Portraits in American History

“The Founding Fathers”
Samuel Adams, James Madison, Ben Franklin, George Washington,
Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, John Adams

Thursday, December 2, 2010 – Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Karpeles Museum brings its tenth year of service to the Newburgh community to an end with a celebration of many aspects of American history through an art show depicting many of the nation’s most important personages. The distinguished artist Dona McPhillips Couch spent many years researching and creating a spectacular series of large group portraits, measuring two feet high and five feet long, presenting a panorama of American personages.

The ten majestic group portraits cover many aspects of American history, from the beginnings of the country through the twentieth century. The painting devoted to “Founding Fathers” portrays such early heroes as Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin. The Civil War is covered in two paintings, one devoted to the Union side (Abraham Lincoln, flanked by generals Sheridan, Sherman, Grant, and others) and the Confederacy (Jefferson Davis with generals Forrest, Stonewall Jackson, and Robert E. Lee). Great pioneers of the 19th century are depicted, as well as Texan heroes James Bowie, Sam Houston, and Davy Crockett.

“Indian Heroes”
Sitting Bull (Sioux), Captain Jack (Modoc), Two Moon (Cheyenne)
Red Cloud (Sioux), Geronimo (Apache), Quanah Parker (Commanche), Crazy Horse (Sioux)

Two paintings of Native Americans show not only the well-known Geronimo, Sitting Bull, and Crazy Horse but also many other representatives of the Sioux, Cheyenne, Apache, and Comanche nations. Women receive equal attention with portraits of feminists Margaret Sanger, First Lady Eleanor  Roosevelt, and activist educator Mary McLeod Bethune, among others, and African Americans share a painting that includes such important figures as Malcolm X, Ralph Bunche, W.E.B. DuBois, Frederick  Douglass, and Martin Luther King, Jr. All are vividly portrayed in dramatic and imaginative settings illustrative of their and lives and times.

The Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum is located at 94 Broadway, across from City Hall, in the City of Newburgh. The Karpeles Museums are a national chain with nine in the U.S., specializing in the preservation and display of original, historically significant documents and manuscripts. Museum Hours: Thu.-Sat., 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, 12 to 4 p.m. Admission is always free.