(Posted September 13, 2017)

Gilbert Stuart
Gilbert Stuart

HUNTINGDON, Pa. - Beginning on Monday, Sept. 18, the Juniata College Museum of Art will host a portrait of William Smith, Huntingdon's founder. The painting was completed by Gilbert Stuart and is on loan to the Museum from the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark. The loan of this painting is made possible by Juniata College and the Huntingdon 250th Anniversary Committee. Smith's portrait will be on display until Saturday, Dec. 9. The exhibition will also feature various other portraits of individuals from Juniata's history. 

                  According to the description of the exhibit, "The Stuart painting will anchor an exhibition that explores the nature of portraiture historically and contemporaneously through portraits of former college presidents, benefactors and educators, punctuated with digital portraits of JCMA visitors captured during Art Walk."

                  Smith commissioned Gilbert Stuart to create his portrait, which is approximately five feet wide, to include a view of Smith's estate on the Schuylkill, books and a surveying instrument. Each item refers to various important pursuits in his life.  Stuart, an American artist, is best known for his unfinished work depicting George Washington, commonly called, "The Athenaeum Portrait." This portrait of Washington is the same one that can be found on a one-dollar bill. 

                  Smith, who was originally from Aberdeen, Scotland, came to the British Colonies in America in 1753. He was an Anglican priest, and held honorary degrees of Doctor of Divinity from Aberdeen, the University of Oxford, and Trinity College, Dublin. He was invited in 1753 by Benjamin Franklin to teach at what is now the University of Pennsylvania. Smith would eventually become the institution's first Provost (which was equivalent to the modern position of college president). He was also the founder of Washington College in Chestertown, Md. 

                  Following the American Revolution, Smith establish the town of Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, with the help of his sons, William, Thomas, Charles and Richard, in 1767. He invested in land, laid out plans for the town, and sold lots for development, but did not live here. Smith died in 1803. 

"The Stuart painting will anchor an exhibition that explores the nature of portraiture historically and contemporaneously through portraits of former college presidents, benefactors and educators, punctuated with digital portraits of JCMA visitors captured during Art Walk."

                  The Museum's art exhibition is part of Juniata's commitment to bring "experiences that are thought-provoking, refreshing and entertaining," to the Juniata campus and Huntingdon community. To learn more about Juniata College Museum of Art exhibitions, visit www.juniata.edu/museum

                  The Museum is free and open to the public. From September through May, it is open Mondays and Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays it is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and, on Saturday, it is open from noon to 4 p.m. 

Written by Joey DiGangi III ‘18  

Contact Gabe Welsch at welschg@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.