Fall 2017 Schedule of Events

Thursday, September 14, 6:00-8:00 pm
Concert on the Lawn

Art after Hours

Join us for an evening of live modern folk music by Cabin Creek in the beautiful autumn setting of our lawn and gardens. Enjoy beer and wine from Stafford County’s 6 Bears & a Goat Brewing Company and Potomac Point Winery. The Gourmeltz Food Truck will be selling their delicious sandwiches and the Frufetti Bus will offer Hawaiian ice and other frozen treats.  Visit the Studio and galleries of artist Gari Melchers.

Free and open to the public. Tickets for beer/wine $5 and food trucks accept cash or credit. To reserve your spot, contact Meghan Pcsolyar or call her at (540) 654-1848.

Sunday, October 8, 2:00 pm
Look and See, 80 minutes

A cinematically beautiful and powerful voice for environmental activism, Look and See is a new film by Laura Dunn and Jeff Sewell. It showcases the story of 81-year old writer, farmer and conservationist Wendell Berry, whose eloquent poems and essays regarding the decline of family farming and the displacement of small-town farming communities to modern mass agriculture helped earn him the 2016 Sidney Lanier Prize for Southern Literature.  Premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

Pavilion at GMHS. Free and open to the public. This community screening is made possible by Dickinson Equipment, Inc., Fredericksburg, Virginia

Sunday, October 15, 2:00 pm
Talk and Tour
Architectural History Tour

Cultural Resource Manager Beate Ankjaer-Jensen will present a brief lecture followed by a tour of the historic house at Belmont. We will explore the building inside and out, decoding its architectural fabric to reveal how the building evolved over time.

Meets at Pavilion.  Friends of Belmont $5 Non-members $10.   Limited to 20 guests.
Contact Beate Ankjaer-Jensen or call her at 540-654-1839.

Thursday, October 26,   8:45 am – 4:00 pm    
Bus Trip – National Gallery of Art
Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry

Examines the artistic exchanges between Johannes Vermeer and his contemporaries from 1650 to 1675, the height of their technical ability and pictorial mastery of domestic life. The exhibition brings together some 65 works by Vermeer and his fellow painters of the Dutch Golden Age, demonstrating how they inspired, rivaled, and surpassed each other in artistic achievement.

Open to Friends of Belmont and Staff $60, Non-members $70.  Lunch at the Cascade Café included.  Contact Meghan Pcsolyar  for more information or to reserve a spot.

Sunday, October 29, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
Art Workshop
Portraits in Charcoal

Discover how a portrait is so much more than simply recording proportions; instead, it can be one of the most expressive images you can create. Identifying the simple patterns and forms that are the basis for a well-designed portrait, students will learn through demonstration to use form, value, and line to develop expression. Students should bring a large photo (at least 8″ x 10″) from which to work. Photos taken in natural light with clear contrast are recommended.  Instructor:  Marjorie Perrin.  Organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and funded, in part, by the Paul Mellon Endowment and the Jean Stafford Camp Memorial Fund.

Age: High school students and older.  Meets in the Pavilion.  $15 per student.
Register online.

Sunday, November 5,   2:00 pm
Studio Talk
Painter’s Point of View with Henry Wingate

Acclaimed Virginia painter Henry Wingate showcases his work in the context of Gari Melchers’ art and Belmont’s spirit of place as important influences on his own personal artistic vision.  

Free with admission. Seating first come, first served.  Info: Joanna Catron

Sunday, November 12, 2:00 pm
Studio Talk
Painter’s Point of View with Marcia Chaves

Celebrated local painter Marcia Chaves showcases her work in the context of Gari Melchers’ art and Belmont’s spirit of place as it informs her own personal artistic vision.

Free with admission. Seating first come, first served. Info: Joanna Catron

Friday, November 24 through January 5, 2018
Holiday Decorations
Home for the Holidays

The House and Studio will be decorated for the season in the tasteful and natural style of its artist homeowners, Gari and Corinne Melchers. Included with museum admission.

Wednesday, December 6,   6:00 – 8:00 pm
Friends of Belmont Open House
Home for the Holidays

House, Studio and Pavilion are the setting for holiday decorations, music and refreshment.  Friends of Belmont. RSVP to Meghan Pcsolyar.


Paint Analysis Reveals Hidden Intentions

In 2013, Belmont hired Susan Buck, Ph.D. to conduct a comprehensive interior paint analysis of the house museum.  Buck is the same conservator who worked on the house’s exterior paint research which was featured in University of Mary Washington’s Today magazine in 2006.

The results, submitted in a 2-inch binder, are exhaustive in scope and cover the house’s entire history.

