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Entrance to Magnolia Gardens in Spring, Charleston, SC

Oil on canvas
30 x 36 inches

As published in: Scenic Impressions: Southern Interpretations from the Johnson Collection

As exhibited in: Scenic Impressions: Southern Interpretations from the Johnson Collection, 2015–2018, Dixon Gallery and Gardens, Memphis, Tennessee; Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, Georgia; McKissick Museum of Art at the University of South Carolina, Columbia; Telfair Museums, Savannah, Georgia; Knoxville Museum of Art, Tennessee; Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts at Wofford College, Spartanburg, South Carolina

When his Rockport, Massachusetts, studio burned in 1946, Anthony Thieme was devastated. To elevate his spirits, he made wintertime sojourns to warmer climates that included Charleston. By the mid-1940s, the ancient plantations along the Ashley River had been transformed into picturesque tourist destinations, especially in the spring when the azaleas were in bloom. Magnolia Plantation and Gardens was perennially popular, having opened to visitors shortly after the Civil War, when travelers arrived by paddle steamer on the river.

Claiming that he had to “paint ten canvases to get a good one,” Thieme insisted on working en plein air, a practice that earned him the sobriquet of “Master of Sunlight and Shadow.”

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