Colonial Wedding by E.L. Henry (1911)

Hello and Happy Spring! 

Thank you for the wonderful feedback on our first newsletter last month.

In this second newsletter, we are presenting the painting Colonial Wedding by Edward Lamson Henry (1841-1919), one of America’s leading historical genre painters. This painting was acquired by Jack Warner from a New York gallery in 1980 and remained one of his favorites over the next 37 years. He loved it because it depicts not only the promise of America as a new beginning but also the metaphor of America as a “melting pot” implying the successful intermarriage of diverse cultures and ethnicities.  

This great painting is as relevant to a divided America today as it was to America in the tumultuous and rapidly changing years following the Civil War. The Colonial Revival, sparked by the Centennial celebrations of 1876 and lasting through the 1930s, brought a new awareness of America’s past and helped re-create a sense of unity and national identity. Created during this period, Henry presents a nostalgic, yet historically accurate depiction of a fashionable Colonial wedding in which the newlywed couple, setting off by horseback, seem to represent America’s future.

This painting reminded Americans then, and is capable of reminding Americans today, of who we are! It reminds us that America has always represented the promise of a new beginning, the blending of new and old cultures, and the fulfillment of spiritual as well as material ideas and aspirations.  

To learn more about the history in this painting and related primary source documents researched by noted historian Gregory Balan; and to see a sample inquiry-based lesson plan using this painting to teach the history of the Colonial Period and the development of an American Sense of Identity, click the button below.

I'm also enthusiastic to invite you to learn more about the seminar Warner Foundation funded last fall. Attended by teachers from across the country, the weekend was hosted at the New Britain Museum of American Art, and presented by the Ashbrooke Center. See the wonderful video below to understand the significant impact.

We look forward to hearing from you and hope you will share this newsletter with others interested in the understanding of American History through Art. Also, if you know someone who would enjoy receiving our newsletter, we’ve added a form on our site to join the newsletter. Click here to view.


Susan G. Warner

Chair, Warner Foundation

Click Here to Learn More About the History in the Painting and to See a Sample Lesson Plan prepared by historian Gregory Balan

Ashbrooke Seminar at the New Britain Museum of American Art

This past October, Warner Foundation provided support to the Ashbrooke Center of Ashland University for a multi-day seminar for History teachers from across the United States in New Britain, Connecticut.

The multi-day seminar focused on “The American Sense of Identity in New England: Late Colonial to Early Federal Period” and included one session at the New Britain Museum of American Art. While at the Museum, teachers learned from the Museum’s Education Director, Maura O’Shea, how to use great works of art and visual literacy skills to help teach important concepts in American History. 

Click on the photo above to watch a video that captures the success of this experience! 

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Mark Your Calendar: Women Reframe American Landscape at the Thomas Cole National Historical Site

Coming May 6 - October 29, Warner Foundation is pleased to support this new exhibition at Thomas Cole.

Women Reframe American Landscape: Susie Barstow & Her Circle/ Contemporary Practices is a two-part exhibition and accompanying publication illuminating the artistic contributions and perspectives of women. The project will reinsert the accomplished 19th-century American artist Susie Barstow (1836-1923) into the history of the Hudson River School of landscape painting and present work by contemporary artists who expand and challenge how we think about “land” and “landscape” today.

More About Christopher Gist

Last month, our featured artwork was Daniel Huntington’s George Washington and Christopher Gist Crossing the Allegheny. You might be interested in learning a little more about this man who may have saved the life of young George Washington in the years leading up to the French and Indian War. shares a bit more about Christopher Gist’s history, including a historical marker for the Gist Plantation, located in the Laurel Highlands of Western Pennsylvania, near the town of Connellsville. Click here to see the marker and learn more about Gist’s significance.