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The Story of Virginia

Farm to Easel: Queena Stovall’s Evolution as an Artist by Ellen Schall Agnew

Presenter: 
Ellen Schall Agnew
Duration: 
(01:06:18)

On June 14, 2018, Ellen Schall Agnew delivered a Banner Lecture, “Farm to Easel: Queena Stovall’s Evolution as an Artist.”

Self-taught Virginia artist Emma Serena “Queena” Stovall started painting and was “discovered” in 1949 at the age of sixty-two. Over the next two decades she recorded on canvas in meticulous detail the rural life, labors, activities, and people surrounding her home near the Blue Ridge mountains in Elon, Virginia. Stovall’s discovery came ten years after that of famed folk artist Anna Mary Robertson (“Grandma”) Moses in 1939, and at the cusp of dramatic changes in the art world with non-objective art gaining notoriety and popularity in such major art centers as New York. Sandwiched between Moses’ bucolic New England scenes and the world’s changing social, political, and economic order following the World War II, Stovall’s evolution as an artist proves a fascinating study. Ellen Schall Agnew will consider Stovall’s place within this spectrum of twentieth-century art through the personal relationships she established and fostered within the art world with professional artists, art dealers, and scholars. Insights into how Stovall was viewed as an artist and how Stovall saw herself as an artist will be examined through personal correspondence and print media during the years she painted.

Ellen Schall Agnew, an independent curator, was previously curator, director, and associate director at the Maier Museum of Art at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College (now Randolph College) in Lynchburg, Virginia, from 1984 to 2007. Before that she worked at the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, Virginia. She is the author/coauthor of American Art: American Vision, Paintings from a Century of Collecting; Georgia Morgan, Paintings from Private Collections; and Inside Looking Out: The Art of Queena Stovall.

This lecture coincides with the exhibition "Inside Looking Out: The Art of Queena Stovall," on display from May 12 through October 14, 2018.