COLLECTING STARKWEATHER: THEN & NOW

October 31, 2015 through August 14, 2016 in the Whitener Gallery

Paul Whitener, the founder and first director of the Hickory Museum of Art, collected nine William Edward Bloomfield Starkweather paintings during his tenure, most of them gifts from the artist. The Museum in 2015 collected eight more, gifts from collector and Starkweather expert Peter Falotico. The exhibition features a selection of new and old acquisitions, as well as correspondence from Starkweather to Paul Whitener.

"William Starkweather was born in Belfast, Ireland as William Bloomfield. His father, Edward, passed away and William's mother brought him to America and settled into Connecticut. For many years William thought he was born in Scotland, but found paperwork in an old Bible which challenged his belief. Soon after arriving in America his mom passed away, and the young William was fortunate enough to be adopted by the Starkweather family of Winchester, Connecticut. After attending Hillhouse High School in New Haven, Connecticut, William moved to New York City to study painting at the Art Students League. It is unclear if Starkweather met his painting teacher John Henry Twactman in Connecticut before he started at the Art Students League or while at the league.

While he was learning to paint, Starkweather managed to save enough money to go to France to study at the Academie Colorassi. While studying at the academy he attended the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900 and was overwhelmed by the Best in Show painting by Joaquin Sorolla, The Sad Inheritance. Sorolla was Spain's most famous Impressionist. The viewing of this painting challenged Starkweather to go back to America and save money to attempt to study with Sorolla in Spain."

More about Starkweather here (HMA blog post)

-- Excerpt from Hidden Treasures of William Starkweather by Peter Falotico