet on the grounds of Confederate Memorial Hall.

Winston Groom and William Dunlap bury the hatchet.
Photo by Cheryl Gerber.
Read Doug MacCash's review here: Times Picayune.

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