We are not the first historic site to use paint analysis to give old rooms new looks and more accurate interpretations.  Mount Vernon and Monticello come to mind.   Learn more about restoration projects across the Commonwealth of Virginia by perusing the digital presentation of “Vivid View:  The Art and Science of Paint Analysis,” an exhibition on display at Richmond’s Wilton House Museum from March 31, 2017 to October 31, 2017.

I’d like to share with our blog followers a brief snapshot of the downstairs Melchers-period 1916 paint scheme using modern-day Benjamin Moore paints identified by Dr. Buck.

We are currently trying to identify funding sources to cover the cost of repainting the interior in its original Melchers era paint colors. More than likely, this project will not happen all at once, but on a room-by-room basis.

I am struck by how Susan Buck begins her report:

Belmont is particularly interesting …because the Melchers carefully created interiors to display their artworks and furnishings, and some rooms, such as the dining room, became backdrops for dramatic art installations.” Later in her report she states, “…the Melchers chose to change the house to suit their tastes and to allow them to best display their art and furnishings.

The Melchers’ were a colorful and art-loving couple who wanted their new home to reflect their European aesthetic.

First Floor Hallway

Imagine how this space would have looked with the walls painted  this color!


1916 Wall Color, First Floor Hallway

First-Floor Hallway, 2017


The parlor’s walls were first coated with two layers of unpainted wallpaper, which may have been applied by the Melchers to cover cracks and seal the plaster.  This was then covered with a textured light tan colored grasscloth. The grasscloth remained unpainted until after Corinne’s death. There are several layers of paint on top of the grasscloth.  It is still possible to see the textured wall surfaces in raking light.

sepia tan

1916 Grasscloth Color in Parlor

Parlor, 2017

Sun Parlor

The sun-filled parlor would look drastically different sporting this bold color choice.

cherry malt

1916 Sun Porch Wall Color

Sun Parlor, 2017

Dining Room

The colors aren’t too off base in the dining room, but this space is actually where things become interesting.

The dining room was most altered by the Melchers.  Paint archeology revealed that the cupboard to the left of the Frans Snyders painting was a freestanding piece of furniture before it became a fixture in 1916. The Melchers then had a copy of this cupboard made and installed it on the painting’s right.

The Melchers also added the two sconces on either side of the Frans Snyders painting, as well as the chair rail and paneling below, and the wood frame around the paining.

The Melchers consistently installed fiberboard as a quick way of covering old damaged plaster and as an inexpensive way to create new wall surfaces.

The dining room additions were all seemingly made to “frame” the Frans Snyders paining – thus making it the room’s undeniable focal point.

clearspring green

1916 Dining Room Color Scheme

smoke embers

1916 Dining Room Color Scheme

Dining Room, 2017


Comprehensive paint analysis shows that the built-in bookshelves and cupboards on the east wall were installed by the Melchers shortly after they purchased the property in 1916.

The current warm brown color is a good match to the first brown paint on the cupboards, bookshelves, and wainscoting.

The walls below the chair rail were painted brown by the Melchers to simulate wainscoting, and the walls above may have been papered over by the Melchers to cover cracks, and then painted blue.

province blue

1916 Library Color Scheme


1916 Library Color Scheme

Library, 2017



3-D Printing Brings Art to Life

Ever since reading this History Made New article in UVAToday, I’ve been determined to offer full scale 3-D printed replicas at Gari Melchers Home and Studio. And, this week, it became a reality!

Many thanks to University of Virginia Library information visualization specialist Will Rourk who traveled to Fredericksburg with all his gear to scan our artifacts and to Dwight Dart of the UVA School of Engineering and Applied Science’s Rapid Prototyping Lab for printing the finished pieces.

Julius Melchers (1829-1908), Gari’s father, was a sculptor and his son’s first art teacher. I chose Julius’ carved wooden busts to be scanned because they are so intricate and three dimensional.


The original carved busts are shown with their 3-D printed counterparts.

On the left is Margarethe, 1893, which is probably a portrait of Melchers’ granddaughter Marguerite, born in 1889 to Julius and Hedwig Melchers Stroh.  Bacchus, sculpted by Julius Melchers in 1892, depicts the Roman god of wine.


Gari Melchers, by Paul Manship, plaster, 1932


Portrait of Paul Manship by Gari Melchers, 1932

I selected the plaster bas-relief of Gari Melchers, executed in 1932 by sculptor Paul Manship, because I thought it would give the blind and visually impaired children who attend our annual Beeping Egg Hunt an excellent way to tactilely discover what Gari Melchers looked like.

