Early Expressions: Art in Tennessee before 1900
From the first inhabitants in what would become Tennessee, thousands of years ago, to people living here today, decorative and utilitarian art have been an important outlet for expressing who we are and how we live. Hand-made objects are a constant in the history of design in Tennessee, and the Museum has gathered in this exhibition the finest collection of artistic expressions from our state. The exhibition begins with Southeastern Indian ancestral figures, celts, pipes, ceramics, and basketry, which continues on to join textiles, ceramics, furniture, silver, jewelry, weapons, paintings, sculpture, prints, toys, photography, and musical instruments of later centuries. Other highlights include:
- the work of Ralph E. W. Earl, the first professional artist who settled in Tennessee in 1817 when he came to do a portrait of Andrew Jackson,
- the paintings of James Cameron, who arrived in Knoxville and then Chattanooga shortly before the Civil War, and was one of the first artists to fall in love with renowned variety of Tennessee’s beautiful landscapes
- the canvases of John Stokes, an example of the artists who captured images of Tennessee as he was passing through our land.