Folk paintings join National Gallery exhibits

Edward Hicks, Thomas Chambers, Joshua Johnson, and Erastus Salisbury Field are among the artists of the American folk-art tradition whose paintings go on extended view Feb. 3 in the National Gallery of Art's new West Building galleries.

Drawn from the gallery's Garbisch collections, one of the country's foremost holdings of naive art, the installation includes more than 60 paintings chosen from over 300 given to the National Gallery by Edgar William and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch over the past 25 years. The display will be in part of the ground floor of the gallery's West Building, including over 40,000 square feet of remodeled exhibition space going on view the same day.

Knowledgeable enthusiasts of naive art, the Garbisches began acquiring 18th- and 19th-century paintings almost 40 years ago. They amassed over 2,000 objects in their lifetimes, and eventually donated or bequeathed their entire collection to museums throughout the country.

Among the paintings on view are four canvases by Edward Hicks, including ''Peaceable Kingdom'' and ''Penn's Treaty with the Indians''; two portraits by Joshua Johnson; and several anonymous works that have become attached to the folk tradition.

Edward Hicks, a Quaker minister who painted religious, historical, and landscape scenes, is perhaps best known for his favorite theme, the peaceable kingdom, inspired by the biblical passage, ''. . .the lion shall eat straw like the ox.''

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