The Reynolda House Museum of American Art displays a premiere collection of American art ranging from the colonial period to the present. Built in 1917 by Katharine Smith Reynolds and her husband R. J. Reynolds, founder of the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the house originally occupied the center of a 1,067-acre (4.32 km2) estate. It opened to the public as an institution dedicated to the arts and education in 1965, and as an art museum in 1967. The house holds one of the country’s finest collections of American paintings. It is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
A major exhibition of 38 lithographs and woodcuts from the late 19th and early 20th centuries that explore graphic design as art—the first such exhibition in over 30 years. The show stems from a series of workshops funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and inaugurated at Reynolda House in 2007 with additional workshops held in 2010 and 2012. This presentation includes work by artists working before World War I who created individual images or portfolios on contemporary social issues or subjects related to their own lives, as well as artists working in the international avant-garde style of Dada and Surrealism.
The exhibition is organized thematically. The first section includes prints that celebrate graphic design specifically as art—including work by Aubrey Beardsley, Theodore R. Davis, Gustavo Bonevardi, Edmund Joseph Sullivan, Walter Crane and others—as well as artists who used the medium to hide messages in otherwise traditional images (the so-called “poster code” developed during World War I). It also features prints made by major American printmakers living abroad including William Manker Strong, Charles Shannon, Albert Sterner and Jessie Willcox Smith whose work often addressed the modern urban environment they found themselves inhabiting overseas.
Design and construction began in 1912 and lasted until the end of 1917. Charles Barton Keen, who had gained notable success designing homes in Pennsylvania and New York, was the architect of not only the main house, but also the village that included a church, stables, and a school, on the estate. Katharine Reynolds was very involved with the design of Reynolda, and some of her correspondences with Keen survive. The family finally moved in December 1917, but R. J. Reynolds was ill with pancreatic cancer and was not able to enjoy his new home. He died July 29, 1918.
Reynolda was the home of two generations of the Reynolds family. In 1935, Mary Reynolds Babcock, the elder daughter, acquired the estate. She and her husband Charles Babcock used the house as their vacation home until 1948, at which time they moved permanently to Reynolda. The property remained in the family for nearly 50 years. The museum has restored interior rooms and furnishings to reflect the periods when the family lived there. Reynolda became affiliated with Wake Forest Universityin 2002.