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Exhibition Highlights Paintings and Philanthropy

Works by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Henry Ossawa Tanner and Guy Wiggins will be featured in The Artistic Legacy of the Sarah Wheeler Charitable Trust exhibition, which runs at the Huntington Museum of Art from Aug. 7 through Oct. 31, 2021. 

“I am also proud to highlight paintings by Anne Rector and Edith Lake Wilkinson – both trailblazing artists from West Virginia,” said John Farley, HMA Senior Curator/Exhibition Designer.  

Other artists featured in this new exhibit will include Thomas Hart Benton, Thomas Doughty and John Frederick Peto. All works in the exhibition have been purchased with funds from the Wheeler bequest, which provides for art purchases of paintings that were created in the year 1940 or earlier. The works are dedicated in memory of Sarah Slack Wheeler and her husband, Steve Wheeler. 

“It’s also interesting that this exhibition will be presented in the Huntington Museum of Art’s Switzer Gallery, which is named in honor of former Huntington Mayor Rufus Switzer, whose own trust has helped fund the operation of the Museum since it was founded,” said HMA Executive Director Geoffrey K. Fleming. 

Sarah Wheeler was born in Huntington in 1917, the daughter of Elizabeth and Frank Slack. She led an adventurous life, especially after her marriage to Steve Wheeler, whose work as a mining engineer took the couple on travels around the world. They lived overseas for lengthy periods of time, with extended residential stays in Paris, Venice, Monaco and Beirut. Her travels gave her access to a wide range of cultural experiences, including visits to some of the world’s most important museums.   

Both Steve and Sarah were practicing artists as well, so the arts were deeply ingrained in their lives. The couple lived out their retirement years in Huntington, where members of Sarah’s extended family still resided. Following Steve’s passing, Sarah made plans to establish a trust to support three institutions that she felt were vital to the well-being of Huntington: Marshall University, the Cabell County Public Library, and the Huntington Museum of Art.  

This exhibit is presented with support from The Katherine & Herman Pugh Exhibitions Endowment. 

This exhibit is presented with support from The Isabelle Gwynn and Robert Daine Exhibition Endowment. 

This program is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts. 

For more information on exhibitions at the Huntington Museum of Art, visit hmoa.org. To learn more about philanthropic opportunities with the Huntington Museum of Art, contact Development Director Jennifer Wheeler at (304) 529-2701. HMA is fully accessible. 

West Virginia residents may obtain a summary of the registration and financial documents from the Secretary of State, State Capitol, Charleston, WV 25305. Registration does not imply endorsement.