The Becker Archive in Boston, Massachusetts, contains approximately 650 previously undocumented drawings by Joseph Becker and his colleagues, nineteenth-century artists who worked as artist-reporters for Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. They observed, drew, and sent back for publication images of the Civil War, the construction of the railroads, the Chicago fire, and other important events of nineteenth-century American history. There has been no major exhibition or scholarly survey featuring Civil War drawings since the 1961 centennial, and at that time the Becker Collection had not yet come to light.
Civil War Era Drawings from the Becker Collection offers the first opportunity for scholars and enthusiasts to see selections from this important and previously unknown collection, and to appreciate these national treasures as artworks. Part of this traveling exhibition will be displayed at the U.S. Cavalry Museum at Fort Riley through a partnership that will also bring Civil War-related artifacts from the Cavalry Museum to the galleries of the Beach Museum of Art. Later interpretations of the Civil War by John Steuart Curry from the Beach Museum of Art collection will also be featured.
“Civil War Era Drawings from the Becker Collection” is organized by Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions. Drawings from the Becker Collection premiered at the McMullen Museum at Boston College in the exhibition “First Hand: Civil War Era Drawings from the Becker Collection,” which was organized by the McMullen Museum and underwritten by Boston College and Patrons of the McMullen Museum. This presentation of the exhibition is made possible by the Morgan and Mary Jarvis Wing Excellence Fund and The Ross and Marianna Kistler Beach Endowment for the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art.
Image: Andrew McCallum, Siege of Petersburg: A Night Attack, March 31, 1865, Becker Collection, Boston, Massachusetts