STURBRIDGE, Mass. (March 20, 2014) – Author and historic decorative painter Linda Lefko will discuss the history of New England wall murals, and in particular, mural artist Rufus Porter, during “Painted Walls of New England” at Old Sturbridge Village on Saturday, April 26 as part of the Village’s OSV Overseers’ Distinguished Speaker Series. Lefko will also demonstrate wall mural art techniques during the event. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. with lunch and the presentation beginning at 12:00 p.m. Pre-registration is required and tickets for the event are $45 per person and $40 for OSV Members. Additional event details and online registration are available at www.osv.org. The event is being sponsored by The Historical Society of Early American Decoration (HSEAD).
Lefko co-authored the book “Folk Art Murals of the Rufus Porter School: New England Landscapes 1825-1845” along with Jane Radcliffe, which was published in May of 2011. The book focuses on the Rufus Porter Landscape Mural School and this unique American folk art field of the 1820s through the 1840s.
Lefko also helped to repair the Rufus Porter murals in Old Sturbridge Village’s Oliver Wight House, now the Old Sturbridge Inn, which dates to 1789 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The murals in the Oliver Wight House are believed to be the western-most examples of Porter’s murals. A tour of the Oliver Wight House and another privately-owned Sturbridge home with original grisaille murals attributed to Rufus Porter will be offered after the presentation.
Rufus Porter was an accomplished inventor, author, and artist known for his portraiture and wall murals. He was also the founder of Scientific American, amongst his many other accomplishments. He was born in West Boxford, Massachusetts and his original wall murals are predominantly found in Massachusetts. His mural style follows the "design recipe" he puts forth in his Curious Arts publication and in Scientific American. Chiaro-oscuro, or light and shade painting, on walls is described as an “elegant branch of painting that can be accomplished with great facility” in Porter’s April 9, 1846 final lesson of “Landscape Painting on Walls” in Scientific American. It is this monochromatic mural painting, which Porter developed, that sets him apart as an artist from the other mural painters of this period.
Old Sturbridge Village is one of the largest living history museums in the nation, celebrating life in early New England from 1790 to 1840. Located just off the Massachusetts Turnpike and Routes I-84 and 20 in Sturbridge, Mass., OSV is open year-round, but days and hours vary seasonally. The Village offers lodging at the Old Sturbridge Inn and Reeder Family Lodges and several dining options on-site. For more details, visit www.osv.org or call 800-SEE-1830.
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