Fine Arts Lecture Series


The Peales, Wyeths & Tollivers


The Staircase Group (Portrait of Raphaelle & Titian Peale) by Charles Willson Peale (1795)

Is it nature or nurture? Are artists born with their genius for expression in tact like Michelangelo who supposedly played as a toddler with stone-cutters tools in the quarries outside Florence? And like Picasso who boasted that he never drew like a child. Or did their talent develop over years of practice in the workshop of a Renaissance master, or in competition with their peers at the fine arts academy, under the critical eye of an eminent artist.

 During the Renaissance and Baroque periods, the workshops that produced the great decorative projects for palaces and churches were often family enterprises, and youngsters were enlisted by their fathers or uncles to meet a deadline. A handful of artists, who began by finishing a portrait by their father, or painting the clouds of angels on an elaborate altarpiece, went on to become renowned artists in their own right. And often the younger generation outshone the parents who taught them; for example, Hans Holbein the Younger built his brilliant career as a portrait painter to the English court on the foundation of his father’s lessons.

 The spring lecture series will focus on three American families of artists and the role that the bonds of kinship and a family work ethic played in nurturing creativity in succeeding generations. Charles Willson Peale and his sons were instrumental in establishing Philadelphia as the leading art center of the young American Republic. Peale produced portraits of George Washington and other public figures, founded the first art museums in this country, and established the earliest art academy. Among his star pupils were his four sons who continued the family tradition of painting and museum curating well into the 19th century. The second family of artists, the Wyeths, flourished through the 20th century, beginning with the patriarch N.C. Wyeth, who established the family’s pedigree with his illustrations for literary classics such as Treasure Island, Robin Hood, and The Last of the Mohicans. When his son Andrew was 15, N.C. brought him into the studio to begin his academic training—and the rest is history. As one of a thriving group of folk artists working in the Southeast, Mose Tolliver taught himself to paint when he became physically disabled and needed a means of expressing his attachment to life in rural Alabama. His quirky paintings of family and friends, religion and folk tales, and birds and animals inspired his daughter Annie to create her own images. She has developed her own style and says “I enjoy painting and now I know that I’ll never give it up. It’s in my blood.”

Lecture #1: Thu., March 19, 2015 ~ 10 AM
FOUNDING ARTISTS:  The Peales of Philadelphia

Charles Willson Peale named his four sons to succeed as painters: Raphaelle, Rembrandt, Titian, and Rubens. And true to their father’s hopes, each one excelled in some facet of the arts. Raphaelle’s specialty was jewel-like still life arrangements of fruits and flowers, which brought him very little income or respect during his lifetime, but are now considered to be the founding images of the still life tradition in America. The second son Rembrandt was Peale’s favorite pupil and the most diligent artist of the younger generation. Like his father, Rembrandt painted portraits of American heroes like Washington and Jefferson, as well as grandiose historical scenes.

About the Lecturer: Dr. Molly Gwinn is an art historian who has presented the spring lecture series in the past and has offered classes at the Center for Creative Retirement at Sandhills Community College. She earned her doctorate from Rutgers University and has taught art history at Rutgers, School of Continuing & Professional Studies at New York University, and Dallas Museum of Art. She is the daughter of Barbara Sutherland, a well-known Southern Pines artist and long-time resident of Penick Village. Molly’s support for Penick continues in her work on the annual Penick Art Show.

Lecture #2: Thu., April 9, 2015 ~ 10 AM
THE WYETH FAMILY:  An American Vision

drums by BoydFor three generations, the Wyeths have created art that captures the imagination and admiration of a wide audience. Works by N.C. (Newell Converse) Wyeth, his son Andrew Wyeth, and his grandson Jamie Wyeth, from the early 1900s to the present, reveal the breadth of the family’s creative output and illuminate both common themes within the works and the artists’ individual styles. One was an illustrator; one, a realist; one, a contemporary—all three have a unique perspective and style. N.C. worked as an illustrator with our own Southern Pines author, James Boyd. Andrew created a regionalist vision of the rolling farmland around Chadds Ford, PA, but his quiet paintings excited controversy among modernist artists and critics. Jamie is grounded in this family’s artistic tradition and subjects, and bound by the same solitude of his art.

About the Lecturer: Denise Drum Baker is an artist and recently retired as professor of visual arts at Sandhills Community College. She earned her Master’s from Appalachian State University. Her list of awards and honors includes Faculty Exchange from The Newry Institute in Northern Ireland; Fulbright Teacher Exchange Scholarship Nominee; and a Distance Learning Instructor for the NC Museum of Art. She most recently completed work on Post Cards Crossing the Atlantic, an exchange project with Irish colleagues demonstrating the lost art of letter-writing.

Lecture #3: Thu., May 7, 2015 ~ 10 AM
MOSES & ANNIE TOLLIVER:  Expressions of Self-Taught Southern Artists

"My Fishing Family" by Annie Tolliver

“My Fishing Family” by Annie Tolliver

Moses Tolliver began painting as a pastime in the 1970s after an accident left him crippled. By the mid-1980s his paintings of birds, flowers and self-portraits had gained nationwide praise due to a growing interest in African American Southern folk art. Eventually his daughter, Annie, began painting for him while signing his name. She soon established herself as an artist with a similar style to her father’s while painting scenes of family, childhood activities and animals that made her feel happy. Together their art epitomizes the unique genius and innocence of self-taught artists who, from humble beginnings, create and express themselves in ways that resonate with a universal audience.

About the Lecturer: Dr. Carmen McCann teaches art history at Sandhills Community College and lives in Southern Pines with her husband and two sons. Originally from northern Indiana, and by way of many states in between, she came to the area in 2009 when her husband was relocated to Ft. Bragg. She received her Ph.D. at Pennsylvania State University with a major in art history in 2010. Her area of expertise is 19th century European art and in particular, art from the Romantic movement. She had previously taught at several colleges in Richmond, Atlanta, and Piedmont College, a small liberal arts school in northern Georgia prior to working on her doctorate.

COST (per lecture): $11 for ACMC & Weymouth Members / $16 for Nonmembers
(Prices include the new 6.75% NC Sales Tax.)

All Lectures will be presented at Weymouth Center (555 E. Connecticut Ave., Southern Pines).

Space is limited. Please register now with full payment at the Arts Council’s offices (Campbell House, 482 E. Connecticut Ave., Southern Pines) or by calling 910-692-ARTS (2787).

For additional information, call 910-692-ARTS (2787) or visit

Lecture #2 – Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. by Molly GwinnThomas Hart Benton & Grant Wood: Celebrating the Heartland

Lecture #2 – Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. by Molly Gwinn

Thomas Hart Benton & Grant Wood: Celebrating the Heartland