In one corner was
In another was
Finally, along the museum's far wall, steadily hanging 58 paintings, stood
The trio were excited that Thursday and Friday night receptions this week will combine with Saturday's opening to bring the new museum to life.
"It feels a little bit like Christmas!" said Smith, looking around the room at the Barber originals. The show is easily the largest the well-known painter of maritime subjects has ever had.
Smith noted that 22 years ago, a much smaller exhibit of Barber paintings--typically featuring the watercraft, people, waterfronts and navigation lanes of the
"We may not quite match that number, but we think this exhibit will bring many, many people to see this art that's such a historical treasure," said Smith.
She said the exhibit, made up of paintings loaned to the museum from private owners, is a godsend to the museum for several reasons.
First, it provides a high-profile, once-in-a-lifetime attraction to lure many visitors to the new facility, which is built in the architectural style of a former hotel not far away at
"Having it in place also gives us months to plan and prepare the exhibits that will go in here to follow this in October and beyond," she said.
Barber said he's thrilled to have his exhibit coinciding with the opening of the museum.
"It's a wonderful opportunity for me to show my paintings to so many people, especially those of
He has had a home and moored boats over the years in the region.
Barber said that looking over the original paintings--most he hasn't seen himself for years--was an interesting experience.
"On the one hand, I'm proud to have done this large body of work," he said. He joked that the other feeling it gave him was "one of feeling old, reminding me just how long I've been doing this."
The artist, who was enjoying a restful moment of fishing when I reached him after the painting-hanging was complete, noted that he's got a real, lasting connection to each painting, as if they were his children.
"Some of those children were difficult to create," he noted, saying there were times he'd try for days or weeks to get started on certain paintings, only to need to scrape off paint and start again.
"But somehow, the connection to those paintings we could call 'troubled children' are the ones that are the strongest, for they took more of an effort to finish," he said.
"We asked 60 people and got positive responses from 58. That's not bad," she said, noting that the oil paintings have been rolling in from
Especially noteworthy paintings on display in the Barber exhibit include those he did to benefit the museum: "
Other exhibits to come--or already existing in some form in the nooks and corners of the new museum building--include a half-scale Chesapeake Bay deadrise fishing boat, displays on historic buildings and the Civil War in
WHAT: Exhibit of nearly 60 paintings of the maritime artist known for capturing the different vessels, places and people who worked and enjoyed the waters of the Chesapeake Bay.
WHEN: Kicks off Saturday from
COST: Admission to the Barber Exhibition and the Museum exhibits is
FOR MORE INFO: Go online to deltavillemuseum.com or call the museum office at 804/776-7200.
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Visit The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, Va.) at www.fredericksburg.com/flshome
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