Category Archives: Paintings Collection

Collection of Busts of Virginia-Born Presidents (State Art Collection)

State Art Collection 1931.3-7, 9-10
1931
7 busts. Marble.
Average: 35” high x 24” wide x 17” deep

Today’s visitors to the rotunda at the Virginia State Capitol are unlikely to consider how the seven marble busts depicting Virginia-born presidents came to sit in niches along the walls. The busts seem to be a natural addition to the space, complementing the design and decorations around them. Unlike most works in the State Art Collection, however, the busts are the result of a single act of legislation and the efforts of one governor, John Garland Pollard, who made their acquisition an objective for his new administration.

The rotunda of the Virginia State Capitol has housed two important pieces of statuary since 1796—the full-length marble statue of George Washington and the marble bust of the Marquis de Lafayette, both by French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741–1828). Prior to 1930 there was no clear policy or plan to fill the eight architectural niches. The State Art Commission attempted to create some guidelines in 1917 when proposals to add commemorative bronze plaques to the rotunda came before the General Assembly. The commission stipulated that only busts should go in the niches, and that only marble should be used, as bronze would “detract from the beauty of the rotunda interior.”

In 1926 the General Assembly asked the governor to appoint a committee to create a list of names of “Virginia’s most … more

Collection of Commonwealth of Virginia Governors’ Portraits (State Art Collection)

2nd quarter of the 19th century–2014
82 paintings. Oil on canvas, oil on wood, pastel on paper.
From 21″ H x 18″ W framed to 69″ H x 51″ W framed.

Patrick Henry, by George B. Matthews, 1883Governors were initially elected by the General Assembly, with gubernatorial vacancies being filled by members of the Council of State. Five of these acting governors have portraits in the collection: William Fleming, Wyndham Robertson, John Mercer Patton, John Rutherfoord, and John Munford Gregory. The Constitution of 1851 established the popular election of governors and also set a four-year term limit. While governors cannot serve consecutively, they can be re-elected, and a portrait is commissioned at the end of each term. Currently, Gov. Mills E. Godwin Jr. (1966–1970, 1974–1978) is represented by two portraits in the Governors’ Gallery. The collection lacks portraits of governors Beverley Randolph (1788–1797), Robert Brooke (1794–1796), and James Wood (1796–1799), and acting governors Hardin Burnley (1799), John Pendleton (1799), and Peyton Randolph (1811–1812).

The first set of governors’ portraits came into the state collection in 1873, when the Library of Virginia (then the Virginia State Library) acquired portraits of James Barbour, Robert Brooke [1], John Floyd, John Buchanan Floyd, William Branch Giles, Joseph Johnson, John Rutherfoord, George William Smith, William Smith, John Tyler Sr., and John Tyler Jr. Over the next few decades, portraits came to the Library as gifts from governors and their family members or were purchased by the … more

Collection of Pierre Daura Paintings and Drawings

D1:004
c. 1920–1974

120 works of art, including 57 watercolors; 24 oil paintings; and pieces in tempera, gouache, pastel, ink, pencil, charcoal, wood, and mixed media, ranging in size from 7 x 10 inches to 32 x 26 inches


D1:004  Collection of Pierre Daura Paintings and Drawings

 Pierre Daura (1896–1976), born Pere Francesc Joan Daura i García, was a noted Catalan-American artist. Following early training at the School of Fine Arts (La Llotja) in Barcelona, Daura moved to Paris in 1914 to complete his artistic education. After military service in Minorca during World War I, he returned to Paris in 1920 and became part of its vibrant postwar modern art scene. Daura married the American artist Louise Heron Blair in 1928, and—following the outbreak of World War II—he spent the second half of his life in her home state of Virginia. Daura produced many depictions of the landscape and people of Rockbridge County, where the family settled, and worked prolifically in a variety of media and styles. During the 1940s and 1950s, he also taught at Lynchburg College and Randolph-Macon Woman’s College.

The Library of Virginia’s collection of Daura’s work represents both the longevity and breadth of his artistic career, with its greatest strength the images of people and places near his Virginia home. These include self-portraits done over three decades as well as portraits of his wife, their daughter Martha Daura, other family members, and neighbors. Local scenes range from expressive paintings … more