RAM Talks Art: Adopt a Painting program features piece by Belle Emerson Keith

Belle Emerson Keith (American 1865-1950), Chrysanthemums, circa 1890, oil on canvas. (Canvas has been folded back to show tear.) Collection of Rockford Art Museum, Gift of Peter and Carole Sullivan Giacomazzo and family, in memory of William and Agnes Sullivan.

By Patty Rhea

Curator, Rockford Art Museum

This is not just a ripped painting.… This is part of Rockford history!

Belle Emerson Keith was an accomplished artist and Rockford native. She was deeply passionate about her community and the development of fine art, and was a strong force in the creation of Rockford Art Museum (RAM).

In 1916, Belle founded Keith Country Day School. What began as a classroom in her home for her daughter and a handful of friends quickly evolved into a beacon of educational excellence for the northern Illinois region.

Belle painted Chrysanthemums in the 1890s. It was owned by her mother for many years and was proudly displayed over the family fireplace mantle. In 1904, this oil painting was exhibited at the World’s Fair in St. Louis.

This historic piece was donated to RAM in 2008 with the hope that it would be restored to its original condition. Considered one of the most vibrant still-life paintings that Belle created, this historic work with gilded frame can be fully restored with your support.

Please help preserve this painting. Not only will you be enhancing the value and importance of Chrysanthemums, you will also help safeguard the work for future generations to enjoy.

To learn more about RAM restorations, visit Unveiled: Restorations Revealed, on view in the museum’s Anderson Gallery through June 6.

RAM Permanent Collection

From Another Perspective: The Francis and June Spiezer Collection, through Feb. 7

Outsider (In)Sights, through Feb. 14

Photographic Manipulations, through April 4

Unveiled: Restorations Revealed, through June 6

Ed Paschke: Neon Eccentricities, through July 11

From the Jan. 20-26, 2010 issue

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