Manship and Melchers were friends and members of the New Society of Artists in New York City. Their friendship resulted in Manship’s portrait of Gari and an oil sketch of the sculptor by Melchers in the same year. Historians believe the artists exchanged the two works as gifts.

Most of the artifacts that our guests see cannot be touched or handled. So, I plan to incorporate these plastic facsimiles into all areas of the museum’s educational programming to expand the sensory experiences our guests can enjoy and gain new ways to appreciate art.

I can’t wait!

Spring 2017 Events Schedule

A busy spring is in the works here at Belmont!

captureMarch 18- May 21
Belmont Portrayed: Through a Lens

A juried exhibition featuring photographs of the buildings, grounds and gardens of Belmont.  Awards determined by popular vote.  Opening reception for members, artists and guests on Friday, March 17, 6-8 pm.  Included with museum admission.


beeping-eggApril 9, 2-4 pm
Beeping Egg Hunt

Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont will host its sixth annual Beeping Egg Hunt on Sunday, April 9. The egg hunt provides an opportunity for visually impaired and blind children, along with their families, to participate in an audible egg hunt.  Families are asked to RSVP to 540 654-1851 or mdolby@umw.edu by Friday, April 7.

April 23, 10 am-5 pm
Spring Open House

Enjoy the beauty of Belmont at the most delightful time of the year. Gather friends and family to take a tour of the historic house and the artist’s studio.  Wander the gardens and hike the woodland trails or find the perfect gift in the Museum Shop. Free.

May 7, 2 pm
Spring Garden Tour for Members

Cultural Resource Manager Beate Ankjaer-Jensen will conduct a private tour of the restored grounds and gardens for Friends of Belmont, including details about the buildings and the historic landscape discovered through her archival research. The outdoor walking tour will last about 1½ hours.  Free for members.  Space is limited, and reservations are required at 540 654-1839 or bjensen@umw.edu. To join the Friends, visit GariMelchers.org or call 540 654-1842.

art-after-hours-2May 11, 6-8 pm
Art after Hours

Music on the lawn, unique refreshments from local vendors and free gallery tours welcome visitors new and old.  Free. Beverage tickets and food purchases are extra. Reservations requested at 540 654-1848 or mpcsolya@umw.edu.

May 21, 2 pm
Spring Director’s Tour for Members

Friends of Belmont get a behind the scenes look at the historic house, studio and art collection with Director David Berreth.  Free for members.  Space is limited and reservations are required at 540 654-1840 or dberreth@umw.edu.  To join the Friends, visit GariMelchers.org or call 540 654-1842.

smithy-the-with-frameJune 10- Sept. 4
Spotlight Exhibition:  Gari Melchers’ The Smithy

Loan courtesy of the Ross Family. Included with museum admission.

June 11, 2 pm
Faces that Linger in the Mind

Curator Joanna Catron uses The Smithy, which makes a special appearance as a summer spotlight exhibition, as the jumping off point for this illustrated presentation about the memorable faces painted by Gari Melchers. Free.


Looking for Pearls: ‘One Hundred Years of Harmony’ a soothing light at the Jepson

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On the third floor, in a small gallery, are eight Impressionist paintings of great tranquility. Paintings by Gari Melchers who himself was the art adviser to the Telfair a century ago. The intimate exhibition is titled “One Hundred Years of Harmony.”  More

Old and Young

Premier Melchers Painting Featured at Belmont

Old and Young

Old and Young

Old and Young, a painting executed by Fredericksburg artist Gari Melchers in 1890, will be featured in a spotlight exhibition at Gari Melchers Home and Studio starting Saturday, Sept. 3. The painting has not been seen at Belmont since 1977.

Made possible by a generous loan from private collectors, the painting will be on display through Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016. Set in Melchers’ studio on the North Sea dunes of Holland, the painting depicts a fisherman cuddling a sleeping child in his lap while a female figure hovers in the shadows of a hearth in the far corner of the room. The painting also shows a Dutch ship model sitting on a nearby table, a model of which will be included in the exhibition.

The painting was created after Melchers settled in North Holland in 1884. For the next 30 years, he maintained studios in the area, drawn to its rustic inhabitants whose lives centered on work, worship and family. Wholesome images of working class families, with a frequent focus on age juxtaposed with youth, were popular themes in the art of the period. Such images became Melchers’ special domain.

Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont, both a Virginia Historic Landmark and a National Historic Landmark, is located at 224 Washington St. in Falmouth, across the Rappahannock River from Fredericksburg. Public hours are Monday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For directions and more information, call (540) 654-1015, or visit the museum website at www.garimelchers.org.