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Cooperstown Coup: My WSJ Piece on the Fenimore Museum&#146s “William Matthew Prior”

Paul D’Ambrosio, president and CEO of the Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, NY, in front of William Matthew Prior’s self-portrait as a 19-year-old, at the entrance to the artist’s retrospective

[More on the “Prior” show, here.]

William Matthew Prior, a prolific 19th-century New England folk artist, is hard to pin down. He painted portraits in three distinct styles and sold them at three different price points, to address the needs of his middle- and working-class clientele.

Part of the fun of perusing the Fenimore Art Museum’s Artist & Visionary: William Matthew Prior Revealed is deciding which of the three Priors
is the “real” one, best representing his talents.

My review of the Cooperstown, NY, museum’s absorbing show, Three Prior Engagements, is to be published on tomorrow’s (Wednesday’s) “Leisure & Arts” page of the Wall Street Journal. It’s online now (at the above link), although images of the portraits are not yet posted, at this writing. I’ll have more to say about my summer sojourn in Cooperstown—COMING SOON.

Putting the “more” in the Fenimore is its president and CEO, Paul D’Ambrosio, a consummate museum manager and folk-art specialist who clearly was in his element while walking me through this intriguing exhibition.

Don’t just take my word for it. Come join me now on a tour with Paul of a few of the show’s highlights:

an ArtsJournal blog